Quotes by John Adams

Genius is sorrow's child.
- John Adams
A government of laws, and not of men.
- John Adams
Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
- John Adams
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In politics the middle way is none at all.
- John Adams
Fear is the foundation of most governments.
- John Adams
The happiness of society is the end of government.
- John Adams
Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.
- John Adams
Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.
- John Adams
I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.
- John Adams
The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries.
- John Adams
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The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in states as well as individuals.
- John Adams
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.
- John Adams
Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.
- John Adams
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
- John Adams
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
- John Adams
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.
- John Adams
Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
- John Adams
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
- John Adams
The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.
- John Adams
Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.
- 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.
- John Adams
My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
- John Adams
Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
- 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.
- 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.
- John Adams
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
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
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.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams
A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.
- John Adams
As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.
- John Adams
I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.
- John Adams
Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
- John Adams
I, poor creature, worn out with scribbling for my bread and my liberty, low in spirits and weak in health, must leave others to wear the laurels which I have sown, others to eat the bread which I have earned. A common case.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams
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.
- John Adams

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