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Liberty &
Founding Father Quotes

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Liberty, Revolutionary & Founding Father Quotes

John Adams
Rebel - Founding Father - Statesman - 2nd President • USA • 1735 - 1826

John Adams (October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826) was the second President of the United States (1797-1801), having earlier served as the first Vice President of the United States. An American Founding Father, he was a statesman, diplomat, and a leader of American independence from Great Britain. Well educated, he was an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism and wrote prolifically about his often seminal ideas, both in publish works and in letters to his wife and key adviser Abigail as well as to other Founding Fathers. Additonal Reading

Liberty Quotes by: John Adams

What do these John Adams quotes mean to you? Comment below...

• 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. • comment

• Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist. • comment

• Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people. • comment

• Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. • comment

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

• Because power corrupts, societies demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases. • comment

• But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. • comment

• Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. • comment

• Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people. • comment

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

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

• The science of government is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take place of, indeed to exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. • comment

• Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few. • comment

• Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people . . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. • comment

• 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. • comment

• But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. • comment

• 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. • comment

• 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. • comment

• The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America. • comment

• 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. • comment

• They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. • comment

• Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is also in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong. A love of truth and a veneration of virtue. These amiable passions, are the "latent spark" ... If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference. • comment

• A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal. • comment

• 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. • comment

• Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it. • comment

• 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. • comment

• The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that. • comment


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What's the meaning of these John Adams quotes to you?