Sunday, July 6, 2014

From "notes for an oration at Braintree"


This 4th of July weekend, it seems apropos to quote from one of our founding fathers, John Adams.  These thoughts on government are taken from pages of his journal, notes he made for an oration which he never gave.

Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people.... There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all others, by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors, in the human hive.  no man has yet produced any revelation form heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men.  Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike...

The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people.  As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved....

Ambition is on of the more ungovernable passions of the human heart.  The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable....

There is danger from all men.  The only maxim of free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

John Adams, David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, 2001, pp. 69-70