John Quincy Adams Quotes

John Quincy Adams, 1767 – 1848

Born: 11 July 1767, Braintree, Massachusetts
Died: 23 February 1848, Washington City

The young Adams accompanied his father John Adams who served as representative from the US to France and the Netherlands, getting some of his education abroad and then graduating from Harvard in 1787. He briefly practiced law at Boston, but was then named ambassador to the Netherlands, Portugal, and Prussia before gaining a seat in the Senate in 1803. He returned to foreign service in Russia and England after one term, then became Secretary of State under James Monroe. In the presidential election of 1824 he came in second in a four-way race which was settled in the House, which elected him over front-runner Andrew Jackson, making him the first son of a president to become president himself. The deal that gave him the office came back to cost him reelection, but he was promptly elected to a House seat and served from 1831 to his death, the only former president to serve in the house. He suffered a stroke on the floor of the House and died in the Speaker’s Room.

John Quincy Adams quotes:

All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.
    John Quincy Adams – letter to William Eustis (22 June 1809)

All the public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and there is great danger that the whole government will degenerate into a struggle of cabals.
    John Quincy Adams

All the public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and there is great danger that the whole government will degenerate into a struggle of cabals.
    John Quincy Adams – journal entry (January 1819)

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
    John Quincy Adams

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.
    John Quincy Adams

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
    John Quincy Adams

America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet on her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…. Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind.
    John Quincy Adams – address as Secretary of State to the House of Representatives (4 July 1821)

America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government.
    John Quincy Adams – address as Secretary of State to the House of Representatives (4 July 1821)

Among the sentiments of most powerful operation upon the human heart, and most highly honorable to the human character, are those of veneration for our forefathers, and of love for our posterity. They form the connecting links between the selfish and the social passions.
    John Quincy Adams – oration at Plymouth (22 December 1802)

And may He who searches the hearts of the children of men prosper your exertions to secure the blessings of peace and promote the highest welfare of your country.
    John Quincy Adams

Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom.
    John Quincy Adams

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.
    John Quincy Adams – oration at Plymouth (22 December 1802)

Death fixes forever the relation existing between the departed spirit and the survivors upon earth.
    John Quincy Adams – journal entry (24 July 1831)

Duty is ours; results are God’s.
    John Quincy Adams

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
    John Quincy Adams

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