Born on this day in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), nicknamed "Old Man Eloquent," was the eldest son of John and Abigail Adams. Like his father, he was elected U.S. President for one-term only.
"I am a man of reserved, cold, austere, and forbidding manners," he revealed in his diary, calling himself "an unsocial savage."
Proficient in Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and German, young Adams was a brilliant statesman appointed as a minister to the Netherlands by George Washington. The highly-respected Adams was elected to the U.S. Senate then was appointed Secretary of State by President James Monroe in 1817.
The clever Adams helped develop the Monroe Doctrine, which outlined the basic principles of American foreign policy. "May our country be always successful," he wrote, "but whether successful or otherwise, always right."
Elected to the Presidency in 1825, Adams liked to swim in the Potomac River and served in the House of Representatives after his White House term. He was the first congressman to advocate the right of the government to free slaves.
"Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it," he said. "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
More PRESIDENTIAL Quotations
You live on within those you influence.