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John Adams quotes page 1

1735 - 1826, second President of the United States

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and
philosophy.
John Adams

Old minds are like horses. You must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
John Adams

Did you ever hear of a great and good man who had not a good mother?
John Adams

Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a
democracy that did not commit suicide.
John Adams

Always stand on principle - even if you stand alone.
John Adams

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by
debt.
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

The form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word,
happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.
John Adams

The happiness of society is the end of government.
John Adams

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if
possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
John Adams

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates
of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams

You and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other.
John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

Let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing.
John Adams

Thanks to God that he gave me stubbornness when I know I am right.
John Adams

What do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? 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.
John Adams

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

Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism
cannot confine it.
John Adams

All the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arise, not from want of honor or virtue,
but from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.
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

When annual elections end, there slavery begins.
John Adams

The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable,
and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I
think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.
John Adams

Power must never be trusted without a check.
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

Virtue is the mistress of all things. Virtue is the master of all things. Therefore a nation that
should never do wrong must necessarily govern the world. The might of virtue, the power of
virtue, is not a very common topic, not so common as it should be.
John Adams

I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two become a
lawfirm, and that three or more become a congress.
John Adams

The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people's hands, that is, to give them the power
at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.
John Adams

The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to
the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.
John Adams

Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
John Adams

Property monopolized or in the possession of a few is a curse to mankind.
John Adams

I am determined to control events, not be controlled by them.
John Adams

The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire,
the less I seem to know. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.
John Adams

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.
John Adams

Killing one tyrant only makes way for worse, unless the people have sense, spirit and honesty
enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against the tyranny of
the one, the few, and the many.
John Adams

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