Quotes by John Adams

Get quotes of the day


John Adams (October 30, 1735 July 4, 1826) was the first (1789 1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797 1801) President of the United States. more

Add to my favourites Get these quotes on a PDF
There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
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.
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
The happiness of society is the end of government.
Genius is sorrow's child.
In politics the middle way is none at all.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
Fear is the foundation of most government.
Liberty can not be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.
Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.
I read my eyes out and cant read half enough. The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.
If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?
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.
The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.
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.
Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity.
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 these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.
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
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.
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.
The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.
Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
All the perplexities, confusions, and distresses in America arise, not from defects in their constitution or confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.
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!
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.
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.
I request that they may be considered in confidence, until the members of Congress are fully possessed of their contents, and shall have had opportunity to deliberate on the consequences of their publication; after which time, I submit them to your wisdom.
The rich, the well-born, and the able, acquire an influence among the people that will soon be too much for simple honesty and plain sense, in a house of representatives. The most illustrious of them must, therefore, be separated from the mass, and placed by themselves in a senate; this is, to all honest and useful intents, an ostracism.
I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
But America is a great, unwieldy Body. Its Progress must be slow. It is like a large Fleet sailing under Convoy. The fleetest Sailors must wait for the dullest and slowest. Like a Coach and sixthe swiftest Horses must be slackened and the slowest quickened, that all may keep an even Pace.
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 Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks 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.
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
A government of laws and not of men.
The new Governments we are assuming in every Part will require a Purification from our Vices, and an Augmentation of our Virtues, or they will have no Blessings. The people will have unbounded Power. And the people are extremely addicted to Corruption and Venality, as well as the Great.

Get Quotes of the Day

Your daily dose of thought, inspiration and motivation.