Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"Old Man Eloquent"
"King John II"
"The Madman of Massachusetts"
Career BEFORE Presidency:
lawyer, diplomat, professor, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State under Monroe
Career AFTER Presidency:
Served in U.S. House
Election of 1824
Election of 1828
A Presidential Life in Review
Like father, like son... John Quincy Adams followed in his father's footsteps by serving as the 6th U.S. President from 1825 to 1829. J.Q.'s diplomatic career was vast, and he served under Washington, his father, Madison, and Monroe. Under Madison, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. As Monroe's Secretary of State, he helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine. Adams went on to win the highly contentious Election of 1824 over Andrew Jackson. As a result, his every move was challenged by supporters of Jackson in Congress. With his lone Presidential highlight coming in the completion of the Erie Canal, J.Q. was soundly beaten by Jackson in 1828. Two years later, Adams' outspoken opposition to slavery sent him back to D.C., this time as a member of House of Representatives, where he served until his death in 1848. Source: The History Channel
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John Quincy Adams Fun Facts
J.Q.'s father, John Adams, was the 2nd President. His father was also a one-term President. George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, are the other father-son Presidential combo.
J.Q. became the first President to be elected without winning the most Popular Votes and without winning the most Electoral Votes. He received 38,221 fewer Popular Votes and 15 fewer Electoral Votes than Andrew Jackson. J.Q. was awarded the Presidency when the Election of 1824 was thrown to the House of Representatives, per the rules of the 12th Amendment. (Jackson got even in the Election of 1828... and beat J.Q. by 140,839 Popular Votes and 95 Electoral Votes.) There have been a total of five U.S. Presidents elected without winning the Popular Vote: John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), George W. Bush (2000), and Donald Trump (2016).
J.Q. swam nude (weather permitting) in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. every day at 5am.
Anne Royall, the first U.S. professional journalist, knew of his early morning swims. After being refused interviews with J.Q. time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes... and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had ever interviewed a President (let alone a naked one... until, well... Clinton, who held regular press conferences in the buff).
J.Q. was the first President to have a middle name. His middle name came from his maternal great-grandfather, John Quincy, after whom Quincy, Massachusetts, is also named. (In all, 17 Presidents did NOT have middle names.)
J.Q. broke tradition by taking the Oath of Office on a book of constitutional law instead of the Bible. He did so to show that he was pledging himself to the U.S. Constitution. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson are the only other Presidents not to use a Bible when taking the oath. Roosevelt chose not to use one in 1901. LBJ was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal (book of prayers and instructions for Catholic Mass) aboard Air Force One following the assassination of JFK in 1963. (JFK was Catholic.)
J.Q. let his father name his oldest son. John Adams named the child George Washington Adams in honor of the 1st President, George Washington. Sadly, G.W. Adams had a troubled life. He was a known alcoholic and womanizer and suffered from depression. In 1829, he committed suicide at the age of 28.
After his defeat by Andrew Jackson in 1828, J.Q. refused to attend the victor's inauguration, just as his father had boycotted Thomas Jefferson's in 1801. He wrote in his diary that "The sun of my political life set in the deepest gloom." Filled with sadness for the nation, J.Q. stayed in D.C. for a few months before returning home to Massachusetts.
Deeply bored by retirement and still hoping to be politically engaged, J.Q. agreed (despite his family's objections) when neighbors asked him to run for Congress. He set two conditions: he would never ask for their votes and he would follow his conscience at all times. His election was one of the greatest satisfactions in J.Q.'s life.
J.Q. is the only President to be elected to the House of Representatives after serving as President. J.Q. served nine terms in Congress from 1830 until his death in 1848. How dedicated was he? He literally died on the job. J.Q. suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage while answering a question during a session in the House of Representatives. He died two days later in the Capitol Building, saying, "This is the last of Earth. I am content."
In 1826, Marquis de Lafayette gave J.Q. an alligator. The alligator lived in the White House for several months.
During the American Revolution, J.Q. and his mother watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from a hill near his house.
In 1841, and long after he had been President, J.Q. defended a group of African slaves who revolted on a slave ship named the Amistad. He argued for four hours before the U.S. Supreme Court... and won the slaves their freedom.
The first photograph of a U.S. President in office was taken of William Henry Harrison on March 4, 1841. Harrison had just delivered his inaugural speech (yes, the one that killed him), and he posed for a portrait using the new technology of the day, the daguerreotype [pictured left]. That photograph, much like its subject, had an unexpectedly short tenure. Harrison's inaugural portrait has since been lost to history, meaning that the oldest surviving photograph we have of a U.S. President depicts the Commander-in-Chief after his Presidency. There are a couple of candidates for "oldest", but they are, regardless, both depictions of J.Q. While it is debate which of the two photos [pictured below] was taken first, the date of April 13, 1843 is usually ascribed to one of them.
J.Q. was the first President to install a billiards table at the White House.
J.Q. got locked out of the White House. He returned from church one evening (and he often went to three different services on Sunday) to find the doors to the White House locked. He had to break a window to get in.
The relatively unknown Representative Abraham Lincoln served as a pallbearer at J.Q.'s funeral.