JQA marks a bit of a turning point in the Presidents. He was the first President not of the Revolutionary generation (although he was alive during the Revolutionary War, he was just a boy). At the end of his term, Jefferson and Adams were dead (both on the 4th of July, 1826, within hours of each other), leaving no signers of the Declaration alive.
I am kind of relieved. Although they were all clearly imperfect men, it's hard not to get the impression that the first five all shat marble and were demi-gods. Although Monroe was not quite the intellectual match for Adams, Jefferson or Madison, he was still an impressive guy. In case you didn't know, that's him holding the flag in the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware. He was also simultaneously Secretary of State and acting Secretary of War during the War of 1812 (which I know understand for the first time in my life) and he personally rode out at the head of troops to reconnoiter the arrival of the British in the Chesapeake. Can you imagine Condi riding in a tank in Iraq?
Adams followed through on Monroe's focus on foreign affairs and I have been enjoying the ride, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to Jackson, who, at the very least, was a certified nutjob.
After Jackson, though, the going gets heavy. Check out this post-Jackson lineup:
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
Oy, that's eight weeks of hell.