Best 425 of John Adams quotes - MyQuotes

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John Adams
By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

The human understanding is a revelation from its maker, which can never be disputed or doubted. There can be no scepticism, Pyrrhonism, or incredulity or infidelity here. No prophecies, no miracles are necessary to prove this celestical communication. This revelation has made it certain that two and one make three, and that one is not three nor can three be one. We can never be so certain of any prophecy, or the fulfilment of any prophecy, or of any miracle, or the design of any miracle, as we are from the revelation of nature, that is, nature's God, that two and two are equal to four.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Borrowed eloquence, if it contains as good stuff, is as good as own eloquence

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

There's no such thing as a free lunch, unless you have a coupon for a free lunch...or someone gives you a lunch...never mind.

By Anonym 18 Sep

John Adams

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. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or limited sovereignty, or absolute power is the same [whether] in a majority of a popular assembly; an aristocratic council; or oligarchical junto and a single emperor - equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody and in every respect diabolical.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

We may... affirm that the balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land. The only possible way, then, of preserving the balance of power on the side of liberty and public virtue is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society; to make a division of the land into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

But before any great things are accomplished, a memorable change must be made in the system of Education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of Society nearer to the higher. The Education of a Nation, instead of being confined to a few schools & Universities, for the instruction of the few, must become the National Care and expence, for the information of the Many.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our Liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single 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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

A pleasant morning. Saw my classmates Gardner, and Wheeler. Wheeler dined, spent the afternoon, and drank Tea with me. Supped at Major Gardiners, and engag'd to keep School at Bristol, provided Worcester People, at their ensuing March meeting, should change this into a moving School, not otherwise. Major Greene this Evening fell into some conversation with me about the Divinity and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ. All the Argument he advanced was, 'that a mere creature, or finite Being, could not make Satisfaction to infinite justice, for any Crimes,' and that 'these things are very mysterious.' (Thus mystery is made a convenient Cover for absurdity.) [Diary entry, February 13 1756]

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.

By Anonym 19 Sep

John Adams

We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better; even in our Massachusetts, which, I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemies upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any arguments for investigation into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Volney's Recherches Nouvelles? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws... but as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. {Letter to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825}

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens the understanding, and softens the heart

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

Your Letters concerning Miss N. have given me as much Concern as they ought-not knowing the Character nor what to advise, but feeling all a Fathers Tenderness, longing to be at home that I might enquire and consider and take the Care I ought.

By Anonym 19 Sep

John Adams

...The Presidential election has given me less anxiety than I myself could have imagined. The next administration will be a troublesome one, to whomsoever it falls, and our John has been too much worn to contend much longer with conflicting factions. I call him our John, because, when you were at the Cul de sac at Paris, he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine. ...As to the decision of your author, though I wish to see the book {Flourens’s Experiments on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals}, I look upon it as a mere game at push-pin. Incision-knives will never discover the distinction between matter and spirit, or whether there is any or not. That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe. Let us do our duty, which is to do as we would be done by; and that, one would think, could not be difficult, if we honestly aim at it. Your university is a noble employment in your old age, and your ardor for its success does you honor; but I do not approve of your sending to Europe for tutors and professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America, to fill your professorships and tutorships with more active ingenuity and independent minds than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschel’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. I salute your fireside with best wishes and best affections for their health, wealth and prosperity. {Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January, 1825}

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton's universe and Herschell's universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire. They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. If this definition is just, the British constitution is nothing more or less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary, and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government's being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Farther I could find it in my heart to wish that you had been at the head of a hundred thousand Israelites . . . & marching with them into Judea & making a conquest of that country & restoring your nation to the dominion of it. For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

The Church of Rome has made it an article of faith that no man can be saved out of their church, and all other religious sects approach this dreadful opinion in proportion to their ignorance, and the influence of ignorant or wicked priests.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks 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. (12 May 1780)

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

I didn't grow up imagining myself as an opera composer. Only once in my entire adolescence did I attend an opera. I went and saw Aida at the old Met, didn't understand a thing about it, and thought it was pretty awful. But I think I had it in my genes without even realising it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Before any great things are accomplished, a memorable change must be made in the system of education...to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

I had heard my father say that he never knew a piece of land run away or break.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

The form of government which you admire, when its principles are pure is admirable indeed. It is productive of every Thing which is great and excellent among men. But its principles are as easily destroyed as human nature is corrupted. Such a government is only to be supported by pure religion or Austere morals.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Fear is the foundation of most governments.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

If there is ever an amelioration of the condition of mankind, philosophers, theologians, legislators, politicians and moralists will find that the regulation of the press is the most difficult, dangerous and important problem they have to resolve. Mankind cannot now be governed without it, nor at present with it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

The people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous, and cruel, as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power. The majority has eternally, and without one exception, usurped over the rights of the minority.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

Ideology is the science of idiots.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

It is folly to anticipate evils, and madness to create imaginary ones.

By Anonym 14 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

John Adams

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

John Adams

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.