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The most important thing, historically speaking, about John Quincy Adams was that he was elected through the "corrupt bargain" of 1824. This haunted his presidency and made it one of the least effective in American history.
Adams was a patrician, the son of President John Adams. He was educated in Europe and at Harvard. When he ran for the presidency in 1824, he was up against Andrew Jackson, who represented the new, more democratic spirit that was rising in the United States. Adams won the election, but only, apparently, by making a deal with Henry Clay. This enraged Jackson's supporters as they claimed that the will of the people had been thwarted by a backroom political deal.
Because of this, and because of problems with Adams's own personality, his presidency was a failure. His enemies were in no mood to compromise with him and he himself was not really willing to compromise because he felt that he knew what was best. Therefore, his presidency is not remembered for any real achievements as he was not able to get Congress to agree to any of his proposals.
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