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John Adams Quotes


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

Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty but it is religion and morality alone that can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.
 

Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.
[Patriotism]
 

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.
 

The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries.
 

The four most miserable years of my life . . .
 

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.
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The happiness of society is the end of government.
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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.
 

The proposition that the people are the best keepers of their own liberties is not true. They are the worst conceivable, they are no keepers at all; they can neither judge, act, think, or will, as a political body.
 

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.
 

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.
 

There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.
 

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.
[Liberty]
 

Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity.
 

Vain man! Mind your own business! Do no wrong! Do all the good you can! Eat your canvas-back ducks! Drink your Burgundy! Sleep your siesta, when necessary, and trust in God.
[Advice]
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We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.
 

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.
 

Whenever vanity and gaiety, a love of pomp and dress, furniture, equipage, buildings, great company, expensive diversions, and elegant entertainments get the better of the principles and judgments of men and women, there is no knowing where they will stop, nor into what evils, natural, moral, or political, they will lead us.
 

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.
 


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