78+ Most Famous John Adams Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John Adams Jr. was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father. He became the first vice president of the United States and the second president. Thought provoking John Adams quotes will inspire you to think about life, love and leadership, American Revolution and Declaration of Independence.

If you’re searching for famous presidential quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Alexander Hamilton quotes, wise Andrew Jackson quotes, and powerful Thomas Jefferson quotes.

The Best John Adams Quotes

Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody. It will be done by somebody or other. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not. – John Adams

Let frugality and industry be our virtues. Fire (our children) with ambition to be useful. – John Adams

Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. – John Adams

One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three is a Congress. – John Adams

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – 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

There is nothing I dread so much as the division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution. – 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

Always stand on principle even if you stand alone. – John Adams

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. – 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

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt. – John Adams

The date will be the most memorable epoch 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 more. – John Adams

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. – John Adams

Those who trade liberty for security have neither. – John Adams

When economic power became concentrated in a few hands, then political power flowed to those possessors and away from the citizens, ultimately resulting in an oligarchy or tyranny. – John Adams

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. – John Adams

Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. – John Adams

As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] … it is declared … that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries…. The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation. – John Adams

The destiny of America is to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to all men everywhere. – John Adams

Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it. – John Adams

Be not intimidated… nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice. – John Adams

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society. – John Adams

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. – John Adams

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. – John Adams

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 mould 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. – John Adams

As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only foundation of it. – John Adams

It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives. – John Adams

The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly [with your God]. This is enough. – John Adams

The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. – John Adams

A government of laws, and not of men. – John Adams

Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives. – John Adams

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. – John Adams

Virtue is not always amiable. – John Adams

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

The world grows more enlightened. Knowledge is more equally diffused. – John Adams

You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket. – John Adams

Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi, believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak. – John Adams

There are two types of education… One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live. – John Adams

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. – John Adams

Power must never be trusted without a check. – John Adams

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact. – John Adams

To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do. – John Adams

We cannot insure success, but we can deserve it. – John Adams

Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty. – 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… that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws. – John Adams

We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption. – John Adams

Fear is the foundation of most governments. – John Adams

When legislature is corrupted, the people are undone. – John Adams

It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power. – John Adams

Ambition is one of the ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable. – John Adams

If conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value. – John Adams

I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough neither. The more one reads the more one sees we have to read. – John Adams

I fear that in every elected office, members will obtain an influence by noise not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls . . . There must be decency and respect. – John Adams

Human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. – John Adams

Go on and improve in everything worthy. – John Adams

Defeat appears to me preferable to total inaction. – John Adams

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases. – John Adams

I will rouse up my mind and fix my attention. I will stand collected within myself and think upon what I read and what I see. I will strive with all my soul to be something more than persons who have had less advantages than myself. – John Adams

The true source of our suffering has been our timidity. We have been afraid to think. . . . Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. – John Adams

Move or die is the language of our Maker in the constitution of our bodies. – John Adams

The smell of the midnight lamp is very unwholesome. Never defraud yourself of sleep, nor your walk. – John Adams

Friendship is one of the distinguishing glorys of man. . . . From this I expect to receive the chief happiness of my future life. – John Adams

Above all, except the wife and children, I want to see my books. – John Adams

While on circuit as a lawyer and away from his home for an extended period – John Adams

You will ever remember that all the end of study is to make you a good man and a useful citizen. This will ever be the sum total of the advice of your affectionate father. – John Adams

The prospect now before us in America ought . . . to engage the attention of every man of learning to matters of power and right, that we may be neither led nor driven blindfolded to irretrievable destruction. – John Adams

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it. – John Adams

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people. – John Adams

No man is entirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life. – John Adams

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. – John Adams

As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love or admiration. I should prefer the delights of a garden to the dominion of a world. – John Adams

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. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies. – John Adams

I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our 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. – John Adams

What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people. – John Adams

To believe all men honest is folly. To believe none is something worse. – John Adams

Tyranny can scarcely be practiced upon a virtuous and wise people. – John Adams

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