John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life

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Summary

  • John Quincy Adams was elected sixth President of the United States in 1824 and occupied that office from 1825 to 1829; in 1830 he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, and served there until his death in 1848. Within this biography of Adams, the author includes a few mentions of James Smithson, the Englishman's bequest to the United States, and the role Adams played in America's acceptance and disposition of the bequest.
  • In December of 1835, President Andrew Jackson informed the U. S. House of Representatives of James Smithson's $500,000 gift to the United States, to be used to establish a learned institution. Adams had long championed public support of scholarship, and by offering a motion that the gift be referred to a House committee, became chairman of the committee charged with recommending direction of Smithson's bequest. He successfully diverted use of bequest monies being "wasted upon hungry and worthless political jackals," but Adams was not able to direct funding toward his early desire for a national astronomical observatory. Adams labored to avoid misuse of the bequest; lectures he delivered in the late 1830's to various groups warning against abuse of this public fund received praise and were reprinted many times over the ensuing years.

Subject

  • Adams, John Quincy 1767-1848
  • Jackson, Andrew 1767-1845
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • United States President (1825-1829 : Adams)
  • United States Congress House
  • United States Congress
  • United States President (1829-1837 : Jackson)

Category

Smithsonian History Bibliography

Notes

Book includes bibliographical references and index.

Contained within

John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life (Book)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

1997

Topic

  • Trusts and trustees
  • Committees
  • SI, Early History
  • Federal Government
  • Smithson Bequest
  • United States. Congress
  • Observatories
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Gifts
  • Wills
  • Learned institutions and societies
  • Learning and scholarship
  • Federal funds
  • United States. Congress--Committees
  • Biography
  • Speeches, addresses, etc
  • Wills--Great Britain

Place

Great Britain

Edition

1st edition

Physical description

Number of pages : 432 [5 pages of text partially related to the Smithson Bequest]; Page numbers : 356-357, 367, 374-375

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