John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
John Quincy Adams was the 6th President of the United States. He was the son of a President. A lot of people might stop right there and be inclined to write him off. John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit does no such thing. John Quincy Adams lived an extraordinary life, he was a witness to the Battle of Bunker Hill at age 8 while his father John Adams labored in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia trying to mold this country together. His mother Abigail was his primary caregiver and shaped his mind. John Quincy’s teenage years would be colored by his time in Europe with his diplomat father. He would be influenced by his time there but also by his idol, Thomas Jefferson. The time spent in Europe would lead to future vocations as diplomat under President George Washington. In 1797, John Quincy would marry Louisa Johnson. It would be a marriage with times of great struggle, from financial imbroglios (Louisas father, John Quincy’s brother) to multiple miscarriages, but their union would never be broken. Meanwhile, John Quincy would go from lawyer to State Legislature then eventually Secretary of State. This position would put him in good stead for his run at the Presidency in 1824, which he would win but not without controversy. Quincy’s willingness to buck the system would hamper attempts at getting legislation passed. His defeat in 1828 seemed to sound the death knell of his career, but his political fortitude would lead to a career in congress that would span the rest of his life, where he would leave an indelible mark on the country.
James Traub’s biography of John Quincy Adams is an excellent telling of a life often overlooked. History books tend to brush Adams off after his one term in office but the truth is far more compelling. Traub mentions Adams’ battles with the slave holding South and his stubbornness in not going with the flow in pitched battles. Adams was a maverick before the term became fashionable and Traub makes his mark with this well told biography of a forgotten trailblazer.