John Adams Quotes

John Adams Quotes 1

Always stand on principle even if you stand alone.

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.

One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three is a Congress.

Power always thinks… that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

When economic power became concentrated in a few hands, then political power flowed to those possessors and away from the citizens, ultimately resulting in an oligarchy or tyranny.

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it.

Be not intimidated… nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.

A government of laws, and not of men.

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

The government of the United States of America has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.

As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only foundation of it.

Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.

If worthless men are sometimes at the head of affairs, it is, I believe, because worthless men are at the tail and the middle

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.

He is too illiterate, unread, unlearned for his station and reputation.

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.

Ideology is the science of idiots.

In every society where property exists there will ever be a struggle between rich and poor. Mixed in one assembly, equal laws can never be expected; they will either be made by the member to plunder the few who are rich, or by the influence to fleece the many who are poor.

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.

The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly [with your God]. This is enough.

Fear is the foundation of most governments.

We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.

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

I would quarrel with both parties, and with every individual of each, before I would subjugate my understanding, or prostitute my tongue or pen to either.

[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.

The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men.

The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.

I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.

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

Property monopolized or in the possession of a few is a curse to mankind.

Government has no Right to hurt a hair of the head of an Atheist, for his Opinions. Let him have a care of his Practices.

This is my religion … joy and exaltation in my own existence … so go ahead and snarl … bite … howl, you Calvinistic divines and all you who say I am no Christian. I say you are not Christian.

Politics are a labyrinth without a clue.

Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.

A taste for literature and a turn for business, united in the same person, never fails to make a great man.

In politics the middle way is none at all.

The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.

That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience.

I am determined to control events, not be controlled by them.

Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all government and in all the combinations of human society.

I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading.

Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.

As unbalanced parties of every description can never tolerate a free inquiry of any kind, when employed against themselves, the license, and even the most temperate freedom of the press, soon excite resentment and revenge.

We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!

Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue.

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.

The happiness of society is the end of government.

To believe all men honest is folly. To believe none is something worse.

The Constitution is …the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen

Men must be ready, they must pride themselves and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society.

Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de très bon foi, believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.

Admire and adore the Author of the telescopic universe, love and esteem the work, do all in your power to lessen ill, and increase good, but never assume to comprehend.

Ambition is the subtlest beast of the intellectual and moral field. It is wonderfully adroit in concealing itself from its owner.

Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.

I must study war and politics so that my children shall be free to study commerce, agriculture and other practicalities, so that their children can study painting, poetry and other fine things.

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

This is a revolution, damn it! We’re going to have to offend somebody!

I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.

I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either.

But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?

The form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.

As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good.

The people “have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge- I mean of the character and conduct of their rulers.”

Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.

If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.

Power must never be trusted without a check.

To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.

Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the stronges cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.

Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion… in private self-defense.

Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.

I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.

I read my Eyes out, and cant read half enough neither. The more one reads the more one sees We have to read.

Slavery is a foul contagion in the human character.

What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?

It’s of more importance to community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished

If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and benevolence.

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.

You will ever remember that all the end of study is to make you a good man and a useful citizen.

John Adams Quotes 2

An honest, sensible, humane man, . . . laboring to do good rather than be rich, to be useful rather than make a show, living in modest simplicity . . . is really the most respectable man in society, [and] makes himself and all about him most happy.

I am for making of terms annual, and for sending an entire new set every year.

Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.

My God! This is a revolution! We have to offend someone!

The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.

The National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.

Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.

My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.

The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that… and all the glory of it.

Had I been chosen President again, I am certain I could not have lived another year.

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.

Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.

I would define liberty to be a power to do as we would be done by. The definition of liberty to be the power of doing whatever the law permits, meaning the civil laws, does not seem satisfactory.

The universal object and idol of men of letters is reputation.

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

When legislature is corrupted, the people are undone.

They worry one another like mastiffs, scrambling for rank and pay like apes for nuts.

Historically, usury was defined as any interest whatever on an unproductive loan.Our whole banking system I have ever abhorred, I continue to abhor, and I shall die abhorring.

The balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land.

One sailor will do us more good than two soldiers.

Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?

The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to prevent their growth in our own.

I shall have the liberty to think for myself.

The whole drama of the world is such tragedy that I am weary of the spectacle.

The true source of our sufferings has been our timidity.

When public virtue is gone, when the national spirit is fled the republic is lost in essence, though it may still exist in form

Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?

A representative assembly, although extremely well qualified, and absolutely necessary, as a branch of the legislative, is unfit to exercise the executive power, for want of two essential properties, secrecy and dispatch.

By the former of these (canon law), the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing constitution of policy that ever was conceived by the mind of man was framed by the Romish clergy for the aggrandizement of their own order.

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. What a Utopia! What a paradise this region would be.

The appearance of religion only on Sunday proves that it is only an appearance.

Elections to office, which are the great objects of ambition, I look at with terror!

A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.

Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.

Riches attract attention, consideration, and congratulations of mankind.

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.

There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off. A whole government of our own choice, managed by persons whom we love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which men will fight.

The numbers of men in all ages have preferred ease, slumber, and good cheer to liberty, when they have been in competition.

Ambition is one of the ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable.

We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.

As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.

As long as Property exists, it will accumulate in Individuals and Families. As long as Marriage exists, Knowledge, Property and Influence will accumulate in Families.

There are only two creatures of value on the face of the earth: those with the commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.

[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.

By my physical constitution I am but an ordinary man … Yet some great events, some cutting expressions, some mean hypocracies, have at times thrown this assemblage of sloth, sleep, and littleness into rage like a lion.

I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.

We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it.

[You have Rights] antecedent to all earthly governments: Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; Rights, derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity

We shall convince France and the world, that we are not a degraded people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear and a sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruments of foreign influence, and regardless of national honor, character, and interest.

A pen is certainly an excellent instrument to fix a man’s attention and to inflame his ambition.

Griefs upon griefs! Disappointments upon disappointments. What then? This is a gay, merry world notwithstanding.

Whether they be old or young, rich or poor, high or low, wise or foolish, ignorant or learned, every individual is seen to be strongly actuated by a desire to be seen, heard, talked of, approved and respected… a passion for distinction.

The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries.

It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear and imagination – everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

A question arises whether all the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, shall be left in this body? I think a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one Assembly.

If we take a survey of the greatest actions…in the world…we shall find the authors of them all to have been persons whose Brains had been shaken out of their natural position.

The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation: The doctrine of a supreme, intelligent sovereign of the universe, I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.

When philosophic reason is clear and certain by intuition or necessary induction, no subsequent revelation supported by prophecies or miracles can supersede it.

Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be.

Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.

No good government but what is republican… the very definition of a republic is ‘an empire of laws, and not of men.’

We are in the the very midst of a revolution, the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.

It is not only the juror’s right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.

During the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together.

You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular; you are very much otherwise. And you can write ten times better than I can.

The rights of Englishmen are derived from God, not from king or Parliament, and would be secured by the study of history, law, and tradition.

The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or there will be no blessings.

Politics are the divine science, after all.

I was very strenuous for retaining and insisting on it [law of nature], as a resource to which we might be driven by Parliament much sooner than we were aware.

It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction.

We have no Constitution which functions in the absence of a moral people

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

There is nothing I dread so much as the division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution.

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact.

I consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for public service.

I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.

Did you ever see a portrait of a great man without perceiving strong traits of pain and anxiety?

No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.

Make Things rather than Persons the subjects of conversations.

The Christian Religion as I understand it is the best.

The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families.

Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.

I shall have liberty to think for myself without molesting others or being molested myself.