John Adams - (1735 - 1826)

John Adams Signature

Quotes by John Adams

Quote 667 details Share on Google+ - Quote 667 Linked In Share Button - Quote 667 Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it.

John Adams: Unknown

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Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

Quote 794 details Share on Google+ - Quote 794 Linked In Share Button - Quote 794 The die is cast. The people have passed the river and cut away the bridge.

John Adams: writing about the Boston Tea Party - December 1773

Quote 1340 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1340 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1340 What would you do Child? Be a Farmer. A Farmer? Well I will shew you what it is to be a Farmer. You shall go with me to Penny ferry tomorrow Morning and help me get Thatch. I shall be very glad to go Sir.—Accordingly next morning he took me with him, and with great good humour kept me all day with him at Work. At night at home he said Well John are you satisfied with being a Farmer. Though the Labour had been very hard and very muddy I answered I like it very well Sir. Ay but I dont like it so well: so you shall go to School to day. I went but was not so happy as among the Creek Thatch.

John Adams: Parents and Boyhood - 1734-1735

Quote 1337 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1337 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1337 I am very glad you have seriously read Plato, and still more rejoiced to find that your reflections upon him so perfectly harmonize with mine ... My disappointment was very great, my astonishment was greater, my disgust shocking ... His laws and his republic, from which I expected most, disappointed me most.


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Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

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


Quote 96 details Share on Google+ - Quote 96 Linked In Share Button - Quote 96 That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics.

John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

Quote 1410 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1410 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1410 Speaking of early settlers - Tyranny in every form, shape, and appearance was their disdain and abhorrence; no fear of punishment, nor even of death itself in exquisite tortures, had been sufficient to conquer that steady manly, pertinacious spirit with which they had opposed the tyrants of those days in church and state.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 1108 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1108 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1108 I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration.


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They knew that government was a plain, simple, intelligible thing, founded in nature and reason, and quite comprehensible by common sense.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 1409 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1409 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1409 From the time of the Reformation to the first settlement of America, knowledge gradually spread in Europe, but especially in England; and in proportion as that increased and spread among the people, ecclesiastical and civil tyranny, which I use as synonymous expressions for the canon and feudal laws, seem to have lost their strength and weight.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 84 details Share on Google+ - Quote 84 Linked In Share Button - Quote 84 It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.


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I say RIGHTS, for such they have undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws - rights, derived from the great legislator of the universe.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 1419 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1419 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1419 Men are aspiring and ambitious in their souls [and hearts?] as their Imaginations are vivid.

John Adams: Spring 1759

Quote 1408 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1408 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1408 Since the promulgation of Christianity, the two greatest systems of tyranny that have sprung form this original, are the canon and the feudal law. The desire of dominion, that great principle by which we have attempted to account for so much good and so much evil, is, when properly restrained, a very useful and noble movement in the human mind. But when such restraints are taken off, it becomes an encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable power. Numberless have been the systems of iniquity contrived by the great for the gratification of this passion in themselves; but in none of them were they ever more successful than in the invention and establishment of the canon and feudal law.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 1348 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1348 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1348 I agree with you that in politics the middle way is none at all.

John Adams: to Haratio gates, March 23, 1776
The Quotable Founding Fathers

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

John Adams: letter to John Taylor, 17 December 1814
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...

Quote 810 details Share on Google+ - Quote 810 Linked In Share Button - Quote 810 We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. What will be the consequences, I know not.

John Adams: Letter to Abigail Adams, 1774

Quote 61 details Share on Google+ - Quote 61 Linked In Share Button - Quote 61 A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal.

John Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

Quote 1282 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1282 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1282 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! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.


Quote 1421 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1421 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1421 Upon the Stage of Life, we have each of us a part, a laborious and difficult Part, to Act, but we are all capable of acting our Parts, however difficult, to the best advantage. Upon common Theaters indeed the applause of the Audience is of more importance to the Actors than their own approbation. But upon the Stage of Life, while Conscience Clapps, let the World hiss! On the contrary if Conscience disapproves, the loudest applause of the World are of little Value. While our own minds commend, we may calmly despise all the Frowns, all the Censure, all the Malignity of men.

John Adams: to Charles Cushing, April 1, 1756
Web Source: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/06-01-02-0006

Quote 1411 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1411 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1411 But they saw clearly, that popular powers must be placed in guard, a control, a balance, to the powers of the monarch and the priest, in every government, or else it would soon become the man of sin, the whore of Babylon, the mystery of iniquity, a great and detestable system of fraud, violence and usurpation.

John Adams: Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
Quoted Document: A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

Quote 1416 details Share on Google+ - Quote 1416 Linked In Share Button - Quote 1416 What is the Use of Imagination? It is the Repository of Knowledge. By this faculty, are retained all the Ideas of visible objects, all the observations we have made in the Course of Life on Men and Things, our selves.

John Adams: Spring 1759 - Possible Diary Entries

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The Sphere of Imagination includes both Actuality and Possibility, not only what is but what may be.

John Adams: Spring 1759

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