First American president to visit Finland? Author of the Monroe Doctrine? Creator of the Library of Congress and the National Weather Service?
Only president to meet Empress Catherine the Great of Russia? Close friend of Tsar Alexander II?
Still stumped? I don’t blame you. Friend of Sally Hemings. Restorer of the Smithsonian Institute after James Smithson’s one-million-dollar contribution was invested in Arkansas bonds and disappeared utterly and completely?
Defender of the Amistad captives when President Martin Van Buren tried to return them to slavery and very nearly did?
By now you know I’m speaking of John Quincy Adams, who, after his presidency, spent 35 years in the House of Representatives protecting the young republic and opposing the extension of slavery.
When he died at his desk in the House Chamber, a committee was selected to make funeral arrangements. The chairman was a long, lanky congressman from Illinois who later became famous for his beard and his tophat.