John Adams

1735 - 1826

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.

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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 existence, expectation, influence, laws, society, and struggle

In every society where property exists there will ever be a struggle between rich and poor. Mixed in one assembly, equal laws can never be expected; they will either be made by the member to plunder the few who are rich, or by the influence to fleece the many who are poor.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Quoted by Senator Estes Kefauver, with the remark: "A remarkable anticipation of the basic presumption of Marxism."

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A Quote by John Adams on anarchy, force, god, ideas, justice, laws, sacred, society, and tyranny

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 (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter

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A Quote by John Adams on liberty and mankind

Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

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

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A Quote by John Adams

I read my eyes out and can't read half enough. . . . The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: letter to Abigail Adams, December 28, 1794.—Adams papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

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A Quote by John Adams on america, glory, independence, justice, presidency, and revolution

For America's second president, the most venerated document of the Revolution was just one more occasion for sour grapes: "The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that . . . and all the glory of it."

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to Benjamin Rush, June 21, 1811

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A Quote by John Adams on errors, government, ignorance, reason, reflection, remorse, and retirement

"Mr. Jefferson has reason to reflect upon himself. How he will get rid of his remorse in his retirement, I know not. He must know that he leaves the government infinitely worse than he found it, and that from his own error or ignorance."

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to Benjamin Rush, April 18, 1808

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A Quote by John Adams on blessings, gold, heaven, honesty, men, presidency, and quotations

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 (1735 - 1826)

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