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Quotations by John Adams
John AdamsCherish the means of knowledge - Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

There is danger from all men - 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.

As to the history of the revolution - As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. 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.

Posterity! The cost of freedom - 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.

Innocence be protected - It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

The longer I live, the more I read - 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. This is enough.

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

A pen is certainly an excellent instrument - A pen is certainly an excellent instrument to fix a man's attention and to inflame his ambition.

The most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge - Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . .and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

My political creed - The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor.