John Quincy Adams was born into politics as the son of second U.S. President John Adams and Abigail Adams. As a child, he watched the American Revolution unfold and accompanied his father on his diplomatic posts to Europe. He followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a diplomat in Europe and, later, the sixth U.S. president.
Adams became president by the slimmest of margins in a controversial election that was ultimately decided in the US House of Representatives by one vote.
As president, Adams proposed a wide system of roads and canals to stimulate the economy and foster trade throughout the Nation. During his administration, the Cumberland road was extended into Ohio, and several major canal systems were begun.
After his unsuccessful bid for re-election, Adams went on to serve nine terms in the US House of Representatives. He and Andrew Johnson, 17th president, are the only two former presidents to later serve in Congress.