John Adams Quotes & Wallpapers

John Adams
Total Quotes: 473


The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod - and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war. John Adams

I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen. John Adams

Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years? John Adams

The people "have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge- I mean of the character and conduct of their rulers." John Adams

When economic power became concentrated in a few hands, then political power flowed to those possessors and away from the citizens, ultimately resulting in an oligarchy or tyranny. John Adams

My History of the Jesuits is in four volumes.... This society has been a greater calamity to mankind than the French Revolution, or Napoleon's despotism or ideology. It has obstructed progress of reformation and the improvement of the human mind in society much longer and more fatally. John Adams

If the Christian religion, as I understand it, or as you understand it, should maintain its ground, as I believe it will, yet Platonic, Pythagoric, Hindoo, and cabalistical Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires. John Adams

Admit that the press transferred the pontificate of Rome to Henry VIII-Admit that the press demolished in some sort the feudal system, and set the serfs and villains free; admit that the press demolished the monasteries, nunneries, and religious houses; into whose hands did all these alienated baronies, monasteries, and religious houses and lands fall? Into the hands of the democracy? Into the hands of serfs and villains? Serfs and villains were the only real democracy in those time. No. They fell into the hands of other aristocrats. . . . John Adams

By the former of these (canon law), the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing constitution of policy that ever was conceived by the mind of man was framed by the Romish clergy for the aggrandizement of their own order. John Adams

Those who trade liberty for security have neither. John Adams

Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. John Adams

You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular; you are very much otherwise. And you can write ten times better than I can. John Adams

The happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. John Adams

Conclude not from all this that I have renounced the Christian religion. . . . Far from it. I see in every page something to recommend Christianity in its purity, and something to discredit its corruptions. . . . The ten commandments and the sermon on the mount contain my religion. John Adams

If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, and that a free country! John Adams

Human passions unbridled by morality and religion...would break the stronges cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. John Adams

The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. John Adams

Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws. 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

God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. John Adams

When you see a good move, sit on your hands and find a better one. John Adams

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it. John Adams

The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation. John Adams

Our whole system of banks is a violation of every honest principle of banks. There is no honest bank but a bank of deposit. A bank that issues paper at interest is a pickpocket or a robber. But the delusion will have its course. ... An aristocracy is growing out of them that will be as fatal as the feudal barons if unchecked in time. John Adams

Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. John Adams

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

Borrowed eloquence, if it contains as good stuff, is as good as own eloquence John Adams

Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. But if unlimited or unbalanced power of disposing property, be put into the hands of those who have no property, France will find, as we have found, the lamb committed to the custody of the world. In such a case, all the pathetic exhortations and addresses of the national assembly to the people, to respect property, will be regarded no more than the warbles of the songsters of the forest. John Adams

If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue, and interest of the multitude in all acts of government. John Adams

...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it. John Adams

[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood. John Adams

And liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people who have a right from the frame of their nature to knowledge, as their great Creator who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings and a desire to know. But besides this they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible divine right to the most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers. John Adams

The law, in all vicissitudes of government, fluctuations of the passions, or flights of enthusiasm, will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men.... On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamors of the populace. John Adams

Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens the understanding and softens the heart. John Adams

Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. John Adams

There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off. A whole government of our own choice, managed by persons whom we love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which men will fight. 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. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it. John Adams

Metaphysicians and politicians may dispute forever, but they will never find any other moral principle or foundation of rule or obedience, than the consent of governors and governed. John Adams

Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people. John Adams

It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power. John Adams

We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! John Adams

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. John Adams

In vain are Schools, Academies, and Universities instituted, if loose Principles and licentious habits are impressed upon Children in their earliest years . . . . The Vices and Examples of the Parents cannot be concealed from the Children. How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers. John Adams

This is my religion ... joy and exaltation in my own existence ... so go ahead and snarl ... bite ... howl, you Calvinistic divines and all you who say I am no Christian. I say you are not Christian. John Adams

A militia law, requiring all men, or with very few exceptions besides cases of conscience, to be provided with arms and ammunition... is always a wise institution, and, in the present circumstances of our country, indispensable. John Adams

That the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of the history of the world. John Adams

Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, and measure in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations. John Adams

Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest numbers of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best. All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. John Adams

It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction. John Adams

The people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous, and cruel, as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power. The majority has eternally, and without one exception, usurped over the rights of the minority. John Adams

Modesty is a virtue that can never thrive in public. John Adams

It is an observation of one of the profoundest inquirers into human affairs that a revolution of government is the strongest proof that can be given by a people of their virtue and good sense. John Adams

One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three is a Congress. John Adams

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, 'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!' But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company-I mean hell. John Adams

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

. . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. John Adams

Numberless have been the systems of iniquity contrived by the great for the gratification of this passion in themselves; but in none of them were they ever more successful than in the invention and establishment of the canon and the feudal law. John Adams

I desire no other inscription over my gravestone than: 'Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of peace with France in the year 1800'. John Adams

This is a revolution, damn it! We're going to have to offend somebody! John Adams

Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and trustees, for the people; and if the cause, the interest and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed, and to constitute abler and better agents, attorneys, and trustees. John Adams

During the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together. John Adams

It is much easier to pull down a government, in such a conjuncture of affairs as we have seen, than to build up, at such a season as the present. John Adams

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. John Adams

Fear is the foundation of most government. John Adams

The whole drama of the world is such tragedy that I am weary of the spectacle. 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

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

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

We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it. John Adams



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