Two biographies were published in 2014 and both individuals-scions of famous families, are noteworthy because they each built upon a 'rich' legacy, one political and other financial, to live lives of remarkable public achievements. I am indebted to the New Yorker Magazine for bringing these monumental figures to my attention.
7. The first figure is JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, the sixth President of the United States, whose father John Adams was the second President and whose mother was Abigail Adams, a remarkable First Lady.
The Old House, Quincy Massachusetts
Home to Four Generations of the Adams Family (1788-1927)
It should be noted in passing that about 10 years ago, I spent a full day touring The Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts administered by National Park Service (NPS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior. To quote from the NPS brochure: "The fourteen acre park is comprised of the Birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams; the Old House home to four generations of the Adams family [from 1788-1927]; and the United Parish Church, final resting place of both presidents and first ladies Abigail and Louisa Catherine Adams." (emphasis mine)
I urge my reader to read the New Yorker article, entitled "Born To Do It."
John Quincy could have amounted to nothing as two of his sons did; one supposedly leapt to his death and the other son, an alcoholic, debt-ridden fellow, died five years later. However, Charles Francis, the youngest, was Lincoln's minister to Great Britain and the first of the Adams' family historians.
Though a rather stiff and icy and a man of "austere and forbidding manners," (according to Adams himself) John Quincy developed the polish and statecraft to become the nation's Minister to four foreign nations: the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain. While abroad, he participated in negotiating the Treaty of Ghent (1814), which brought to a close the War of 1812 with Britain.
(Little known is that at the age of 14, JQA accompanied the Minister to Russia Francis Dana who sought Catherine the Great's aid for the American cause.)
He then served as Secretary of State to our fourth President Jame Monroe; here he negotiated a treaty with Spain that annexed Florida and helped to formulate the Monroe Doctrine proclaiming the inviolability of the states comprising North and South America.
He went on to become our sixth President in 1824 though Andrew Jackson superseded Adams in both the popular and electoral votes. Adams accomplished his 'feat' when the election went to the House. Here, he made an historic alliance with Henry Clay who Adams elevated to his Secretary of State.
As president, Kaplan writes: "The administration's lack of spectacular achievement characterized its success. There were no wars or threats of war. If there had been, Adams would have been a formidable commander in chief. His calmness, rationality, analytic skills and administrative competence would have served his country well."
After leaving the White House, Adams served as Congressman from 1829-1848, a total of nine terms; here, he supported a national bank and a protective tariff.
Here in short is a remarkable and greatly underrated public servant building upon and exceeding in many respects the achievements of his father.
Louisa Catherine Adams, the First Lady played a very strong role in promoting her husband's career enduring his lengthy foreign travels and his White House aspirations. She hosted a party with over a thousand invitees honoring Andrew Jackson in advance of the historic 1824 election.
She endured a total of nine miscarriages!
JQA is to be remembered as an admired diplomat (perhaps the best ever), U.S Senator (1803-1808), Secretary of State, US President, Harvard Professor, orator, poet and scientist.
Here is a life of unmatched public service.
To be continued by the next biography. http://tinyurl.com/prusmf3