While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill — little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.
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.
Power always thinks that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.
Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.
The happiness of society is the end of government.
The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.
A government of laws, and not of men.
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.
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it.
I, poor creature, worn out with scribbling for my bread and my liberty, low in spirits and weak in health, must leave others to wear the laurels which I have sown, others to eat the bread which I have earned. A common case.
John Adams — quotes and aphorisms
When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
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.
The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.
Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.
Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.