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John Adams

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  • Fear is the foundation of most governments.

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  • Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.

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  • I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman.

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  • 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.

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  • Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

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  • Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.

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  • In politics the middle way is none at all.

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  • Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self-defense.

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  • If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

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  • 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.

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  • There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

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  • The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries.

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

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  • Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.

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  • There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.

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  • 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.

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  • Genius is sorrow's child.

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  • 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.

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  • The happiness of society is the end of government.

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  • Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.

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  • Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.

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  • A government of laws, and not of men.

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  • 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.

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

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  • Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

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  • Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.

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  • Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.

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  • 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.

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  • My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.

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  • I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

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