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John Adams quotes (31)

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.
John Adams   Category: People

It is not only the trial jurors right but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding judgment and conscience though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.
John Adams   Category: Unsorted

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

Thomas Jefferson still survives ... (Actually Jefferson had died earlier that same day Independence Day July 4 1826)
John Adams   Category: Last

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 triumph in that Days Transaction even although We should rue it which I trust in God We shall not.
John Adams   Category: Independence

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.
John Adams   Category: Knowledge

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery of party faction and division of society.
John Adams   Category: Politeness

All the perplexities confusions and distresses in America arise not from defects in their constitution or confederation not from a want of honor or virtue so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin credit and circulation.
John Adams   Category: Defect

Grief drives men to serious reflection sharpens the understanding and softens the heart.
John Adams   Category: Grief

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

The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the peopleĀ…. This radical change in the principles opinions sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.
John Adams   Category: Revolution

What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France by order of another pope because suspected of heresy? Remember the index expurgatorius the inquisition the stake the axe the halter and the guillotine.
John Adams   Category: Bible

The die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink live or die survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.
John Adams   Category: Decency

As I understand the Christian religion it was and is a revelation. 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?
John Adams   Category: Christianity

A government of laws and not of men. Adams published articles in 1774 in the Boston Massachusetts Gazette using the pseudonym Novanglus. In this paper he credited James Harrington with expressing the idea this way. Harrington described government as the empire of laws and not of men in his 1656 work The Commonwealth of Oceana p. 35 (1771). The phrase gained wider currency when Adams used it in the Massachusetts Constitution Bill of Rights article 30 (1780).Works vol. 4 p. 230.
John Adams   Category: Law

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.
John Adams   Category: Freedom

I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved-the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
John Adams   Category: Calamities

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   Category: Democracy

But America is a great unwieldy Body. Its Progress must be slow. It is like a large Fleet sailing under Convoy. The fleetest Sailors must wait for the dullest and slowest. Like a Coach and sixthe swiftest Horses must be slackened and the slowest quickened that all may keep an even Pace.
John Adams   Category: Ambition

You are apprehensive of monarchy; I of aristocracy. I would therefore have given more power to the President and less to the Senate.
John Adams   Category: Government

The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.
John Adams   Category: Education

The Science of Government it is my duty to study more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation ought to take place indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts.I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematics and Philosophy Geography natural History Naval Architecture navigation Commerce and Agriculture in order to give their Children a right to study Painting Poetry Musick Architecture Statuary Tapestry and Porcelaine. This letter has not been dated precisely but appears to have been written after Adamss letter to his wife on May 12 and before one written to her on May 15.
John Adams   Category: Art

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.
John Adams   Category: Everything

As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.
John Adams   Category:

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

I Pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on THIS HOUSE and on All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof! President Franklin D. Roosevelt had this lettered in gold in the marble over the fireplace in the State Dining Room of the White House. The quotation above follows the capitalization used in the inscription.
John Adams   Category: Praise

I read my eyes out and cant read half enough.... The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.
John Adams   Category: Reactionaries

The priesthood have in all ancient nations nearly monopolized learning.... And ever since the Reformation when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate the most ungentlemanly insolence the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured countenanced propagated and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect though capable of the clearest proof and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand and fly into your face and eyes.
John Adams   Category: Priest

The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.
John Adams   Category: Sentiment

The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America.I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. 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.
John Adams   Category: Anniversary

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