John Adams (1735 – 1826)
Served eight years as Vice President under George Washington, second President of the United States, member of the Continental Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow man; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
In is diary entry dated February 22, 1756
“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”
In his notes for A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
Wrote to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776
“Religion and virtue are the only foundations…of republicanism and all free governments.”
Wrote to Benjamin Rush, August 28, 1811
“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people…So great is my veneration of the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens in their country and respectful members of society.”
“Statesman, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.
The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
Wrote in June of 1776
"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 was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
In letter addressing the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia, October 11, 1798
“If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, and that a free country.”
“Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence forever!”
In a speech before the Continental Congress to the delegates from the Thirteen Colonies on July 1, 1776
“I have thought proper to recommend, and I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and to devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private;
that they call in mind our numerous offenses against the most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to his righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice to Himself and so ruinous to mankind;
that He would make us deeply sensible that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.’”
He wrote on March 6, 1799 while calling for a National Fast Day
“I pray Heaven to bestow The Best OF BLESSINGS ON THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter Inhabit it, May none but Honest and wise Men ever rule under this Roof.”
In writing to his wife, he composed this prayer that was later engraved upon the mantel in the state dining room. Adams was the first president to move into the White House in November of the year 1800.
“Thank God Jefferson lives!”
Said to be the last words of John Adams, when he received word that Thomas Jefferson was still alive. Jefferson and Adams became the best of friends in their later years. Both men were sick, and both died on the same day of July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after Congress approved the Declaration of Independence in which they both signed.