Photo_of_john_quincy_adams

Over the weekend I finished the biography of John Quincy Adams by Paul Nagel.

His presidency, which only lasted one term, was one chapter of the entire (long) book. And it could be summed up with once sentence: "He didn't do much, and not much happened." Adams had strong enemies in Congress and anything he tried to do, they weren't interested in. So pretty much nothing happened.

But the life before and after the Presidency! At 12, he risked capture during the Revolutionary War accompanying his dad to France. He went to St. Petersburg as a secretary to a diplomat at 14. He came back through Sweden on his own at 16 during a harsh winter.

He was later ambassador to England, the Germans, and Russia. He was secretary of state, and helped form the Monroe Doctrine, and served in the US Senate. After leaving the Presidency, he represented Massachusetts in the House of Representatives (the only President to do that). He represented the Africans in the Amistad case (that Spielberg made a movie out of).

He was a curmudgeon, even as a young man. He had a difficult life, too, losing brothers and sons to alcoholism and he struggled with the expectations of his parents. He was a very interesting guy to read about, battling depression throughout his life, and quick with a temper. 

I enjoyed his story a lot.