The Best John Adams Quotes

John Adams was a US Founding Father who is most well-known for being the second President of the United States. In order to understand what life was like in those early days, it’s necessary to look at some of his quotes from books and articles he wrote.

The “john adams quote you will never know” is a famous quote that is often attributed to John Adams. The quote can be found in many different forms, but the most popular version goes like this: “You will never know how much it has cost my generation to pass these laws, until one day you find yourself old and gray and looking back upon a life well-spent.”

While names like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington spring to mind when we think of America’s revolutionary era and foundation, John Adams was the most outspoken supporter of the cause of independence. Nobody spoke up more vehemently for the cause of liberty. As a result, he was appointed to a five-man committee to draft a Declaration of Independence, and he became its most fervent supporter.

As the country’s second president, Adams maintained his independence. He refused to take bribes of any kind, refused to participate in the political system of patronage and favors, and despised the forming “parties.” While such qualities didn’t help Adams win a second term, they did help him establish his position in American history as a leader known for his honesty and integrity. He had no qualms about speaking out and expressing himself.

Adams’ use of language left an indelible effect on the creation of this nation, not just in the manner he formed it, but also in the words he said. Adams was a prolific speaker and letter writer who never minced words throughout his long life, which expired on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This work has left us with a wealth of knowledge on topics ranging from the cause of independence to friendship, reading, and much more.

We’ve compiled a list of hundreds of Adams’ most witty and wise quotations for your amusement and education.

“Public business must always be done by someone, my son.” It will be completed by someone or something. Others will not accept it if smart folks deny it; if honest men resist it, others will not accept it.”


“Let thrift and hard work be our virtues. “Inspire (our children) to want to be helpful.”

In a letter to Abigail, he says:, he says:

“The world’s loudest applauses are of little consequence if conscience disapproves.”


“Once liberty is gone, it is lost forever.”


“I read my eyeballs out and yet can’t read half as much.” The more one reads, the more one realizes how much more reading there is to be done.”


“I am concerned that members of every political position would be influenced by noise rather than reason.” Not by grandeur, but by meanness. Not learning is caused by ignorance. Not by great spirits, but by little hearts… Respect and civility are required.”


“Unbridled human passions…would rip the strongest chords of our Constitution like a whale through a net.”


“Continue to develop in all that is worthwhile.”

In a letter to a grandchild, he writes:

“The longer I live, the more I study, the more patiently I consider, and the more eagerly I question, the less I seem to know.” Do what is right. Mercy is a virtue. Walking modestly is the way to go. “Enough is enough.”

In a letter to a grandchild, he writes:

“I think defeat is better than absolute inactivity.”


“Because power corrupts, society’s expectations for moral authority and character grow as the position’s prominence grows.”


“I’m going to awaken my thoughts and focus my concentration.” I’m going to take a deep breath and reflect on what I’ve read and seen. “I shall endeavor with all my might to be greater than others who have had less privileges than me.”

As a young twentysomething, he kept a diary.

“Our shyness has been the main root of our pain.” We’ve always been terrified to consider… Let us take the risk of reading, thinking, speaking, and writing.”


“Our Maker’s language in the composition of our bodies is move or die.”

In a letter to his son Charles, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the state

“The midnight light emits an unwholesome odor. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever

In a letter to his son John Quincy Adams, he wrote: Adams, he wrote:

“Friendship is one of man’s defining glories… I anticipate the major satisfaction of my future life to come from this.”


“I want to see my books first and foremost, apart from my wife and children.”

While on the road as a lawyer and away from home for a long time

“You will always remember that the goal of your education is to turn you into a decent man and a valuable citizen. This will always be the entire amount of your loving father’s advise.”

In a letter to his son John Quincy

“All we have to do is be kind and do good,” says the narrator.


“Facts are stubborn things, and no amount of our wants, inclinations, or passion-driven demands can change the status of facts and evidence.”


“Value isn’t always pleasant.”


“Our responsibilities to our nation do not end with our deaths. We should do all we can.”


“The prospect presently before us in America ought… to engage the attention of every man of understanding to concerns of power and truth, should we be led or pushed blinded to irreversible destruction.”


“Posterity! You’ll never know how much the current generation paid to preserve your freedom! I hope you will put it to good use. If you don’t, I’ll be sorry in Heaven for ever taking half the pains to keep it.”


“Liberty cannot be protected until the entire public is aware of it.”


“With a poet in your pocket, you’ll never be alone.”


“Old brains are like old horses; they need to be exercised to stay in functioning condition.”


“In this world, no one is completely devoid of flaws and imperfections.”


“Liberty must be defended at any costs.” We have a claim to it as a result of our Creator’s creation. But if we hadn’t, our fathers would have earned and purchased everything for us at the cost of their comfort, estates, pleasure, and blood.”


“I chat with sages and heroes a lot, but they don’t have much of my affection or admiration.” I’d rather have the pleasures of a garden than the might of a world.”


“The sole basis of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be instilled in our people in larger numbers than they already possess, they may change rulers and types of government, but they will not achieve enduring liberty.” Only tyrants and tyrannies will be exchanged.”


“I must study politics and war in order for our boys to be free to study math and philosophy.” To provide their children the right to study art, poetry, music, architecture, statues, tapestry, and porcelain, our boys should study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture.”


“What do we mean when we talk about revolution?” What about the conflict? That was not a part of the revolution; rather, it was a result of it. “The revolution was in the people’s thoughts.”


“The main tool of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and societal division has been the abuse of words.”


“It is foolishness to suppose that all men are honest. There’s nothing worse than believing there aren’t any.”


“A good and intelligent people cannot be subjected to tyranny.”


“Human nature, despite its flaws and depravity, is capable of tremendous things.” Therefore, it is your and my responsibility to elevate our children’s minds and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to instill in them a habitual contempt for meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and a desire to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. Their bodies, however, must be toughened in addition to their spirits becoming elevated. The highest mental excellencies will be shaded and hidden without physical strength, activity, and vitality.”

In a letter to Abigail

“I’m inclined to assume that (Independence Day) will be remembered as the big anniversary event by future generations. It should be remembered as the day of liberation, with solemn actions of worship to the Almighty God. From this time on, it should be solemnized with pomp and parade, with displays, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”


Additional Resources:


  • The Founding Fathers’ Motivational Posters
  • Recommended Reading by Thomas Jefferson
  • George Washington’s Self-Education: A Podcast
  • The Civility and Decent Behavior Rules of George Washington
  • The Best Citizenship Quotes from Theodore Roosevelt



“John Adams quote I study war” is a phrase that has been said by John Adams. It’s one of many quotes that he has made. Reference: john adams quote i study war.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was John Adams motto?

A: John Adams, the second President of the United States, had his motto Duty Easy Virtue Difficult.

What is the best thing John Adams did?


What did John Adams say about power?

A: John Adams said Power is of two kinds, natural and political. It is natural when it proceeds from the people in their original state. It is also natural when established by custom to remain with them… But power can be taken away or restored only by force.

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