John Adams

1735 - 1826

A Quote by John Adams on country, imagination, and inventions

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

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Adams on abuse, society, and words

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

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: To J. H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Adams on danger, difficulty, mankind, politicians, problems, and present

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.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to James Lord, February 11, 1815.

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A Quote by John Adams on authority, belief, cruelty, god, heaven, ignorance, knowledge, management, mankind, morality, nature, people, persuasion, pleasure, power, religion, rules, shame, timidity, and wine

They even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure; with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality; with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes; with a power of deposing princes and absolving subjects from allegiance; with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God and that was worshipped.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, 1765.

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A Quote by John Adams on common sense, constitution, danger, delusion, ideas, laws, men, mind, mortality, mystery, nature, nonsense, reason, rest, and society

They (the Puritans) saw clearly that of all the nonsense and delusion which had ever passed through the mind of man, none had ever been more extravagant than the notions of absolutions, indelible characters, uninterrupted successions, and the rest of those fantastical ideas, derived from the canon law, which had thrown such a glare of mystery, sanctity, reverence, and right reverend eminence and holiness around the idea of a priest as no mortal could deserve, and as always must, from the constitution of human nature, be dangerous to society. For this reason they demolished the whole system of diocesan episcopacy, and, deriding, as all reasonable and impartial men must do, the ridiculous fancies of sanctified effluvia from Episcopal fingers, they established sacerdotal ordination on the foundation of the Bible and common sense.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, 1765.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Adams on books, christianity, heresy, and order

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 (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to John Taylor, The Life and Works of John Adams, Boston, 1851, v. 6,

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A Quote by John Adams on consequences, history, ideas, people, revolution, and war

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 from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 24, 1815.—The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, vol. 10, p. 172 (1856).

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A Quote by John Adams on change, people, principles, radicals, revolution, and war

The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people.... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: To Hezekiah Niles, February 13, 1818.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Adams on america, congress, decisions, difficulty, enemies, life, nations, people, rebellion, revolution, struggle, time, and trouble

You say that at the time of the Congress, in 1765, "The great mass of the people were zealous in the cause of America." "The great mass of the people" is an expression that deserves analysis. New York and Pennsylvania were so nearly divided, if their propensity was not against us, that if New England on one side and Virginia on the other had not kept them in awe, they would have joined the British. Marshall, in his life of Washington, tells us, that the southern States were nearly equally divided. Look into the Journals of Congress, and you will see how seditious, how near rebellion were several counties of New York, and how much trouble we had to compose them. The last contest, in the town of Boston, in 1775, between Whig and Tory, was decided by five against two. Upon the whole, if we allow two thirds of the people to have been with us in the revolution, is not the allowance ample? Are not two thirds of the nation now with the administration? Divided we ever have been, and ever must be. Two thirds always had and will have more difficulty to struggle with the one third than with all our foreign enemies. He referred to a Congress "held at New York, A.D. 1765, on the subject of the American stamp act" (p. 62).

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: letter to Thomas McKean, August 31, 1813.—The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, vol. 10, p. 63 (1856).

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A Quote by John Adams on christianity, existence, judaism, legends, religion, and understanding

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 (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to F. A. Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816.

Contributed by: Zaady

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