Seth Connell writes that Tuesday, July 11, 2017 marks the 250th birthday of America’s Sixth President, John Quincy Adams.
The son of famous American Founder John Adams, John Quincy Adams was an adamant opponent of slavery in the United States. In fact, he even argued the case for the slaves who rebelled aboard the Amistad slave ship when the Supreme Court took up the issue.
As Sunshine State News discusses, Quincy Adams make quite a mark when it came to the slave trade:
Adams made his biggest mark during his time in Congress on the increasingly thorny problem of slavery. The former president was the leading critic of the gag rule, imposed by Southern members and their Northern allies to table anti-slavery petitions. A supporter of the abolition of slavery, Adams led the charge to overturn the gag rule and his opposition to slavery also made him stand against to the war with Mexico and the annexation of Texas. Adams also spoke in front of the Supreme Court in the Amistad case, insisting the African slaves who took over that ship were free men. Our sixth president’s role in the anti-slavery movement was captured in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” from 1997 with Anthony Hopkins playing Adams.
The slaves who came to America were purchased from Islamic slave markets in Africa. Naturally, Adams was not silent on this issue.
In “John Quincy Adams: A Bibliography,” compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry#194), there is a section named “Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War and on Greece,” (The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29 (NY: 1830). In that section, Adams had the following to say about Islam:
“The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran…”
This is in stark contrast to his view of the Christian religion:
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. […]
One sentence in particular stands out in his commentary about the Islamic ideology. And boy, it is hard-hitting…
“In the 7th century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab … spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. … He declared undistinguishing and exterminating war as a part of his religion. … The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust, to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature.”
Based on the experience he had with Islamic African slave markets, who could possibly blame him for such a strong stance?