John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, second president of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts on 11th July, 1767. At 14 he became private secretary to the American envoy at St. Petersburg.
He studied at Harvard University and was admitted to the bar in 1790. Adams served as diplomat in London, Lisbon and Berlin, before being elected to the Senate in 1806. As Secretary of State under President James Monroe, he negotiated with Spain the treaty for the acquisition of Florida.
In 1825 Adams was elected president by the House of Representatives. Defeated by Andrew Jackson in 1829, he retired from politics. However, in 1831 he was elected to Congress where he played a major role in opposing slavery.
Adams offered to defend Joseph Cinque and the other African slaves who had mutinied on board the Amistad. In front of the Supreme Court, Adams, now seventy-three years old, made a passionate eight-hour speech and won their release. John Quincy Adams died on 23rd February, 1848.
Slavery in the United States (£1.29)