It is agreed that “the end of all government is the good and ease of the people, in a secure enjoyment of their rights without oppression;” but it must be remembered tha the rich are people as well as the poor; that they have rights as well as others; that they have as clear and as sacred a right to their large property as others have to theirs which is smaller; that oppression of them is as possible and as wicked as to others.
Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.
My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
~ in a letter written to his wife while serving as Vice-President, 1789
The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.
~ in a letter to F.A. Vanderkemp, July 13, 1815
You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.
~ instructions to his son Johnny quoted in the biography “John Adams” by David McCullough (p. 19)
Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
~ in a letter April 15, 1814
No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.
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.
Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
Genius is sorrow’s child.
Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.
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.
That Washington was not a scholars is certain. That he was too illiterate, unlearned, unread for his station and reputation is equally past dispute.
Facts are stubborn things.