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John Adams
1735 - 1826

Second president of the United States (1797-1801), signator of the Declaration of Independence

All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue.

1776 - from Thoughts on Government
Liberty can not be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.

There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America rise ... from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

1787 - from a letter to Thomas Jefferson
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 was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Oct. 11, 1798 - from an address to the military, quoted in The Works of John Adams
[The U.S. Congress] Oh! the wisdom, the foresight and the hindsight and the rightsight and the leftsight, the northsight and the southsight, and the eastsight and the westsight that appeared in that august assembly.

Public virtue cannot exist without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.

Apr. 16, 1776 - from a letter to Mercey Warren
Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.

Sep. 5, 1763 - from a letter published in the Boston Gazette
Unbridled passions produce the same effects, whether in a king, nobility, or a mob. The experience of all mankind has proved the prevalence of a disposition to use power wantonly. It is therefore as necessary to defend an individual against the majority (in a democracy) as against the king in a monarchy.

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

1774 - from a Proclamation adopted by the Council of Massachusetts Bay