JOHN ADAMS QUOTES

American President (1735-1826)

John Adams quote

There is nothing which I dread so much as a 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.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Jonathan Jackson, Oct. 2, 1789

99 likes

Tags: political parties


Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Abigail Adams, Jul. 17, 1775

96 likes

Tags: liberty, Abigail Adams


A government of laws, and not of men.

JOHN ADAMS, Novanglus Essays, No. 7

89 likes

Tags: government, law


Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to John Taylor, 1814

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Tags: democracy, government


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

JOHN ADAMS, Notes for an oration at Braintree, Spring 1772

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Tags: government, liberty


Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.

JOHN ADAMS, Thoughts on Government

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Tags: education


Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Benjamin Rush, Apr. 18, 1808

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Tags: duty


Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

JOHN ADAMS, Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials, Dec. 4, 1770

29 likes

Tags: facts


Let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing.

JOHN ADAMS, A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law

26 likes

Tags: knowledge


We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all Divines and moral Philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that 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.

JOHN ADAMS, Thoughts on Government

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Tags: happiness, government


As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected ... before a drop of blood was shed.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Aug. 24, 1815

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Tags: revolution


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

JOHN ADAMS, notes for an oration at Braintree, spring 1772

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Tags: liberty


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.

JOHN ADAMS, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law

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Tags: power, freedom


It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

JOHN ADAMS, attributed, John Adams: His Words

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Tags: law


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

JOHN ADAMS, First Address to Congress, Nov. 23, 1797

18 likes

Tags: national debt


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

JOHN ADAMS, letter to J. H. Tiffany, Mar. 31, 1819

16 likes

Tags: words


While all other Sciences have advanced, that of Government is at a stand; little better understood; little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Jul. 9, 1813

15 likes

Tags: government


The prospect is chilling, on every Side. Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting. When and where will the light spring up?

JOHN ADAMS, diary, Sep. 16, 1777

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The law no passion can disturb. 'Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger. 'Tis mens sine affectu, written reason, retaining some measure of the divine perfection. It does not enjoin that which pleases a weak, frail man, but, without any regard to persons, commands that which is good and punishes evil in all, whether rich or poor, high or low.

JOHN ADAMS, Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials, Dec. 4, 1770

14 likes

Tags: law, reason


Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.

JOHN ADAMS, Novanglus Essays, No. 3

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Tags: power, liberty