John Adams

1735 - 1826

A Quote by John Adams on america, aristocracy, art, democracy, destruction, influence, and wealth

Shall we have recourse to the art of printing? But this has not destroyed property or aristocracy or corporations or paper wealth in England or America, or diminished the influence of either; on the contrary, it has multiplied aristocracy and diminished democracy.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

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

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by John Adams on fiction, god, laws, miracles, nature, questions, and world

The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: To Jefferson, June 20, 1815

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A Quote by John Adams on belief, power, principles, and trust

You ask, how has it happened that all Europe has acted on the principle, "that Power was Right".... Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi, believes itself right.... Power must never be trusted without a check.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: To Jefferson, February 2, 1816.

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A Quote by John Adams on america, debate, decisions, independence, men, questions, and resolution

Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, that those United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to Mrs. Adams, July 3, 1776.

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A Quote by John Adams on laws, liberty, meaning, and power

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.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

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

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A Quote by John Adams on choice, liberty, power, and thought

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

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Letter to John Taylor.

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A Quote by John Adams on body, judgment, people, and politics

The proposition that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties is not true. They are the worst conceivable, they are no keepers at all; they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: Defence of the Constitution. (Quoted by W. W. Woodward in his Tom Paine:

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A Quote by John Adams on country, cowardice, freedom, hypocrisy, laws, liberty, names, and suffering

Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country; nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

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

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A Quote by John Adams on commitment, democracy, murder, and suicide

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 (1735 - 1826)

Source: letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814.—The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, vol. 6, p. 484 (1851).

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A Quote by John Adams on agriculture, architecture, art, children, duty, government, history, liberty, mathematics, negotiation, order, painting, philosophy, poetry, politics, science, sons, study, war, and wives

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 Adams's letter to his wife on May 12, and before one written to her on May 15.

John Adams (1735 - 1826)

Source: letter to Abigail Adams, after May 12, 1780.—Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, vol. 3, p. 342 (1973).

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