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John Adams and John Quincy Adams

John Adams and John Quincy Adams were the 2nd and 6th Presidents of the United States respectively.  John Adams served as George Washington’s Vice President during his two administrations and was considered a Federalist (although political parties at that time (1797 – 1801) were much different than they are today).

During the Revolution, Adams was dispatched to Europe to try to secure monetary support for the colonist’s revolt against the British.   During his own administration, Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it more difficult to immigrate to the United States and criminalized speaking out against the government.  The Acts were in response to a Quasi – War against France during their conflict with Britain.   These Acts were never subject to judicial review and were eventually repealed by Thomas Jefferson.

Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams served one term as President from 1825-1829.  When the Electoral College did not determine a clear winner in the 4 way race of 1824, John Quincy Adams negotiated with Henry Clay, Senator from Kentucky to secure the Presidency in return for nominating Clay as Secretary of State.  As a result, Adams incurred the wrath of Andrew Jackson who believed that the deal was a by product of elite and establishment politicians more concerned with staying in power than the population at large.  Jackson would run again in 1828 and this time, beat Adams.


Jon Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams


Adams returned to the House of Representatives after he finished his term as President.

Both Adams’ are memorialized in Quincy, Massachusetts just east and south of Boston.  The National Park Service has preserved the senior Adams’ original and second home as well as “Peacefield” which was the final home for the Adams family.

The early years of the Republic is an interesting period of American history as they truly set the tone for the relationship between the three branches of government.  The manner in which the President and Congress engaged was established during these early administrations as well as the role of the judiciary.   Additionally, these initial decades of the Republic defined the way states engaged with one another and with the federal government.  Finally, by the time John Quincy left office, America’s position in the world had been secured.

Visit the Adams NPS Website

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