Bill Federer recounts early president's views on religion of 'peace' On Feb. 21, 1848, “Old Man Eloquent” John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke at his desk in the House chamber. He had just given an impassioned speech against the Democrat plan to expand slavery into the Western territories acquired after the Mexican-American War. He died two days later without regaining consciousness.
A bronze marker on the U.S. House floor indicates where the desk of John Quincy Adams once stood. John Quincy Adams was the only U.S. president to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives after having been president, serving as a Congressman from Massachusetts from 1830 to 1848.
Nicknamed “The Hell-Hound of Slavery” for relentlessly speaking out against slavery, John Quincy Adams single-handedly led the fight to lift the gag rule which prohibited discussion of slavery on the House floor.
In 1841, John Qunicy Adams, with the help of Francis Scott Key, defended 53 Africans accused of mutiny aboard the slave ship Amistad. He argued their case before the U.S. Supreme Court and won, giving them back their freedom.
John Quincy Adams stated: “The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided. I ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration.”
John Quincy Adams is the only major figure in American history who knew both the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, as a freshman Congressman from Illinois, was a pallbearer at John Quincy Adams’ funeral.
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