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John Adams Quotes

Here are quotes by one of America's greatest founding fathers, John Adams, and related quotations about America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers Quotes

In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an

John Adams, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797

Founding Fathers Quotes

Independence forever.

John Adams' last public words as a toast for the celebration
of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

Founding Fathers Quotes

Independence forever.

John Adams, last public words as a toast for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826

Founding Fathers Quotes

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, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

It has ever been my hobby-horse to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and a prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them. You say it is impossible. If I should agree with you in this, I would still say, let us try the experiment, and preserve our equality as long as we can. A better system of education for the common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice.

John Adams, letter to Count Sarsfield, February 3, 1786

Founding Fathers Quotes

It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

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. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. 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.

John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.

John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

Founding Fathers Quotes

Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.

John Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, December 5, 1777

Founding Fathers Quotes

Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man's nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God... Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments.

John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Founding Fathers Quotes

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 that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Founding Fathers Quotes

Liberty 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, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Founding Fathers Quotes

Men must be ready, they must pride themselves and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society.

John Adams, letter to Mercy Warren, April 16, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.

John Adams, letter to James Lloyd, January, 1815

Founding Fathers Quotes

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, letter to William Cushing, June 9, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be... Our American Chivalry is the worst in the world. It has no Laws, no bounds, no definitions; it seems to be all a Caprice.

John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, April 17, 1826

Founding Fathers Quotes

Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.

John Adams, letter to Mercy Warren, April 16, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

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, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

Founding Fathers Quotes

That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776



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