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Quotes from John Adams

John Adams' Words


John Adams was the second president of the United States. He had a huge impact on the founding of the United States from his involvement in the continental congresses to his time the president. He also created a wealth of writings including his famous letters to political rival Thomas Jefferson in his later years. Following are some quotes that in many ways embody his legacy through the years.

"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."

"If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and benevolence...."

"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."

"The balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land."

"My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." (Upon being elected as the first Vice President)

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." (Upon moving into the White House)

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

"Did you ever see a portrait of a great man without perceiving strong traits of pain and anxiety?"

"Every man in [Congress] is a great man, an orator, a critic, a statesman; and therefore every man upon every question must show his oratory, his criticism, and his political abilities."

"Modesty is a virtue that can never thrive in public."

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