48 John Quincy Adams Quotes on Voting, Leadership & Democracy

These John Quincy Adams quotes are full of courage and perseverance.

John Quincy Adams was not just any president; he was the sixth one to lead the USA, rocking the presidential seat from 1825 to 1829. Imagine being born into the Adams family in 1767, where your dad, John Adams, is going to be the second president.

That’s right, John Quincy was born into the thick of American politics in Braintree, Massachusetts. But he wasn’t just a president’s son; he turned into a globe-trotting diplomat before stepping into the Oval Office.

This guy was America’s voice in the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain, playing a key part in ending the War of 1812 with the Treaty of Ghent and helping to draft the Monroe Doctrine, which was pretty much the US saying, “This is our turf” to the rest of the world.

But here’s the thing: being president is just one piece of his massive puzzle. Adams was a major voice against slavery and a champion for free speech and education long after his presidency, earning him the cool nickname “Old Man Eloquent” while he served in the House of Representatives.

Diving into John Quincy Adams’s quotes is like unearthing treasures of early American thought. The guy’s wisdom on leadership, freedom, and education isn’t just historical blabber; it’s super relevant today.

He showed us that sticking to your guns, even when you’re not the crowd favorite, and dedicating yourself to the greater good is what true leadership looks like.

So, why should we care about what he had to say? Because his life was a masterclass in standing up for what you believe in, no matter the odds. Plus, he makes learning about the nitty-gritty of American history kind of awesome.

John Quincy Adams Quotes for Timeless Wisdom and Inspiration

1. “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams

2. “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

3. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

4. “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

5. “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” – John Quincy Adams

6. “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

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7. “From the experience of the past we derive instructive lessons for the future.” – John Quincy Adams

8. “The firmest security of peace is the preparation during peace of the defenses of war.” – John Quincy Adams

9. “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

10. “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

11. “In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow men, not knowing what they do.” – John Quincy Adams

12. “However tiresome to others, the most indefatigable orator is never tedious to himself. The sound of his own voice never loses its harmony to his own ear; and among the delusions, which self-love is ever assiduous in attempting to pass upon virtue, he fancies himself to be sounding the sweetest tones.” – John Quincy Adams

13. “I can never join with my voice in the toast which I see in the papers attributed to one of our gallant naval heroes. I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where she should be in the wrong. Fiat justitia, pereat coelum. My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.” – John Quincy Adams

14. “There is one principle which pervades all the institutions of this country, and which must always operate as an obstacle to the granting of favors to new comers. This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights.” – John Quincy Adams

15. “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.” – John Quincy Adams

16. “You won’t realize the distance you’ve walked until you take a look around and realize how far you’ve been.” – John Quincy Adams

17. “All rising to great place is by a winding stair.” – John Quincy Adams

18. “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

19. “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

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Discover the Impactful Quotes of John Quincy Adams

20. “I am a man of reserved, cold, austere and forbidding manners, my political adversaries say, a gloomy misanthropist, and my personal enemies, an unsocial savage.” – John Quincy Adams

21. “Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.” – John Quincy Adams

22. “This is the last of earth! I am content.” – John Quincy Adams

23. “Let us not be unmindful that liberty is power, that the nation blessed with the largest portion of liberty must in proportion to its numbers be the most powerful nation upon earth. 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. Always vote for a principle, though you vote alone, and you may cherish the sweet reflection that your vote is never lost. America, in the assembly of nations, has uniformly spoken among them the language of equal liberty, equal justice, and equal rights.” – John Quincy Adams

24. “I inhabit a week, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms, and, from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair.” – John Quincy Adams

25. “Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity!” – John Quincy Adams

26. “This hand, to tyrants ever sworn the foe, For Freedom only deals the deadly blow; Then sheathes in calm repose the vengeful blade, For gentle peace in Freedom’s hallowed shade.” – John Quincy Adams

27. “There are two types of education… One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.” – John Quincy Adams

28. “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” – John Quincy Adams

29. “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” – John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams Quotes on Leadership, Liberty, and Life

30. “Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.” – John Quincy Adams

31. “But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.” – John Quincy Adams

32. “May our country be always successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.” – John Quincy Adams

33. “Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.” – John Quincy Adams

34. “Law logic — an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else.” – John Quincy Adams

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35. “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

36. “The attainment of knowledge is the high and exclusive attribute of man, among the numberless myriads of animated beings, inhabitants of the terrestrial globe. On him alone is bestowed, by the bounty of the Creator of the universe, the power and the capacity of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge is the attribute of his nature which at once enables him to improve his condition upon earth, and to prepare him for the enjoyment of a happier existence hereafter.” – John Quincy Adams

37. “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

38. “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” – John Quincy Adams

39. “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” – John Quincy Adams

40. “Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish them in working order.” – John Quincy Adams

41. “You willl 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

42. “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country: One is by sword and one is by debt.” – John Quincy Adams

43. “You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.” – John Quincy Adams

44. “One third supported the Revolution, one third opposed it, and one third had no opinion.” – John Quincy Adams

45. “Duty is ours; results are God’s.” – John Quincy Adams

46. “Where annual elections end where slavery begins.” – John Quincy Adams

47. “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

48. “A politician in this country must be the man of a party. I would fain be the man of my whole country.” – John Quincy Adams

What is your favorite John Quincy Adams quote?

Wrapping up, John Quincy Adams was more than a historical figure; he was a wisdom-dropping powerhouse. His quotes aren’t just words; they’re life lessons. Dive into them, and you’ll get a crash course in integrity, courage, and sticking to your principles. So, let’s keep his legacy alive by living his words!

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  1. Rev. Stephen Cakouros .

    August 20, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    Favorite quote of John Quincy Adams,

    “Whenever vanity and gaiety, a love of pomp and dress, furniture, equipage, buildings, great company, expensive diversions, and elegant entertainments get the better of the principles and judgments of men and women, there is no knowing where they will stop, nor into what evils, natural, moral, or political, they will lead us.”

    I sent this quote to Trump because he vetoed the Congress when it tried to stop the sail of weapons to the Saudis who have taken a bone saw to Yemen, where ninety thousand have died and fourteen million are facing starvation.

    Rev. Stephen A. Cakouros

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