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vote than any other, and that placed him at the head of the committee. I had the next highest number, and that placed me second. The committee met, discussed the subject, [of the Declaration of Independence] and then appointed Mr. Jefferson and me to make the draught, I suppose because we were the two first on the list. The subcommittee met. Jefferson proposed to me to make the draught. Adams: I will not. Jefferson: You should do it. Adams: Oh! no. Jefferson Why will you not? You ought to do it. Adams: I will not. Jefferson: Why? Adams: Reasons enough. Jefferson: What can be your reasons?I think he [Jefferson] had one more
Whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction ... that there never was an assembly of men, charged with a great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them.
Next Monday the Convention in Virginia will assemble; we have still good hopes of its adoption here: though by no great plurality of votes. South Carolina has probably decided favourably before this time. The plot thickens fast. A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation, and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come.
vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his
vote was taken? Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the president of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at the time to be our own death warrants? The silence and the gloom of the morning were interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Colonel Harrison of Virginia, who said to Mr. Gerry at the table: I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead. This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted.The 4th of July has been celebrate din Philadelphia in the manner I expected. The military men, and particularly one of them, ran away with all the glory of the day. Scarcely a word was said of the solicitude and labors and fears and sorrows and sleepless nights of the men who projected, proposed, defended and subscribed the Declaration of Independence. Do you recollect your memorable speech upon the day on which the
To preserver the freedom of the human mind ... and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think the condition of man will proceed in improvement.
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vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good.If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single
Quoted Document: John Adams Inaugural Address
Though I shall never write a history, I will give you a historical fact respecting the Declaration of Independence, which may amuse, if not surprise.
On the 1st of July, 1776, the question was taken in committee of the whole of Congress, when Pennsylvania, represented by seven members then present, voted against it, four to three. Among the majority were Robert Morris and John Dickinson. Delaware (having only two present, namely, myself and Mr. Read) was divided. All the other States voted in favor of it. The report was delayed until the 4th; and, in the mean time, I sent an express for Cæsar Rodney to Dover, in the County of Kent, in Delaware, at my private expense, whom I met at the State House door, on the 4th of July, in his boots. He resided eighty miles from the city, and just arrived as Congress met. The question was taken. Delaware voted in favor of Independence. Pennsylvania (there being only five members present, Messrs. Dickinson and Morris absent) voted also for it. Messrs. Willing and Humphries were against it. Thus the thirteen States were unanimous in favor of Independence. Notwithstanding this, in the printed public journal of Congress for 1776, Vol. II., it appears that the Declaration of Independence was declared on the 4th of July, 1776, by the gentlemen whose names are there inserted: whereas, no persons signed it on that day; and, among the names there inserted, one gentleman, namely, George Read, Esq., was not in favor of it; and seven were not in Congress on that day, namely, Messrs. Morris, Rush, Clymer, Smith, Taylor, and Ross, all of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Thornton, of New Hampshire; nor were the six gentlemen last named members of Congress on the 4th of July. The five for Pennsylvania were appointed delegates by the convention of that State on the 20th of July, and Mr. Thornton took his seat in Congress, for the first time, on the 4th of November following; when the names of Henry Hinds, of New York, and Thomas McKean, of Delaware, are not printed as subscribers, though both were present in Congress on the 4th of July, and voted for Independence.
Here false colors are certainly hung out. There is culpability somewhere. What I have heard as an explanation is as follows: When the Declaration was voted, it was ordered to be engrossed on parchment, and then signed; and that a few days afterwards a Resolution was entered on the secret journal that no person should have a seat in Congress during that year until he should have signed the Declaration of Independence. After the 4th of July, I was not in Congress for several months, having marched with a regiment of Associators, as Colonel, to support General Washington, until the flying camp of ten thousand men was completed. When the Associators were discharged, I returned to Philadelphia, took my seat in Congress, and signed my name to the Declaration on parchment. This transaction should be truly stated, and the then secret journal should be made public. In the manuscript journal, Mr. Pickering, then Secretary of State, and myself, saw a printed half-sheet of paper, with the names of the members afterwards in the printed journals stitched in. We examined the parchment, where my name is signed in my own handwriting.
vote in the election of representatives is in this case.The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a
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vote according to his ideal of her true interest, and that he should do the same in similar circumstances.His objections are chiefly contained in his letter to the Legislature; that he believes his colleagues men of to much honour to assert what is not true; that his reasons in the Convention "were totally different from those which he published," that his only motive for dissenting from the Constitution, was a firm persuasion that it would endanger the liberties of America; that if the people are of a different option, they have a right to adopt; but he was not authorized to an act, which appeared to him was a surrender of their liberties; that a representative of a free state, he was bound in honour to
Essays on the Constitution of the United States, published during its discussion by the people 1787-1788