John Quincy Adams

The eldest son of John Adams, John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) served as the American ambassador to the Netherlands, Berlin, Russia, and England during the early years of the Republic, as U.S. senator (1803-08), as the secretary of state in James Monroe's cabinet (1817-25), and as president of the United States (1825-29). From 1831 until his death, Adams sat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he opposed slavery and its extension and fought the "gag rule" on abolitionist petitions. In late 1831, he made his first antislavery speech on the floor of Congress when he introduced fifteen petitions from Pennsylvania Quakers praying for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia. In the Amistad case (1841), Adams defended a band of captured Africans before the Supreme Court. Despite his association with the abolitionist cause, Adams said he personally favored ending only the slave trade. Samuel F. Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the Union (New York, 1956), 331-32.

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