Famous Quotes By John Adams


  1. A government of laws, and not of men.
  2. Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
  3. All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.
  4. Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
  5. Fear is the foundation of most governments.
  6. Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
  7. Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear and imagination - everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.
  8. I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.
  9. I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.
  10. I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
  11. In politics the middle way is none at all.
  12. Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.
  13. Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.
  14. Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.
  15. My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
  16. Old minds are like old horses you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
  17. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
  18. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.
  19. Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.
  20. The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries.
  21. The happiness of society is the end of government.
  22. The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.
  23. 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.
  24. When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.<
  25. While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill - little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.

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