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John Adams

Date de naissance: 30. octobre 1735
Date de décès: 4. juillet 1826

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John Adams, né le 30 octobre 1735 et mort le 4 juillet 1826 à Quincy , est un homme d'État américain, premier vice-président des États-Unis entre 1789 et 1797, puis deuxième président de l'Union entre 1797 et 1801. Il est considéré comme l'un des Pères fondateurs des États-Unis.

John Adams joue un rôle important dans la révolution américaine d’abord dans le Massachusetts, sa région d'origine, puis comme représentant du Congrès continental en Europe. Il obtient notamment des fonds de la part des marchés monétaires d’Amsterdam afin de financer les dépenses liées à la guerre d'Indépendance américaine. Il est l’un des principaux artisans de la paix avec le Royaume-Uni. Son prestige lui permet d’être élu vice-président au côté de George Washington à deux reprises, puis de devenir président de la jeune nation. Durant son mandat présidentiel, il doit faire face aux oppositions qui agitaient sa famille politique, le Parti fédéraliste, en particulier de la part d’une faction menée par Alexander Hamilton. Il tente de rendre la fonction de président apolitique, mais se trouve confronté aux critiques des deux partis politiques de l'époque. Il essaie de sauvegarder la neutralité des États-Unis dans les conflits entre les puissances européennes pendant la crise de la quasi-guerre . John Adams est le premier président ayant résidé à la Maison-Blanche, achevée en 1800 à Washington.

Battu par Thomas Jefferson à l'élection présidentielle américaine de 1800 alors qu'il se présentait pour un deuxième mandat, il prend sa retraite auprès de son épouse dans son État natal. La correspondance qu'il a entretenue avec elle pendant sa présidence montre qu'il était en même temps l'ami et le rival de Thomas Jefferson. John Adams est à l’origine d’une importante lignée d’hommes politiques, d’historiens et de diplomates. L’historiographie récente a tenté de réhabiliter son bilan politique.

Citations John Adams

„I am therefore utterly averse to the admission of Slavery into the Missouri Territory,“

— John Adams
Context: I Shall not pause to consider whether my Opinion will be popular or unpopular with the Slave Holders, or Slave Traders, in the Northern the Middle, the Southern, or the Western, States—I respect all those who are necessarily subjected to this Evil.—But Negro Slavery is an evil of Colossal Magnitude. … I am therefore utterly averse to the admission of Slavery into the Missouri Territory, and heartily wish that every Constitutional measure may be adopted for the preservation of it. [http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-7261 Letter] to William Tudor, Jr., 20 November 1819. Partially quoted in Founding Brothers : The Revolutionary Generation (2000) by Joseph J. Ellis, p. 240

„The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.“

— John Adams
Context: The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shall not covet," and "Thou shall not steal," are not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free. [http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/v1ch16s15.html Ch. 1 Marchamont Nedham : The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth Examined] <!-- The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States vol. VI (1851) p. 9 -->

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„The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings.“

— John Adams
Context: I am surprised at the suddenness as well as the greatness of this revolution... It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe. Letter to Abigail Adams (3 July 1776)

„Statesmen, 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.“

— John Adams
Context: Statesmen, 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. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies. [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(dg004210)) Letter] to Zabdiel Adams (21 June 1776)

„With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.“

— John Adams
Context: I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. Letter to Thomas Jefferson (3 September 1816), published in [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0807842303&id=SzSWYPOz6M8C&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&ots=kTAZL3ImRq&dq=%22Adams-Jefferson+letters%22&sig=tVGzBe0XVhXaF2p0FQLGy4GK6bk#PRA2-PR17,M1 Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams] (UNC Press, 1988), p. 488

„What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760–1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.“

— John Adams
Context: As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760–1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington. Letter to Thomas Jefferson (24 August 1815), The Works of John Adams; he later expressed similar sentiments in a letter to Hezekiah Niles (13 February 1818)

„Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.“

— John Adams
Context: Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell. [http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/vc006646.jpg Original manuscript at The Library of Congress Letter] to Thomas Jefferson (19 April 1817). The italicized section within this statement has often been quoted out of context. Earlier in the letter Adams explained "Lemuel Bryant was my Parish Priest; and Joseph Cleverly my Latin School Master. Lemuel was a jolly jocular and liberal schollar and Divine. Joseph a Schollar and a Gentleman; but a biggoted episcopalian... The Parson and the Pedagogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about Government and Religion".

„There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off.“

— John Adams
Context: There is something very unnatural and odious in a government a thousand leagues off. A whole government of our own choice, managed by persons whom we love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which men will fight. Letter to Abigail Adams (17 May 1776)

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„Objects of the most Stupendous Magnitude, Measures in which the Lives and Liberties of Millions, born and unborn are most essentially interested, are now before Us. We are in the very midst of a Revolution, the most compleat, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the History of Nations“

— John Adams
Context: Objects of the most Stupendous Magnitude, Measures in which the Lives and Liberties of Millions, born and unborn are most essentially interested, are now before Us. We are in the very midst of a Revolution, the most compleat, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the History of Nations. A few Matters must be dispatched before I can return. Every Colony must be induced to institute a perfect Government. All the Colonies must confederate together, in some solemn Compact. The Colonies must be declared free and independent states, and Embassadors, must be Sent abroad to foreign Courts, to solicit their Acknowledgment of Us, as Sovereign States, and to form with them, at least with some of them commercial Treaties of Friendship and Alliance. When these Things shall be once well finished, or in a Way of being so, I shall think that I have answered the End of my Creation, and sing with Pleasure my Nunc Dimittes, or if it should be the Will of Heaven that I should live a little longer, return to my Farm and Family, ride Circuits, plead Law, or judge Causes, just as you please. [http://www.masshist.org/publications/apde2/view?id=ADMS-06-04-02-0109 Letter to William Cushing] (9 June 1776).

„No man is entirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life.“

— John Adams
Context: No man is entirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life. Men of the most exalted genius and active minds are generally most perfect slaves to the love of fame. They sometimes descend to as mean tricks and artifices in pursuit of honor or reputation as the miser descends to in pursuit of gold. (19 February 1756)

„Thomas — Jefferson — still surv —“

— John Adams
Context: Thomas — Jefferson — still surv Last words (4 July 1826) as quoted in The Oxford History of the American People (1965) by Samuel Eliot Morison, p. 420; this is often rendered as a full statement, "Thomas Jefferson still survives." Thomas Jefferson died a few hours earlier on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the congressional approval of The Declaration of Independence.

„I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence“

— John Adams
Context: I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence, that I have never owned a negro or any other slave, though I have lived for many years in times, when the practice was not disgraceful, when the best men in my vicinity thought it not inconsistent with their character, and when it has cost me thousands of dollars for the labor and subsistence of free men, which I might have saved by the purchase of negroes at times when they were very cheap.

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„Slavery in this Country I have seen hanging over it like a black cloud for half a century“

— John Adams
Context: Slavery in this Country I have seen hanging over it like a black cloud for half a century… 1821, as quoted in [https://web.archive.org/web/20111029143754/http://home.nas.com/lopresti/ps2.htm Passionate Sage] (1993), Joseph J. Ellis, Norton, New York, p. 138

„I am surprised at the suddenness as well as the greatness of this revolution... It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever.“

— John Adams
Context: I am surprised at the suddenness as well as the greatness of this revolution... It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great. But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe. Letter to Abigail Adams (3 July 1776)

„The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.“

— John Adams
Context: We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power … All projects of government, formed upon a supposition of continual vigilance, sagacity, and virtue, firmness of the people, when possessed of the exercise of supreme power, are cheats and delusions … The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical. Letter to Thomas Jefferson (13 November 1815)

„The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.“

— John Adams
Context: The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain. Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)

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