Forging these United States
John Quincy Adams, March 4, 1825 Inaugural Address
About This Text
Author: John Quincy Adams
Composed: 1825 CE
John Quincy Adams delivered this address at his first and only inauguration as the sixth President of the United States just after the contentious election of 1824. He begins his address reflecting on the fact that much of the Founding generation had passed out of politics, and remarks on several transformations brought about during their political preeminence, such as territorial expansion, commercial development, and international treaties. Adams spends much of the speech declaring his intention to move beyond partisan division. This push for unity was a direct response to the growing political faction led by Andrew Jackson, who argued the election had been taken from them by the “Corrupt Bargain” between Adams and Henry Clay. Allegedly, Clay and Adams struck a deal to give Clay’s electoral votes to Adams in exchange for a cabinet position in his administration. These accusations would hamper Adams throughout his Presidency. Adams ends the speech by calling for internal improvements, especially to transport routes, and arguing that Congress has the Constitutional authority to legislate such projects.