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John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
As the son of John Adams, John Quincy Adams was groomed as a diplomat. In 1809 President Madison appointed him America’s first minister to Russia. Adams was still in Russia when he was appointed to the peace delegation at Ghent. There, he clashed with the other commissioners, particularly Henry Clay, whose card parties lasting until 4:00 a.m. incensed the studious Adams. After the treaty was completed, the two men fought again over which of them would take the delegation’s official papers back to Washington.

The presidential election of 1824 pitted "Johnny Q," the diplomat, against Andrew Jackson, the war hero. Jackson won the popular vote; however, Adams’s old nemesis Henry Clay gave Adams the majority of electoral votes to win the presidency. When Adams appointed Clay secretary of state, Jackson supporters declared that a "corrupt bargain" had been made. Four years later, Jackson defeated Adams for the presidency.

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
John Quincy Adams sat for Moritz Fürst on May 30 and June 6, 1824; the medalist made a profile drawing on paper. Criticism of the likeness, however, delayed the creation of the medal until the following year.

John Quincy Adams posó para Moritz Fürst el 30 de mayo y el 6 de junio de 1824, y el medallista captó su perfil en un dibujo sobre papel. Sin embargo, la creación de la medalla se demoró hasta el año siguiente debido a cierta inconformidad con el parecido.

Anverso: Moritz Fürst (1782–después de 1841)

Reverso: John Reich (1768–1833)

Plata, 1825–28; posiblemente acuñada después del año 1825 que aparece en la medalla

Galería Nacional de Retratos, Instituto Smithsonian, donación de Betty A. y Lloyd G. Schermer

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

Catalog of American Portraits

John Quincy Adams

Catalog of American Portraits

John Quincy Adams

Smithsonian American Art Museum

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
Auguste Edouart captured John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, twelve years after Adams had left office. Here, he stands in a setting that suggests his intellectual leanings. Note the bookshelf in the background and the rolled documents on the floor. Adams, whose political career was unusual, followed in his father’s footsteps and served as the nation’s president from 1825 to 1829. Opposition from Congress made it difficult for him to enact change. Following his defeat to Andrew Jackson for a second term, Adams became successful as a representative of Massachusetts. Adams vehemently opposed slavery. Trained as a lawyer, he effectively argued the well-known Amistad case before the Supreme Court in 1841. Consequently, the court freed the jailed Africans who had murdered the captain and several others on the slave ship that transported them. Adams also opposed the Mexican War, fearing that the annexation of Texas would extend slavery into new territory.

Auguste Edouart retrató a John Quincy Adams, sexto presidente de Estados Unidos, doce años después de haber finalizado su mandato. Adams aparece en un escenario que sugiere sus inclinaciones intelectuales. Nótese el librero en el fondo y los documentos enrollados en el piso. La trayectoria política de Adams fue inusual. Siguiendo los pasos de su padre, el joven Adams fungió como presidente del país desde 1825 hasta 1829, si bien la oposición del Congreso impidió que lograra cambios mayores. Luego de ser derrotado por Andrew Jackson en su aspiración a un segundo período presidencial, tuvo una exitosa carrera como representante por Massachusetts. Adams era abogado y ferviente opositor de la esclavitud. En 1841 argumentó una eficaz defensa ante el Tribunal Supremo en el famoso “caso Amistad”, consiguiendo la liberación de los africanos que habían asesinado al capitán y varios tripulantes en el barco negrero que los transportaba, llamado Amistad. Adams también se opuso a la guerra contra México, temiendo que la anexión de Texas extende- ría la esclavitud hacia un nuevo territorio.

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
Born Braintree, Massachusetts

Created in March 1843, this daguerreotype is the earliest known photographic portrait of an American president. John Quincy Adams completed his single presidential term in 1829 and was serving as a congressman from Massachusetts when he visited the Washington, D.C., studio of Philip Haas. Intrigued by daguerreotypy, which Haas had described to him as “a chemical process upon mercury, silver, gold and iodine,” Adams noted in his diary, “The operation is performed in half a minute but is yet altogether incomprehensible to me.”

Nacido en Braintree, Massachusetts

Creado en marzo de 1843, este daguerrotipo es el primer retrato fotográfico conocido de un presidente estadounidense. John Quincy Adams completó su mandato presidencial en 1829 y se desempeñaba como congresista de Massachusetts cuando visitó el estudio de Philip Haas en Washington, D.C. Intrigado por la daguerrotipia, que Haas le describió como “un proceso químico sobre el mercurio, la plata, el oro y el yodo”, señaló Adams en su diario, “la operación se realiza en medio minuto, pero aún me resulta incomprensible”.

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
The birth of photography in 1839 provided a new means of recording and disseminating likenesses of America's presidents. The first photographic method employed for this purpose was the daguerreotype, which yielded mirrorlike images remarkable for their detail and sense of immediacy. Soon, sophisticated portraits of presidents emerged from the studios of such daguerreotypists as Mathew Brady or Southworth and Hawes. As one-of-a kind objects produced without the use of negatives, original daguerreotypes of the presidents enjoyed only limited circulation. But reproduced as wood engravings in illustrated newspapers or as popular prints, these images reached countless Americans who could never have hoped to see their president in person.

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

Catalog of American Portraits

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
Sixth president, 1825–1829

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 then secured the presidency in the 1828 election, denying Adams a second term, but the voters of Massachusetts elected Adams 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.

6o presidente, 1825–1829

John Quincy Adams, hombre de inteligencia resplaneciente al igual que su padre, derrotó por escaso margen al popular héroe militar Andrew Jackson en las elecciones de 1824. Eran numerosos los factores que calificaban a Adams para la presidencia, entre ellos su desempeño como secretario de estado de James Monroe, pero su falta de tacto y su renuencia a comprometer sus altos ideales le crearon conflictos con el naciente movimiento demócrata. El populista Jackson ganó la presidencia en las elecciones de 1828, negándole a Adams un segundo término, pero este fue elegido por los votantes de Massachusetts a la Cámara de Representantes en 1830 y con ello revivió su carrera política. Su apoyo constante a los antiesclavistas y su defensa del derecho de estos a presentar su caso ante el Congreso le ganaron muchos seguidores más allá de su distrito de Massachusetts.

Dado su vivo interés en el arte, sobre todo en los retratos, Adams tenía grandes expectativas y dudaba que George Caleb Bingham tuviera habilidad para producir “una imagen fiel” suya. Sin embargo, el resultado fue una sorpresa agradable.

"John Adams" Exhibit

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Digital contact sheet available.

"John Adams" exhibit at National Portrait Gallery (NPG), with NPG Director Marvin Sadik.

John Strong Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery

John Quincy Adams

National Portrait Gallery
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