"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society."
by:
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source:
Novanglus Letters, 1774
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Reader comments about this quote:
WOW! ! ! Today's Amerika on steroids.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Wow is right. Seventy years or so after the birth of the nation, the radical federalist take control at the point of a gun ! 150 years later, like looking into a crystal ball the Quote by John Adams has come to fruition. " The encroachment upon the American Constitution creates pensioners and the pensioners urge for more revenue " Deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers are like cancer !!
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Maybe in describing the ugly non-compassionate ways of every animal I can think of, Founding Father John has hit on a true note: we need to concentrate .. and even more .. act on .. the statement ( Biblical, I believe ) that mankind is created to be above the animals. THINK on it: name an animal that's not "described to a t" by his multi-faceted description of what happens to man (and mankind) if he doesn't "nip the shoots of arbitrary power."
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
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    Man, Adams couldn't be more right on. Note the date is prior to the American Revolution -- his experience is of the English government. Obviously the corruptions are full blown now in the USA. Something has got to give, or else...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    This excellent quote from John Adams is absolutely succinct to the present day.
     -- Mary - MI     
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     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester      
    Ouŗ nation's utterly classless, ineffably contemptible, contemporary political class possess, at most, a ten thousandth the inspiŗation, insight, illumination, integrity, intellect, ingenuity and imagination of our illustrious, noblemen of nature Founders.

    So much for the Theory of Evolution.
     -- Charles, Ludlow     
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