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Samuel Adams Quotes

These Samuel Adams Quotes are taken from his own letters, speeches and writings from the year 1780 until his death in 1803. Sam Adams was one of the great leaders of the Revolutionary War. He was elected to the Continental Congress and became the second governor of the new state of Massachusetts. The Samuel Adams Quotes on this page come from letters written to such prominent figures as John Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Paine. Topics covered include such things as Adams' qualifications for those in public office, the importance of teaching youth "piety, religion and morality" and the right of the people to abolish the government if it no longer serves them. These Samuel Adams Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more before this period at the bottom of the page.


Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams


Samuel Adams Quotes

"I could dwell on the importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all which are essential to the well-being of a family. But I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly Protection he affords us." - Letter to Thomas Wells, his daughter's fiancé, November 22, 1780

"If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation." - Letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

"Every citizen will see, and I hope be deeply impressed with a sense of it, how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his children is connected with it, that those who are to have a share in making as well as in judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity." - Boston Gazette, April 2, 1781

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." - Essay in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions." - Debates of the Massachusetts Convention of 1788

"I hope Congress, before they adjourn will take into very serious Consideration the necessary Amendments of the Constitution. Those whom I call the best - the most judicious & disinterested Federalists, who wish for the perpetual Union, Liberty & Happiness of the States & their respective Citizens, many of them if not all are anxiously expecting them. They wish to see a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the several States upon which the private & personal Rights of the Citizens depend. Without such Distinction there will be Danger of the Constitution issuing imperceptibly and gradually into a consolidated Government over all the States: which, although it may be wished for by some was reprobated in the Idea by the highest Advocates for the Constitution as it stood without Amendments. I am fully persuaded that the population of the U S living in different Climates, of different Education and Manners, and possessed of different Habits & feelings under one consolidated Government can not long remain free, or indeed remain under any kind of Government but despotism." - Letter to Elbridge Gerry, August 22, 1789

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Quotes? Read on!

Samuel Adams Statue - Faneuil Hall
Samuel Adams Statue
Faneuil Hall - Boston
"I mean, my friend, to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments; that the good people may clearly see the distinction, for there is a distinction, between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium (the protection) of the private and personal rights of the citizens." - Letter to Richard Henry Lee, August 24, 1789

"Let Divines, and Philosophers, Statesmen and Patriots unite their endeavours to renovate the Age, by impressing the Minds of Men with the importance of educating their little boys, and girls - of inculcating in the Minds of youth the fear, and Love of the Deity, and universal Phylanthropy; and in subordination to these great principles, the Love of their Country - of instructing them in the Art of self government, without which they never can act a wise part in the Government of Societys great, or small - in short of leading them in the Study, and Practice of the exalted Virtues of the Christian system, which will happily tend to subdue the turbulent passions of Men, and introduce that Golden Age beautifully described in figurative language; when the Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard lie down with the Kid - the Cow, and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the Lyon shall eat straw like the Ox - none shall then hurt, or destroy; for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord." - Letter to John Adams, October 4, 1790

"In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator. They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man. Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbor, is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation." - Having just risen from Lieutenant Governor when Governor John Hancock died, 1794

"Before the formation of this Constitution, it had been affirmed as a self evident truth, in the declaration of Independence, very deliberately made by the Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that, "all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." This declaration of Independence was received and ratified by all the States in the Union, and has never been disannulled. May we not from hence conclude, that the doctrine of Liberty and Equality is an article in the political creed of the United States." - Address to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 17, 1794

"It has been observed, that "education has a greater influence on manners, than human laws can have." Human laws excite fears and apprehensions, least crimes committed may be detected and punished: But a virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart, and to prevent crimes. A very judicious writer, has quoted Plato, who in shewing what care for the security of States ought to be taken of the education of youth, speaks of it as almost sufficient to supply the place both of Legislation and Administration. Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside shew, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity, universal benevolence, and a warm attachment and affection towards their country. It will excite in them a just regard to Divine Revelation, which informs them of the original character and dignity of Man; and it will inspire them with a sense of true honor, which consists in conforming as much as possible, their principles, habits, and manners to that original character. It will enlarge their powers of mind, and prompt them impartially to search for truth in the consideration of every subject that may employ their thoughts; and among other branches of knowledge, it will instruct them in the skill of political architecture and jurisprudence; and qualify them to discover any error, if there should be such, in the forms and administration of Governments, and point out the method of correcting them." - Address to Massachusetts Legislature as Governor, January 17, 1794

"If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of reasonable and wise laws, expressed in the plainest language, and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth, the feelings and habits of "piety, religion and morality," and to lead them to the knowledge and love of those truly Republican principles upon which our civil institutions are founded." - Address to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 16, 1795

"I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable Practice of our renowned ancestors, to appoint a day of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING to God, for the great benefits which HE has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the Year past. And I do by advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY the Nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE throughout this Commonwealth: Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel of all Denominations, with their respective Congregations to assemble on that Day to offer to God, their unfeigned Gratitude, for his great Goodness to the People of the United States in general, and of this Commonwealth in particular." - Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving, October 14, 1795

Read on for more great
Samuel Adams Quotes

"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. And the federal Constitution - according to the mode prescribed therein [Article V] - has already undergone such amendments in several parts of it as from experience has been judged necessary." - To the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 19, 1796

"As Piety, Religion and Morality have a happy influence on the minds of men, in their public as well as private transactions, you will not think it unseasonable, although I have frequently done it, to bring to your remembrance the great importance of encouraging our University, town schools, and other seminaries of education, that our children and youth while they are engaged in the pursuit of useful science, may have their minds impressed with a strong sense of the duties they owe to their God, their instructors and each other, so that when they arrive to a state of manhood, and take a part in any public transactions, their hearts having been deeply impressed in the course of their education with the moral feelings - such feelings may continue and have their due weight through the whole of their future lives." - Address to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 30, 1797

"And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken into pieces, and the oppressed made free: that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all the people willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is the Prince of Peace." - Day of Fasting Proclamation as Governor, March 20, 1797

"When I heard, that you had turned your mind to a defence of infidelity, I felt myself much astonished, and more grieved, that you had attempted a measure so injurious to the feelings, and so repugnant to the true interest of so great a part of the citizens of the United Stares. The people of New-England, if you will allow me to use a Scripture phrase, are fast returning to their first love. will you excite among them the spirit of angry controversy, at a time, when they are hastening to unity and peace? I am told that some of our news-papers have announced your intention to publish an additional pamphlet upon the principles of your Age of Reason. Do you think, that your pen, or the pen of any other man can unchristianize the mass of our citizens, or have you hopes of converting a few of them to assist you in so bad a cause?" - Letter to Thomas Paine, rebuking his "The Age of Reason," November 30, 1802

"I... recommend my Soul to that Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins." - Last Will and Testament, October 2, 1803

"Principally and first of all, I recommend my soul to that Almighty Being who gave it and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins." - Last Will and Testament, October 2, 1803

StarIf you liked our Samuel Adams Quotes, you can learn more about Samuel Adams at our Samuel Adams Facts page.

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