Among Michelle Bachmann’s alleged gaffes is her calling the son of John Adams a “Founding Father.”
If by Founding Father we mean a signer of the Declaration of Independence, he most certainly is not one, nor, for that matter, was the 19-year-old Alexander Hamilton.
If by Founding Father, however, we mean a citizen who was a significant participant in the broader Founding of the United States–which frequently includes the period through the 1800 election, John Quincy Adams qualifies. He was probably among the most 300 significant men of the Founding.
1. Adams participated in the ratification of the Constitution. A recent Harvard graduate, Adams was apprenticed to Theophilus Parsons, a Federalist delegate to the Massachusetts ratifying convention. Adams participated in various discussions with Parsons personally and his fellow citizens, and by his own account converted slowly from open opposition to support of the proposed Constitution.
2. More prominently, Adams participated in the “founding” of American foreign policy in the 1790s, as ambassador to the Netherlands and Prussia, negotiating and signing, for instance, the Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce.