John Quincy Adams

Early Life and Family

What was his early education?

He received education at home, then accompanied his father to France in 1778, when the elder Adams was selected to serve as a special envoy to France. He entered a private school in Paris with other young American boys, including Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Benjamin Franklin who later became a famous newspaper editor.

In 1780, his father worked as a diplomat in the Netherlands. Young John and his brother Charles entered the Latin School there to continue their studies. However, they didn’t like the school and their father removed them. He sent young John to the University of Leyden, where he studied under Benjamin Waterhouse.

Later, John Quincy Adams accompanied his father to Russia when he was only fourteen years old. There, he studied largely on his own. A few years later, he returned to the United States and attended Harvard University. Initially, he was rejected by Harvard; Joseph Willard, president of the college, said Adams needed more instruction in Latin and Greek. John Quincy Adams studied feverishly and entered Harvard in the spring of 1786 as a junior. He graduated in less than two years, ranking second in a class of fifty-one.


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