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Picture of John Quincy Adams
[Library of Congress]


6th President (1825 - 1829)

Biographical Data
Religious Views
References, Links, & Further Reading

Education: Harvard

Occupation: lawyer

Political Affiliation: Democratic-Republican

Religious Affiliation: Unitarian

Summary of Religious Views:

Views on Religion & Politics:


"At this day, religious indulgence is one of our clearest duties, because it is one of our undisputed rights. While we rejoice that the principles of genuine Christianity have so far triumphed over the prejudices of a former generation, let us fervently hope for the day when it will prove equally victorious over the malignant passions of our own." -- Oration at Plymouth, 22 December 1802

"Our political creed is, without a dissenting voice that can be heard, that the will of the people is the source and the happiness of the people the end of all legitimate government upon earth; . . . that the freedom of the press and of religious opinion should be inviolate; . . ." -- Inaugural Address, 4 March 1825

"There is yet another subject upon which, without entering into any treaty, the moral influence of the United States may perhaps be exerted with beneficial consequences at such a meeting--the advancement of religious liberty. Some of the southern nations are even yet so far under the dominion of prejudice that they have incorporated with their political constitutions an exclusive church, without toleration of any other than the dominant sect. The abandonment of this last badge of religious bigotry and oppression may be pressed more effectually by the united exertions of those who concur in the principles of freedom of conscience upon those who are yet to be convinced of their justice and wisdom than by the solitary efforts of a minister to any one of the separate Governments." -- Special Message, 26 December 1825

"The neglect of public worship in this city is an increasing evil, and the indifference to all religion throughout the whole country portends no good. There is in the clergy of all the Christian denominations a time-serving, cringing, subservient morality, as wide from the spirit of the Gospel as it is from the intrepid assertion and vindication of truth. The counterfeit character of of a very large portion of the Christian ministry of this country is disclosed in the dissensions growing up in all the Protestant churches on the subject of slavery. The abolitionists assume as the first principle of all their movements that slavery is sin. Their opponents, halting between the alternative of denying directly this position and of admtting the duty binding upon them to bear their own testimony against it, are prevaricating with their own consciences, and taxing their learning and ingenuity to prove that the Bible sanctions slavery; that Abraham, Isaac, and Paul were slave-holders; and that St. Paul is the apostle of man-stealers, because he sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon. These preachers of the Gospel might just as well call our extermination of the Indians an obedience to Divine commands because Jehova commanded the children of Israel to exterminate the Canaanitish nations." -- Diary, 27 May1838


"The highest glory of the American Revolution is this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." -- These words appear to be a summary by John Wingate Thornton of what he believed Adams' views to be. (See: Did John Quincy Adams ever say that the American Revolution "connected in one indissoluable bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity?", by Jim Allison)

References, Links, & Further Reading: Books, Articles, Links


Works by John Quincy Adams

ed. by David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, et al., The Diary of John Quincy Adams, 2 vols. to date, Harvard Univ. Press, 1981-
ed. by Worthington Chauncy Ford, The Writings of John Quincy Adams, 7 volumes, Greenwood Press, 1968
Memoirs of John Quincy Adams: Comprising Portions of His Diary from 1795 to 1848, 12 vol, J. B. Lippincott, 1874-1877; Vol. I Vol. II Vol. III Vol. IV Vol. V Vol. VI Vol. VII Vol. VIII Vol. IX Vol. X Vol. XI Vol. XII
Poems of Religion and Society, William H. Graham, 1848
Life in a New England Town, 1787, 1788: Diary of John Quincy Adams While a Student in the Office of Theophilus Parsons at Newburyport, Little, Brown, 1903; reprint, Life in a New England Town, 1787


James Truslow Adams, The Adams Family, Little Brown, 1930; reprint, Greenwood Press, 1974
Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy, Knopf, 1949
Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the Union, Knopf, 1958
Mary W. M. Hargreaves, The Presidency of John Quincy Adams, Univ. Press of Kansas, 1985
ed. by Walter La Feber, John Quincy Adams and the American Continental Empire, Crown, 1965
Paul C. Nagel, Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family, Oxford, 1983
Paul C. Nagel, John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life, Knopf, 1997; reprint, Harvard Univ. Press, 1999
Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife (Adams Papers), Harvard Univ. Press, 1970
Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the life of John Quincy Adams, Phillips, Sampson and Co., 1859; reprint, Memoir of the life of John Quincy Adams
Robert V. Remini, John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents Series), Times Books, 2002
Leonard L. Richards, The Life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams, Oxford Univ. Press, 1986
Greg Russell, John Quincy Adams and the Public Virtues of Diplomacy, Univ. of Missouri Press, 1995
Harlow Giles Unger, John Quincy Adams, Da Capo Press, 2012
William Earl Weeks, John Quincy Adams and American Global Empire, Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992
Gary V. Wood, Heir to the Fathers: John Quincy Adams and the Spirit of Constitutional Government, Lexington, 2004


Works by John Quincy Adams

"2 Poems," Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. 7, Iss. 10, October 1841, p. 705
"Society and Civilization," American Whig Review, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, July 1845, pp. 80-90


Sean Mattie, "John Quincy Adams and American Conservatism," Modern Age, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2003, pp. 305-314
Marlana Portolano, "John Quincy Adams's Rhetorical Crusade for Astronomy," Isis, Vol. 91, No. 3, 2000, pp. 480-503
Lyon Rathbun, "The Ciceronian Rhetoric of John Quincy Adams," Rhetorica, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2000, pp. 175-215


Works by John Quincy Adams

Adams Papers (Massachusetts Historical Society)
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) -- selected speeches & writings (Hypertext on American History)
John Quincy Adams: Historic Speeches (Presidential Rhetoric)
John Quincy Adams: Selected Works (Humanities Web)
Document Library (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)
Inaugural Address (AMDOCS)
Inaugural Address (The Avalon Project -- Yale Law School)
John Quincy Adams -- Orations
The Jubilee of the Constitution (World Wide School Library)
Oration at Plymouth (World Wide School Library)
Argument of John Quincy Adams Before the Supreme Court in the Amistad Case (The Avalon Project -- Yale Law School)
The Wants of Man (poem)

Biographical Sites

John Quincy Adams [alternate site] (POTUS)
John Quincy Adams (White House)
ADAMS, John Quincy, 1767-1848 (Biographical Directory of the US Congress)
John Quincy Adams (USA Presidents)
John Quincy Adams (American President)
Life Portrait of John Quincy Adams (C-SPAN)
John Quincy Adams (Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography)
Biography of John Quincy Adams (Legal Information Institute -- Cornell)
Adams, John Quincy (Historical Text Archive)
John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848) (Famous American Trials -- Amistad Trials, 1839 - 1840)
John Quincy Adams (Medical History of the Presidents of the United States)

Religious Views

America's Christian Rulers: John Quincy Adams

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