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John Quincy Adams Campaign Song Handbill, to the Tune of Yankee Doodle
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“John Quincy Adams is the man,/ Round whom the people flock, Sir, / And none the worse for Uncle Sam, / Because of Yankee stock, Sir.”

This songsheet provides the lyrics for “John Quincy Adams” to be sung to the tune Yankee Doodle. It compares incumbent “commander” John Quincy Adams to challenger Andrew Jackson, who “shoots a score or two, When e’er he wants a frolic,” a reference to Jackson’s controversial decision to execute deserters among his militia forces. The lyrics seem to have first appeared in print in the Newburyport Herald on July 11, 1828, under the title “’Tother Yankee Doodle” and with the preface, “The following song, composed for the late celebration at Portsmouth, contains the yankee properties of broad humour and truth.” The song later appeared in several newspapers in New England and as far away as Frankfort, Kentucky, and New Orleans, Louisiana.[1]

Supporters of JQA’s administration held a celebration of the Fourth of July at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. William Plumer Jr. gave the primary oration, and in the afternoon, a large number dined in Jefferson Hall, drinking toasts to the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll of Carrollton, President John Quincy Adams, the memory of George Washington, Henry Clay, and many others.[2]

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. Printed Document, “John Quincy Adams,” Songsheet. Providence, RI: [Henry Trumbull], ca. 1828. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

Inventory #27393.02       Price: $4,000

Historical Background
The election of 1828 was largely a rematch of the 1824 presidential election with incumbent President John Quincy Adams of the National Republican Party again facing Andrew Jackson of the Democratic Party. Both parties were new, each formed out of factions within the Democratic-Republican Party that had produced four presidential candidates in 1824. Because Andrew Jackson had won substantially more popular votes and carried more states than Adams in that election, he was shocked when the House of Representatives selected Adams as president in a contingent election on February 9, 1825. When Adams offered fellow presidential candidate Henry Clay the position of Secretary of State, Jackson and his supporters charged Adams and Clay with making a “corrupt bargain” to give Adams the Presidency.

Four years later, this charge formed a central part of the presidential campaign of 1828. Within months of the 1824 presidential election, the Tennessee legislature re-nominated Andrew Jackson for president, and other opponents of Adams soon rallied around Jackson and became known as the Jacksonian Democrats. Sitting Vice President John C. Calhoun became Jackson’s vice presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, President Adams and his supporters, including Secretary of State Henry Clay and Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, became known as the National Republicans. Because there were no national nominating conventions, President Adams chose his Secretary of the Treasury Richard Rush of Pennsylvania as his vice-presidential running mate.

The campaign was marked by vicious personal attacks on both candidates. In response to Jackson’s charge of a “corrupt bargain,” supporters of Adams publicized the scandal that when Jackson married Rachel Donelson Robards in 1791, her divorce from her husband was not finalized, forcing them to remarry quietly in 1794. A series of “Coffin Handbills” also attacked Jackson for his execution of army deserters, massacres of Native American villages, and penchant for duels.

In the election held from October 31 to December 2, 1828, Jackson won a resounding victory with 55.5 percent of the popular vote to Adams’s 44 percent. Jackson carried 15 states with 178 electoral votes, while Adams won 9 states with 83 electoral votes. Jackson carried all the states of the South and West, Pennsylvania, and a majority of the electoral votes in a divided New York. Adams carried all the states of New England and the mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Soon after the election, supporters of Jackson formally organized the Democratic Party, though Vice President John C. Calhoun declined to join, instead forming the Nullifier Party. Democrats and Nullifiers remained aligned for several years until they divided over states’ rights in Jackson’s first term. Opponents of Jackson gradually coalesced into the Whig Party by 1833.

Complete Transcript of JQA Song


            Americans delight in;

He’s done some few things, which, I guess,

            Were quite as good as fighting.


John Quincy Adams is the man,

Round whom the people flock, Sir,

And none the worse for Uncle Sam,

Because of Yankee stock, Sir.

Old Washington, who had some sconce,

            Though some now dare dispute him,

Pick’d out the boy for Uncle Sam,

            And said he knew he’d suit him.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.

Tom Jefferson, that sturdy chap,

            Whom people did confide in,

Predicted, that this same John Q.

            The nation would take pride in.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.


Then when Monroe was commodore,

            He made John first lieutenant,

Who through the cruise display’d such skill,

            He kept him till the end on’t.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.


And since the crew by their free will,

            Have chosen him commander,

He’s steer’d the ship so bravely on,

            No breakers e’er have harmed her.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.

But now some busy mutineers,

            Who wish a revolution,

For that vile end, would run ashore

            The good ship Constitution.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.

We want no lubber at our helm,

            In times of such commotion,

When one mis-stay—and freedom’s hopes

            Are buried in the Ocean.

And Andrew Jackson, all agree

            If you incurr’d his dis-like,

Would at the yard arm hoist you up,

            Or dress you with a handspike.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.

’Tis said he shoots a score or two,

            When e’er he wants a frolic;

But cold lead so administer’d

            Is apt to give the colick.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, is the man, &c.

That Jackson’s fit for president,

            They don’t believe who’ve said it,

And though we love our pumpkin pies,

            We’re not so pumpkin headed.

John Quincy Adams is the man,

            Round whom the people flock, Sir,

And none the worse for Uncle Sam,

            Because of Yankee stock, Sir.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States (1825-1829), and the son of John Adams. He graduated from Harvard in 1787 and was admitted to the bar in 1790. Having been educated partly in Europe while his father held various diplomatic posts in the 1780s, John Quincy Adams served successively as minister to The Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Britain. He began his career as a moderate Federalist but switched to the Jeffersonian Republican Party around the year 1807. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, and was a brilliant Secretary of State (1817-1825), taking the lead role in formulating the Monroe Doctrine. He won the election of 1824, which was decided in the House of Representatives because no candidate won a majority in the Electoral College. Adams’s “deal” with House Speaker Henry Clay, whom he named Secretary of State, helped spark the formation of an opposition party around Andrew Jackson. John Quincy Adams served one largely frustrating term as president and lost in the election of 1828 to Andrew Jackson. Surprising most observers, Adams stood for election to the House of Representatives in 1831 and served seventeen memorable years, becoming a bulwark for civil liberties and a voice in the emerging anti-slavery movement. He defended the Amistad slaves before the Supreme Court in 1841, and died of a stroke on the floor of the House in 1848.

Henry Trumbull (1781-1843) was born in Connecticut and likely learned printing there. He was a printer at 26 and 34 High Street in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1824 to 1836. Between 1836 and 1838, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, and he later died in Stonington, Connecticut.

Francis R. Gourgas (1811-1853) was the grandson of Huguenot and Revolutionary War General Jean Lewis Gourgas, and the son of Weston, Massachusetts resident John Mark Gourgas I. Francis was educated at the Concord Academy before attending Amherst College (1828-1829) and Harvard (1830) without graduating. In 1835-1842, he was the owner and editor of the conservative anti-Freemason newspaper, the Concord Freeman, from 1835-1842.


[1]The lyrics appeared in a Newport, Rhode Island, newspaper on July 31, and a Kentucky newspaper reprinted it on August 2 from the Marylander newspaper in Baltimore. They appeared in a New Orleans newspaper on August 21, and in a Vermont newspaper a week later with the notation that it was “Sung in Boston, 4th July.” In September, they also appeared in two Vermont newspapers, and a North Carolina newspaper reprinted it from the MarylanderNewburyport Herald (MA), July 11, 1828, 1:1; Rhode-Island Republican (Newport), July 31, 1828, 4:1; The Commentator (Frankfort, KY), August 2, 1828, 4:1;  New-Orleans Argus (LA), August 21, 1828, 2:5; Freedom’s Banner (Chester, VT), August 27, 1828, 1:1; Burlington Free Press (VT), September 19, 1828, 4:1; The Repertory (St. Albans, VT), September 25, 1828, 4:1; Yadkin & Catawba Journal (Salisbury, NC), September 23, 1828, 4:1

[2]“Fourth of July,” The Portsmouth Journal and Rockingham Gazette (NH), July 5, 1828, 3:3. See William Plumer, Jr., An Address Delivered at Portsmouth, N.H. on the Fourth of July, 1828(Portsmouth, NH: T. H. Miller and C. W. Brewster, 1828).

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