Friday, November 2, 2012

John Quincy Adams

If you are sick and tired of Washington and the lack of concern for the real issues rather than attacks, you really should read Harlow Unger's biography of John Quincy Adams. JQA gets short changed by historians, but we really need someone like him to lead our country. He was a man of principles, did not give in to the worst of politics, never sought office but was often chosen, fought against slavery and nullification, helped establish the Smithsonian Institution, and was without doubt our greatest and most qualified Secretary of State. His career extended from watching the battle at Bunker Hill with his mother at age seven, to passing away on the floor of Congress at age 80.  He was ambassador to Russia among other European nations.  As Secretary of State under James Monroe he initiated what became the Monroe Doctrine.  He and his father, the second president, were the only two non-Virginians to win the presidency and the only two to serve only one term among the first six elected to office.  Adams antagonized every president from Jefferson to Monroe to Jackson, to varying degrees, but Jackson led to his failure as chief executive.  But JQA rebounded by becoming a man of the people while serving in Congress.  Sadly, he is forgotten and usually ranked with the worst of presidents, well deserved.  Greatly misunderstood, hopefully others will reassess Adams through Unger's book.

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