Quotes by John Adams


Fear is the foundation of most governments.
– John Adams
A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.
– John Adams
Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
– John Adams
All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.
– John Adams
Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self-defense.
– John Adams
As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.
– John Adams
Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
– John Adams
Genius is sorrow's child.
– John Adams
Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
– John Adams
Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear and imagination - everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.
– John Adams
I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.
– John Adams
I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.
– John Adams
I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.
– John Adams
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
– John Adams
If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?
– John Adams
In politics the middle way is none at all.
– John Adams
Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.
– John Adams
My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
– John Adams
Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
– John Adams
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.
– John Adams