John Quincy Adams: Not a politician

Q. Adams viewed public service as an obligation, not something to 'electioneer' for.

He was apart from his family for years when he was called to service as a foreign diplomat in London, France, Germany and Russia and expressed much regret in letters home.

He'd constantly talk of retiring to pursue intellectual pursuits, only to be named the Secretary of State and then President.

He finally looked forward to an enjoyable retirement as a relatively old man for the times after one term of the Presidency when he lost to Jackson but was compelled by his fellow citizens a short time later to serve out the remaining years of his life as a congressman where he literally died at his desk.

He hated populism and referred to political rallies as 'mobs'. In a letter home to his wife, he remarked how pleased he was that an actually impromptu celebration for him in Massachusetts after his one term in the presidency resulted in "no violence".

He did so little to help his political situation, that friend and rivals actually referred to him as Macbeth.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think he really looked forward to retirement after being forced out of the presidency. He certainly didn't have to become a congressman, and in fact he did so against the wishes of his family. I think it was more like he was addicted to public service.