President Adams fully realized when he took office that he did not start with the support of the majority, nor even with most of the popular votes. As he said in his inaugural speech, “Fellow-citizens, you are acquainted with the peculiar circumstances of the recent election. … Less possessed of your confidence in advance than any of my predecessors, I am deeply conscious of the prospect that I shall stand more and oftener in need of your indulgence. Intentions upright and pure, a heart devoted to the welfare of our country, and the unceasing application of all the faculties allotted to me to her service are all the pledges that I can give for the faithful performance of the arduous duties I am to undertake.”
Throughout his presidency he did not have the support of Congress or the people, and therefore he did not accomplish much during his one term as president. He asked for extensive internal improvements, but very few were passed.
John Quincy Adams swam nude almost daily in the Potomac River and was known for denying interviews to reporters. Anne Royall, a very outspoken female reporter, became the first woman to interview a president when one day she went to the Potomac, sat on his clothes, and would not get up until he granted her an interview.
Tariff of Abominations
In 1828, a tariff called the Tariff of Abominations by its adversaries was passed. This bill placed a high tax on imported manufactured goods. Its goal was to protect American manufacturing. It was strongly opposed — mainly in the South — because the British would require less cotton from that region to make their manufactured goods.
Adams's own vice president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, argued against the law. He claimed that South Carolina should have the right of nullification, or the right to rule the tariff unconstitutional and therefore ignore it in the state. He even went so far as to threaten that, if the tariff was not repealed, the state of South Carolina would secede from the Union. The South Carolina legislature did not accept his proposal. However, the idea of nullification would surface again when Andrew Jackson was president.