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John Quincy Adams

early 19th century Unidentified enamel on porcelain image: 7/8 x 3/4 in. (2.2 x 1.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mary Elizabeth Spencer 1999.27.58 Not currently on view

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Son of John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams grew up ambitious and educated. At ten he accompanied his father to Europe on a diplomatic mission. He practiced law in Boston, and in 1825 became the sixth president of the United States. In 1830 he was elected to the House of Representatives and earned the nickname “Old Man Eloquent” for his support of the arts and sciences. He was also known for his opposition to slavery, and fought for several years to repeal the “gag rule” that prevented Congress from accepting antislavery petitions. His political career came to an end in 1848 when he collapsed on the floor of the House from a stroke. He died two days later and was buried at First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts. This early-nineteenth-century miniature depicts Adams many years before his death. His arched brow and intense gaze reflect the intelligence and motivation that shaped a successful political career.


Portrait male - Adams, John Quincy - bust

painting - miniature