John Adams

John
Adams
1735
1826

American Founder, First Vice President and Second President of the United States

Author Quotes

The happiness of society is the end of government.

The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

The true source of our sufferings has been our timidity.

There is a feebleness and a languor in my nature. My mind and body both partake of this weakness. By my physical constitution I am but an ordinary man. Some great events, some cutting expressions, some mean hypocrisies have, at times, thrown this assemblage of sloth, sleep, and littleness into rage a little like a lion.

Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretense of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.

We hold that each man is the best judge of his own interest.

When legislature is corrupted, the people are undone.

You are afraid of the one?I, of the few. We agree perfectly that the many should have a full fair and perfect Representation.?You are Apprehensive of Monarchy; I, of Aristocracy. I would therefore have given more Power to the President and less to the Senate.

The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.

The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

The truth is that neither than nor at any former time, since I had attained my maturity in Age, Reading and reflection had I imbibed any general Prejudice against Kings, or in favor of them. It appeared to me then as it has done ever since, that there is a State of Society in which a Republican Government is the best, and in America the only one...

There is but one element of government, and that is THE PEOPLE. From this element spring all governments. "For a nation to be free, it is only necessary that she wills it." For a nation to be slave, it is only necessary that she wills it.

This hand, to tyrants ever sworn the foe, For freedom only deals the deadly blow; Then sheathes in calm repose the vengeful blade, For gentle peace in freedom's hallowed shade.

To this end, it is greatly to be desired, that young men of letters in all the States, especially in the thirteen original States, would undertake the laborious, but certainly interesting and amusing task, of searching and collecting all the records, pamphlets, newspapers, and even handbills, which in any way contributed to change the temper and views of the people, and compose them into an independent nation.

We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power ? All projects of government, formed upon a supposition of continual vigilance, sagacity, and virtue, firmness of the people, when possessed of the exercise of supreme power, are cheats and delusions ? The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.

You are apprehensive of monarchy; I, of aristocracy. I would therefore have given more power to the President and less to the Senate.

The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod - and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war.

The only think most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.

The turpitude, the inhumanity, the cruelty, and the infamy of the African commerce in slaves, have been so impressively represented to the public by the highest powers of eloquence, that nothing that I can say would increase the just odium in which it is and ought to be held. Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States.

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

This is a revolution, dammit! We've got to offend somebody!

Tom, had you and I been 40 days with Moses, and beheld the great God, and even if God himself had tried to tell us that three was one ... and one equals three, you and I would never have believed it. We would never fall victims to such lies. [In regard to the Trinity]

We must not then depend alone upon the love of liberty in the soul of man for its preservation.

Author Picture
First Name
John
Last Name
Adams
Birth Date
1735
Death Date
1826
Bio

American Founder, First Vice President and Second President of the United States