John Quincy Adams
Artist George Caleb Bingham
John Quincy Adams was America's sixth president from 1825 to 1829. John Quincy Adams, who like his father bristled with intelligence, narrowly defeated the popular military hero Andrew Jackson in the election of 1824. Adams’s qualifications for the presidency were many, including his tenure as James Monroe’s secretary of state, yet his often tactless temperament and refusal to compromise his high ideals put him at odds with the emerging democratic movement. The populist Jackson secured the presidency in the 1828 election, denying Adams a second term, but Adams was appointed to the House of Representatives in 1830 and consequently revived his political career. His commitment to supporting anti-slavery advocates and defending their right to petition Congress, won him many admirers beyond his Massachusetts constituency. Having a keen interest in art, particularly portraiture, Adams had high expectations and doubted George Caleb Bingham’s ability to produce “a strong likeness” of him. Adams, however, was pleasantly surprised with the results.