Title Image - Quotes by Author John Quincy Adams

Welcome to our collection of quotes by John Quincy Adams. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.

Wikipedia Summary for John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams ( (listen); July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States, from 1825 to 1829. He previously served as the eighth United States Secretary of State from 1817 to 1825. During his long diplomatic and political career, Adams also served as an ambassador, and as a member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives representing Massachusetts. He was the eldest son of John Adams, who served as the second U.S. president from 1797 to 1801, and First Lady Abigail Adams. Initially a Federalist like his father, he won election to the presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, and in the mid-1830s became affiliated with the Whig Party.

Born in Braintree, Massachusetts (now part of the town of Quincy), Adams spent much of his youth in Europe, where his father served as a diplomat. After returning to the United States, Adams established a successful legal practice in Boston. In 1794, President George Washington appointed Adams as the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, and Adams would serve in high-ranking diplomatic posts until 1801, when Thomas Jefferson took office as president. Federalist leaders in Massachusetts arranged for Adams's election to the United States Senate in 1802, but Adams broke with the Federalist Party over foreign policy and was denied re-election. In 1809, President James Madison, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, appointed Adams as the U.S. ambassador to Russia. Adams held diplomatic posts for the duration of Madison's presidency, and he served as part of the American delegation that negotiated an end to the War of 1812. In 1817, newly elected president James Monroe selected Adams as his Secretary of State. In that role, Adams negotiated the Adams–Onís Treaty, which provided for the American acquisition of Florida. He also helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine, which became a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy. In 1818, Adams was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay — all members of the Democratic-Republican Party — competed in the 1824 presidential election. Because no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives held a contingent election, which Adams won with the support of Clay. As president, Adams called for an ambitious agenda that included federally funded infrastructure projects, the establishment of a national university, and engagement with the countries of Latin America, but Congress refused to pass many of his initiatives. During Adams's presidency, the Democratic-Republican Party polarized into two major camps: the National Republican Party, which supported President Adams, and Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party. The Democrats proved to be more effective political organizers than Adams and his National Republican supporters, and Jackson trounced Adams in the 1828 presidential election, the second president (after his father) to fail to win re-election.

Rather than retiring from public service, Adams won election to the House of Representatives, where he would serve from 1831 to his death in 1848. He remains the only ex-president to be elected to the chamber. Narrowly failing attempts at election as Governor of Massachusetts and re-election to the Senate, Adams joined the Anti-Masonic Party in the early 1830s before becoming a member of the Whig Party, which united those opposed to President Jackson. During his time in Congress, Adams became increasingly critical of slavery and of the Southern leaders who he believed controlled the Democratic Party. He was particularly opposed to the annexation of Texas and the Mexican–American War, which he saw as a war to extend slavery and its political grip on Congress. He also led the repeal of the "gag rule", which had prevented the House of Representatives from debating petitions to abolish slavery. Historians concur that Adams was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history; they typically rank him as an average president, as he had an ambitious agenda but could not get it passed by Congress.

white bicycle parked beside wall

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

It is by a thorough knowledge of the whole subject that people are enabled to judge correctly of the past and to give a proper direction to the future.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I have to study politics and war so that my sons can study mathematics, commerce and agriculture, so their sons can study poetry, painting and music.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

My wants are many, and, if told,
Would muster many a score;
And were each wish a mint of gold,
I still would want for more.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Roll, years of promise, rapidly roll round, till not a slave shall on this earth be found.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this -- it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where she should be in the wrong.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I told him that I thought it was law logic -- an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in Courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The firmest security of peace is the preparation during peace of the defenses of war.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

This is the last of Earth! I am content.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Duty is ours, results are God's.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Death fixes forever the relation existing between the departed spirit and the survivors upon earth.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Our Constitution professedly rests upon the good sense and attachment of the people. This basis, weak as it may appear, has not yet been found to fail.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Find a mission that you can give yourself over to and then spend your days moving that mission forward. Man is made so that when anything fires his soul the impossibilities vanish. The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Whether to the nation or to the state, no service can be or ever will be rendered by a more able or a more faithful public servant.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is ... the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind. It prolongs life itself and enlarges the sphere of existence.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

We know the redemption must come.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Occasional war is one of the rigorous instruments in the hands of Providence to give tone to the character of nations.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

A man's diary is a record in youth of his sentiments, in middle age of his actions, in old age of his reflections.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The Bible carries with it the history of the creation, the fall and redemption of man, and discloses to him, in the infant born at Bethlehem, the Legislator and Savior of the world.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

There is nothing so deep and nothing so shallow which political enmity will not turn to account.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

It has been my custom for many years to read the Bible in its entirety once a year.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The gigantic intellect, the envious temper, the ravenous ambition and the rotten heart of Daniel Webster.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

My custom is to read four or five chapters of the Bible every morning immediately after rising. It seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The best guarantee against the abuse of power consists in the freedom, the purity, and the frequency of popular elections.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Not stones, nor wood, nor the art of artisans make a state; but where men are who know how to take care of themselves, these are cities and walls.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America's heart, her benedictions and her prayers.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God. It contains the history of the creation of the world, and of mankind.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

America is a friend of freedom everywhere, but a custodian only of our own.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The imagination of a eunuch dwells more and longer upon the material of love than that of man or woman ... supplying, so far as he can, by speculation, the place of pleasures he can no longer enjoy.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I want a warm and faithful friend, To cheer the adverse hour; Who ne'er to flatter will descend, Nor bend the knee to power,- A friend to chide me when I'm wrong, My inmost soul to see; And that my friendship prove as strong For him as his for me.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The freedom of the press should be inviolate.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Whoever tells the best story wins.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The will of the people is the source and the happiness of the people the end of all legitimate government upon earth.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The magistrate is the servant not of his own desires, not even of the people, but of his God.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

This mode of electioneering suited neither my taste nor my principles. I thought it equally unsuitable to my personal character and to the station in which I am placed.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Those who take oaths to politically powerful secret societies cannot be depended on for loyalty to a democratic republic.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

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

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The great problem of legislation is, so to organize the civil government of a community... that in the operation of human institutions upon social action, self-love and social may be made the same.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

A stout heart, a clear conscience, and never despair.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away... the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances His disciples in asserting that He was God.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

My stern chase after time is, to borrow a simile from Tom Paine, like the race of a man with a wooden leg after a horse.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

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.

--John Quincy Adams

Longer Version:

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. By the fundamental principle of Christianity, the happiness of the individual is Later-woven, by innumerable and imperceptible ties, with that of his contemporaries: by the power of filial reverence and parental affection, individual existence is extended beyond the limits of individual life, and the happiness of every age is chained in mutual dependence upon that of every other.



photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

We understand now, we've been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding that who we are is who we were.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I would much rather be found guilty of making a serious mistake in judgment, than to be accused of being even a little bit insincere.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

America... goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

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

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

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
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Individual liberty is individual power.

--John Quincy Adams

Longer Version:

Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I want the seals of power and place, the ensigns of command, charged by the people's unbought grace, to rule my native land. Nor crown, nor scepter would I ask but from my country's will, by day, by night, to ply the task her cup of bliss to fill.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

About one-half of the members of Congress are seekers for office at the nomination of the President. Of the remainder, at least one-half have some appointment or favor to ask for their relatives.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Man wants but little here below Nor wants that little long, 'Tis not with me exactly so; But 'tis so in the song. My wants are many, and, if told, Would muster many a score; And were each wish a mint of gold, I still should long for more.

--John Quincy Adams

photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Religion, charity, pure benevolence, and morals, mingled up with superstitious rites and ferocious cruelty, form in their combination institutions the most powerful and the most pernicious that have ever afflicted mankind.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

The Constitution had provided that all the public functionaries of the Union...should be under oath or affirmation for its support. The homage of religious faith was thus superadded to all the obligations of temporal law to give it strength.

--John Quincy Adams


photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Life is a problem; mortal man was made to solve the solemn problem right or wrong.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

Be a great speaker, become a leader.

--John Quincy Adams
photo of author John Quincy Adams with quote

I appear, my fellow-citizens, in your presence and in that of Heaven to bind myself by the solemnities of religious obligation to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me in the station to which I have been called.

--John Quincy Adams




We wish you a perfect day!