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John Adams Quotes

John Adams Quotes taken from his own letters and speeches. John Adams was a leader of the Revolutionary War who eventually became the second President of the United States. Our John Adams Quotes are listed in chronological order. This page contains quotes from 1776, most are from letters he wrote to other Revolutionary War era figures such as General Horatio Gates, George Wythe - a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Patrick Henry, Mercy Otis Warren and his wife Abagail Adams. In these quotes, he talks about the importance of education, religion, elections and being governed by local bodies. There are links to more John Adams Quotes before and after 1776 at the bottom.

John Adams

John Adams

John Adams Quotes

"I agree with you that in politics the middle way is none at all." - Letter to Horatio Gates, March 23, 1776

"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." - Letter to George Wythe, April, 1776

"We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all Divines and moral Philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that 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." - Letter to George Wythe, April, 1776

"When annual elections end, there slavery begins." - Letter to George Wythe, April, 1776

"Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant." - Letter to George Wythe, April, 1776

"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, as both should be checks upon that." - Letter to George Wythe, April, 1776

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John Adams Quotes

"Let them revere nothing but religion, morality and liberty." - Letter to Abigail Adams, April 15, 1776

"The Form of Government, which you admire, when its Principles are pure is admirable, indeed, it is productive of every Thing which is great and excellent among Men. But its Principles are as easily destroyed, as human nature is corrupted. Such a Government is only to be supported by pure Religion or Austere Morals. Public Virtue cannot exist in a nation without Private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics." - Letter to Mercy Otis Warren, April 16, 1776

"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." - Letter to Mercy Otis Warren, April 16, 1776

"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." - Letter to Mercy Otis Warren, April 16, 1776

"You bid me burn your letters. But I must forget you first." - Letter to Abigail Adams, April 28, 1776

"There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off. A whole government of our own choice, managed by persons whom we love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which men will fight." - Letter to Abigail Adams, May 17, 1776

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John Adams Presidential Coin

John Adams
Presidential Coin

"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." - Letter to Patrick Henry, June 3, 1776

"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." - Letter to William Cushing, June 9, 1776

"It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue." - Letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty." - Letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

"The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty." - Letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

"The object is great which We have in View, and We must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But We should always remember that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing, on this side (of) the New Jerusalem, of equal importance to Mankind." - Letter to Archibald Bullock, July 1, 1776

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John Adams Quotes

"Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgement approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence for ever!" - Speech to the Continental Congress, July 1, 1776

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.-I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

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 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 worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not." - Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

"It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distressing yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect, at least: it will inspire us will many virtues, which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in states as well as individuals. And the new governments we are assuming, in every part, will require a purification from our vices and an augmentation of our virtues or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power. And the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. I am not without apprehensions from this quarter, but I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe." - Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

"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." - Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776


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