John Quincy Adams - Fascinating Facts

  • Why was the 1824 election called the Corrupt Bargain?

    John Quincy AdamsDecember 1, 1824 — Today, the debate began to decide the outcome of a deadlock between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson in the US House of Representatives.

    For the first time no candidate ran as a Federalist, while five significant candidates competed as Democratic-Republicans including William Crawford, who was the secretary of the treasury, Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812, and John Quincy Adams, the son of the second president and Monroe’ secretary of state.

    The winner in the all-important Electoral College was Andrew Jackson, with 99 votes. Adams secured 84 votes. Meanwhile Crawford trailed well behind with 41 votes.

    Although Jackson seemed to have won a narrow victory, receiving 43 percent of the popular vote vs. 30 percent for Adams, he would not be seated as the country’s 6th president. Because nobody had received a majority of votes in the electoral college, the House of Representatives had to choose between the top two candidates.

    Adams wins, of course, and the election is denounced immediately as a “Corrupt Bargain” by supporters of Jackson. To Jacksonians the Adams-Clay alliance symbolized a corrupt system where elite insiders pursued their own interests without heeding the will of the people.

    Sources: gilderlehrman.org, ushistory.org, wikipedia/electionof1824

  • Which future president is admitted to the bar today?

    844px-Andrew_jackson_headNovember 21, 1787 — Today, Andrew Jackson is admitted to bar. Noted by historians to be one of the most critical and controversial figures in American history, he was a dominant player in the pivotal years between Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

    The seventh President of the United States (1829–1837) was born near the end of the colonial era near the then-unmarked border between North and South Carolina.

    His parents were a Scots-Irish farming family of relatively modest means. During the American Revolutionary War, Jackson acted as a courier. He was captured, at age 13, and mistreated by his British captors.

    He went on to become a lawyer and was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. Nominated for president in 1824, Jackson narrowly lost to John Quincy Adams. Jackson’s supporters then founded what became the Democratic Party.

    Nominated again in 1828, Jackson crusaded against Adams and the “corrupt bargain” between Adams and Henry Clay he said cost him the 1824 election. Building on his base in the West and new support from Virginia and New York, he won by a landslide.

    Here are 5 other fascinating facts about Andrew Jackson: 

    In 1801, Jackson was appointed colonel in the Tennessee militia, which became his political and military base.

    He owned hundreds of slaves who worked on the Hermitage plantation, which he acquired in 1804.

    He killed a man in a duel in 1806, over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel.

    Jackson gained national fame through his role in the War of 1812, most famously where he won a decisive victory over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans.

    Jackson’s army was then sent to Florida where he deposed the small Spanish garrison. This led directly to the treaty which formally transferred Florida from Spain to the United States.

    Sources: thepapersofandrewjackson.utk.edu, whitehouse.gov, history.com, wikipedia/AndrewJackson

  • What is the Rush-Bagot Pact?

    greatlakesApril 16, 1818 — The US Senate today ratified the Rush-Bagot Pact — an agreement between the United States and Great Britain to eliminate their fleets from the Great Lakes.

    The Convention of 1818 set the boundary between the Missouri Territory in the United States and British North America (later Canada) at the 49th parallel. 

    Both agreements reflected the easing of diplomatic tensions that had led to the War of 1812 and marked the beginning of Anglo-American cooperation.

    Overall relations improved, and eventually postwar trade rebounded as British political leaders increasingly viewed the United States as a valuable trading partner.

    So when US Minister to Great Britain, John Quincy Adams, proposed disarmament on January 25, 1816, he got the nod from British Foreign Secretary Viscount Castlereagh.

    Sources: history.state.gov, wikipedia/Rush–Bagot_Treaty

  • Which US president spent time in Paris as the Minister to France?

    US_Navy_031029-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-cropApril 8, 1778 — Today, future US President John Adams (1735-1826) arrived in Paris to replace Silas Deane as the American commissioner representing the interests of the United States.

    A former Continental Congress member, Deane’s assignment was to bribe Indians to cooperate with Americans and to persuade the French government to supply arms, ammunition, and uniforms for the Continental Army. However, Deane’s conduct aroused the suspicions of fellow diplomat Arthur Lee, who accused Deane of financial mismanagement and corruption. As a result of Lee’s charges, Deane was recalled by Congress.

    Historians explain that Lee never got along with his two colleagues in part because the two came from different cultural backgrounds in the Colonies. Deane was born and raised in Connecticut and educated at Yale, while Arthur Lee was a Virginian who followed the educational and career path of the British elite before Revolutionary politics intervened.

    Adams, who was also a New Englander (from Massachusetts and Harvard), defended Deane, but was unable to clear his name. Deane was forced to live his life in exile until his death in 1789. In 1842, Congress reopened the investigation into his accounts and, finding no evidence of misconduct, ordered that his heirs be paid $37,000 in reparations.

    After Adams had spent 18 months in Paris, along with Benjamin Franklin, Congress decided to name Franklin the sole minister to France. Although reportedly humiliated by the decision, Adams was elected part of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention upon his return; he was put in charge of drafting the state’s first constitution. It became the core of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 and shaped the future American Constitution.

    Sources: history.com, john-adams-heritage.com, wikipedia/John_Adams, biography.com

  • What was the most exotic pet a president had while in office?

    John Quincy Adams kept a pet alligator in the White House while he was president.