Born in Stoughton, Massachusetts (in that part of Stoughton which later became Canton). Bailey graduated from Brown University in 1807. Bailey worked as a tutor and librarian in Providence, Rhode Island from 1807 until 1814. Bailey was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and served from 1814 to 1817; he served as a clerk in the Department of State in Washington, D.C. from 1817 until 1823.
Bailey presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Eighteenth Congress, but his election was contested on residency requirements. A House resolution on March 18, 1824 declared he was not entitled to the seat.
Upon returning to Canton, Bailey was elected as an Adams-Clay Republican; his subsequent re-elections allowed him to serve the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses. During his tenure Bailey chaired the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State.
Bailey ran as an Anti-Jacksonian in the Twenty-first Congress but was not a candidate for renomination in 1830. He was a member of the Massachusetts State senate, 1831–1834, and ran as the unsuccessful Anti-Masonic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1834. He died in Dorchester, Massachusetts the following year.
- United States Congress. "John Bailey (id: B000041)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
|Party political offices|
John Quincy Adams
| Anti-Masonic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district
March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1833
Henry A. S. Dearborn