As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
This Week in History
February 8, 1910 – Founding of the Boy Scouts of America
Scouting in America was inspired by an association established by General Robert Bade-Powell in Britain in 1908. Two years later, W.D. Boyce, an American newspaperman and entrepreneur, established the Boy Scouts of America.
Boyce applied for a congressional charter on February 8, 1910. A National Council was formed in the fall of 1910, and an enterprising young lawyer, James E. West, known as an advocate of children’s rights was hired on a six-month temporary basis that lasted 35 years.
The group’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participating in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.
The scouting movement grew at a rapid pace, now claiming more than 2.4 million youth members and nearly one million adult volunteers.
Presidential Quote of the Week
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 6th President of the United States
May I never cease to be grateful for the numberless blessings received through life at His hands, never repine at what He has denied, never murmur at the dispensations of Providence, and implore His forgiveness for all the errors and delinquencies of my life! … I shall look for whatever success may attend my public service, and knowing that “except the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain,” with fervent supplications for His favor, to His overruling providence, I commit with humble but fearless confidence my own fate and the future destinies of my country.
- From his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1825
John Quincy Adams was born to John and Abigail Adams in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts, on July 11, 1767. Much of his youth was spent accompanying his father overseas, when John Adams was serving as America’s envoy to France and the Netherlands. He acquired an education at institutions such as Leiden University. He spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. During his travels he mastered French, Dutch and German.
He later graduated from Harvard University and apprenticed with a lawyer in Newburyport, Massachusetts, ultimately being accepted to the bar, after which he entered the private practice of law in Boston.
President George Washington named Adams as minister to the Netherlands and then to Portugal. When the elder Adams became president, he appointed his son as minister to Prussia. On his return to the U.S., he was appointed a commissioner of bankruptcy in Boston, tried his hand as a lawyer, and ultimately entered the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts. While a senator, Adams also served as a professor of rhetoric at Harvard University.
President James Madison appointed Adams as the first ever U.S. Minister to Russia in 1809, but when Napoleon invaded Russia, Adams was recalled to the U.S., and then sent to be minister to the Court of St. James (Great Britain).
When James Monroe became president, Adams served as Secretary of State, as was instrumental in the writing of the Monroe Doctrine. In 1824, he ran for and ultimately secured the office of President, although Andrew Jackson had won a plurality of both popular and electoral votes, throwing the matter to the U. S. House of Representatives under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, who voted Adams to victory.
He served as the sixth President of the United States from March 1825 to March 1829. He lost a bid for reelection to Andrew Jackson. He did not retire after leaving office, but instead ran for and was elected to the United States House of Representatives, serving for 17 years until his death. Although there is no indication that the two were close, Adams met Abraham Lincoln during the latter’s sole term as a member of the House. It has been suggested that Adams was the only major figure in American history who knew both the Founding Fathers and Lincoln.
He died after collapsing on the floor of the House from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried in the Hancock Cemetery across from the First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts.
John Adams and John Quincy Adams were the first father and son to each serve as president (the others being George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush).
Adams was married to Louisa Catherine Johnson, the only first lady not to have been born in America. They had three sons and a daughter. The Adams were Unitarians.