July 11 – Happy Birthday, John Quincy Adams!

Posted on July 11, 2017

He was the first, the sixth, and the son of the second.

John Quincy Adams was the son of America's second president, John Adams. 
John Quincy Adams ended up becoming America's sixth president - AND its first president who was related to another president.

J. Q. Adams was only in office for one term of four years, but he also served the United States as a diplomat, a U.S. Senator, and a member of the House of Representatives. 

I found it interesting to note that J. Q. Adams was a member of FIVE political parties! This is especially surprising because most of the Founding Fathers considered "political parties" to be divisive and the cause of unnecessary strife, and so the Constitution did not mention the term "political party." Still, by the third Presidential election, the electorate was already divided into two parties. In such a young country, political parties were not long-established institutions, and they tended to come and go more rapidly...which is why J. Q. Adams was a member of so many:

Federalist Party - Lasted 35 years (1789 - 1824), but a power only 25 years (early 1790s to 1816).
Associated with Alexander Hamilton, the "elite," centralization of power, industrialists, and cities.
Presidents elected under this party's banner: John Adams.

Democratic-Republican Party - Lasted 37 years (1791 - 1828).
Associated with Thomas Jefferson, the ordinary people, decentralization of power, farmers, and rural areas.
Presidents elected under this party's banner: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe.

National Republican Party - Lasted 9 years (1824 - 1833).
Split from Democratic-Republican Party.
Associated with John Q. Adams, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, protective tariffs (taxes on imported products).
Presidents elected under this party's banner: John Q. Adams.

Anti-Masonic Party - Lasted 10 years (1828 - 1838).
Split from National Republican Party.
Associated with protectionism (having rules for and/or taxes on foreign trade in order to protect American products) and opposition to Freemasons.
Presidents elected under this party's banner: none.

Whig Party - Lasted 20 years (1834 - 1854).
Created by merger of National Republican Party and Anti-Masonic Party.
Associated with William H. Harrison, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, protectionism, and favoring Congress over the President.
Presidents elected under this party's banner: William H. Harrison, Zachary Taylor - both died in office, so their Vice Presidents, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, also became Whig Presidents. (But Tyler was soon thrown out of the party!)

In order to gain the support of more than half of the electorate, political parties
often combine a variety of issues and ideas.

Thomas Jefferson once said:

“Men are naturally divided into two parties: those who fear and distrust the people and wish to draw all power from them into the hands of the higher classes [and] those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise, depository of the public interests.’’ The modern GOP is mostly in the first category, and the modern Democratic Party is mostly in the second category.

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