"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
(1767-1848) 6th US President
Letter to James Lloyd, 1 October 1822
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
Yes, but this can be abused - "most" is relative with regards to those they crush under the yoke individual liberty.
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 3
    Astute in the obvious unless of course one is an advocate for socialism, tyranny, etc. When any number of a community limits individual liberty, proportionately the power of the nation diminishes. The only yoke of individual liberty is personal responsibility.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 6
    Distributive power is indeed more powerful and less likely to be abused than centralized power. When power is seized and centralized, then the chances for abuse are great and terrifying. Indeed, a free nation will be and must be powerful -- and that means we will always have to defend it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
    Socialist and communist societies have very weak and feeble communities, and very strong tyrants. Some tyrants may rarely be benevolent, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. In the end, an individual can only trust his well being to himself, and then by extension to his family and neighbors. We have a very illustrative social experiment happening right before our eyes. Which nation is more powerful? North or South Korea?
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 6
     -- Anonymous      
    Amen! Those not understanding the meaning neither understands or enjoys the fruits of freedom nor the need to assure freedom for all people.
     -- Roy E. Adams, Hoover, AL     
  • 4
    This says so much. Any time I see a reference to liberty such as this, I am reminded of Pres. Reagan's farewell address: "'We the people' tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. 'We the people' are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which 'We the people' tell the government what it is allowed to do. 'We the people' are free."
     -- Peter J, Tulsa, Okla     
  • 5
    Absolutely! No wonder he was one of our Founding Fathers and helped write our constitution! And he was the first Vice President and the second President of the United States to boot!
     -- Tashina Osman, Alpine     
  • 4
    Good quote, but I disagree with him on the same things that Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him.
     -- cal, Lewisville, Texas     
  • 1
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