"A general dissolution
of the principles and manners
will more surely overthrow the liberties of America
than the whole force of the common enemy...
While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued;
but once they lose their virtue,
they will be ready to surrender their liberties
to the first external or internal invader...
If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people,
they will never be enslaved.
This will be their great security."
Samuel Adams
(1722-1803), was known as the "Father of the American Revolution."
The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed., Harry Alonzo Cushing (G. P. Putman's Sons, 1908), Vol. 4, p. 124.
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Reader comments about this quote:
How true, the old divide and conquer rule.
 -- IsMy Business, Sweet Home     
    It is full of wisdom.
     -- Casey, Boston     
    It is a wisdom-filled, courage-filled wonderful, accomplished quote. It has a great meaning. :-)
     -- MissCutie303, Los Angeles     
    This is why Christianity has value in THIS WORLD and not only eternal distiny of individuals.
     -- Elliott, Dallas     
    We are seeing the dissolution happening as we speak and our liberty is ebbing away at an equal pace. How can we reverse this "newspeak", That has reshaped morality, principles, virtue and, yes, even religion?
     -- Lou, Omaha     
    It was good but then again it wasn't the best. It could of been better..
     -- Dillon, Miamisburg     
    If you don't think history is repeating itself, take a look at what is going on today and with that in mind read the Declaration of Independence. http://www.foundingfathers.info/documents/decindep.html Then, when you see the comparisons...ask yourself why the hell everybody isn't outraged at our situation.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    When we trust the government to educate us, we get the kind of population we have today -- ignorant and dependent. An ignorant and dependent populace will demand from government more government -- they would rather be wards of the state with easy credit and 500 channels of mind-numbing crap than to take responsibility for the defense of their liberties (i.e. responsibilities). America is doomed unless we get smart real quick. The Founders must be rolling in their graves.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Crap, I only have 380 channels.
     -- warren, olathe     
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    So how do we diffuse this knowledge and virtue among the people; what kind of an environment can be created and maintained that allows knowledge and virtue to thrive in a society that seems preoccupied with promoting stupidity, and attracting us to hardcore, vulgar, crass, and shocking behaviors that leave us blind, numb and void of any zeal for life or each other. The school's themes of virtue written on the school walls didn't do a thing to help my teenager's hope for a good, decent future in this world. His hopes, dreams and zeal for life get squashed out daily with low standardized curriculums, unionized teachers who don't care to teach, and academic coaches who don't care to coach, and principals and superintendents who just look the other way when part of the herd tries to actually hold them accountable for their education, telling them that's the way life is and stop expecting anything different. We have students telling parents how to behave and teachers behaving like adolescents. Perversity and greed are running rapid! Sorry for the negativity, but when they start zapping the zeal of our brightest young minds, it really gets me aggravated and it's happening in our schools under the pretense of just the opposite.
     -- Paula, Grand Rapids, MI     
    The attacks in some of the above posts are attacks upon are freedoms to have pop culture, to have 1000 channels etcetera. Folks on this site who attack the free pop culture are really attacking freedom itself. Maybe Archer you would like us to appoint a Minister of Culture like the French have and they can tell us what art, music, and proper TV is or should be. I am sure you could be on the top of the list of applicants for the job. As far as the first internal invader I see it as the folks who spread this nonsense expressed as "the United States is a republic not a democracy". The statement is a falsehood, bad use of language and bad logic for the following reasons. It should read "the United States is a republic that is a democracy". In modern usage "republic" simply designates a territory and its ruling system to be soverign. The word does not explain or describe the type or style of that system. The description of style is left to the words aristocracy, oligarcy, democracy, dictatorship etcetera. In front of the Texas Capitol bldg in Austin there is a statute with this inscription "Presented by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to the State of Texas". These words are telling and explanatory to our understanding. What it says is that the Territory of Texas was a republc (a soverign entity) and that now it is a state or subdivision of a soverign entity called the United States of America. Texas gave up its' soverignity but still retains democracy as its form of government. Now I know that the Constitution "guarantees a republican government" to the states. In the late 1700's republican government meant a government of, by and for the citizens rather than primarily monarchy. The bruhaha in the Colonies and France was about the dissolution first of all of the hegemony of the King of England and then of the King of France and placing trust in the rule of men, the public. It was revolutionary. When de Tocqueville wrote his exhaustive tome about his travels in America in the 1830's he titled it "Democracy in America". Anyway it is time to end this damnable lie, illogical twisting of words that is enslaving the unthinking masses to commit intellectual harikari.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Paula I empathize with your desire for more quality in life. We don't have to listen to telvision or read books that we don't want to listen to. Some families are able to give their children experience with classical music, good books, museum trips you. But you know kids. My generation was into Elvis, and Rock and Roll also and our parents thought it was terrible. But somehow we survived.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Again why I love the Founding Fathers. And as for schools, it is only slightly ironic that the first quote, ref NW Ordinance of 1787 actually is the initiating event of American Public Schools. You get what you pay for. My sons went to Catholic school in their youth that I paid for. And those that doubt internal invaders....just wait till somewhere in America a group is allowed to try their own kind in Sharia Law and not the law[s] of the city, state, and country in which they live. Just wait My Friends, it's coming and they're coming for you too.
     -- dougmcr8, Springfield, VA     
    An example of the "general dissolution of the principles and manners" of America, is that its citizens do not know what sovereignty is and, thus, what it requires. I do not know of any other country or Constitution that declares as self-evident that all people are endowed with human rights from birth that cannot ever be legislated away. In England, Canada, and other British commonwealths, only the Crown (Queen of England today) is sovereign. All the land is hers -- and it is not for sale -- she grants merely titles to land (that she can also revoke) and requires tax be paid on them forever. The citizens are 'subjects' and are in essence the chattel property of the Crown to be raised up or pressed down as the Crown sees fit. The 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' in Canada is a list of rights to be protected, but it is a declaration of the sovereign to its subjects, and it can be revoked. Only in America have the people freed themselves from the monarch that laid claim to them and all their generations. Only in America is the citizen the sovereign -- we are a land of kings and queens with no subjects except our own personal property. Only in America could someone own land that no government could ever tax or grant title to. Only in America is the government subservient to the people. The US Constitution is the charter for the federal government whereby the People specifically authorize (not create) limited powers -- all else are reserved to the people and their respective sovereign states made up of sovereign citizens. In America, no majority and no President or Congress can grant or take away any natural born right. Thus, America is not, nor was it ever, a democracy. Let it rest, Waffler, because if America were a real democracy, your vote would actually count when in fact it is merely an opinion that can be ignored. Do not fight for a better democracy, fight for your sovereignty -- you are a king, why beg to be a subject...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    When De Toqueville wrote his book about America in 1830 he called it "Democracy In America" when Wilson got us into war it was to make the world safe for democracy not safe for republics. When Bush went to war it was to create a model democratic government in the Middle East for the rest to follow. When Texas joined the union it gave up its title of Republic (which title signifies soverignity) and took the title of state of the sovernign union. You are naive Archer if you do not believe people in other nations republics own property and have rights. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS A democratic republic period. It is not a republic governed by dictatorship, aristocracy (sometimes big business) or oligarchy. You need a new vocabulary Archer and a course in logic.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Archer if there is something so special about the term republic in reference to the sacredness of propety why was it that the republican revolution in France took away the property of the nobility as well as their heads. Took away much of the land of the church which owned 10% of France. The Louvre Museum was started by Napoleon who took the treasures (property) away from the nobility and placed it on display for all to see. I have heard that there are or were few property rights in the republics of the Soviet Union. You deal in wishful thinking my friend, trying to create something out of nothing rather than letting histroy speak for itself. In the early years of our republic there were some moves afoot by the lower classes to get out from under debts owed to the upper classes and the government of the United States stepped in to maintain an orderly business climate. Government is very much involved in protecting property rights after all that is what recorders of deeds, and courts are all about. But this system of law does not hang or fall on the false notion that "republic" is the opposite of "democracy". The words are not opposisites at all. Republic is akin to Nation and soverignity, Democracy is akin to the management style of that nation or republic. The United States is a republic that is ruled by democracy. Our representative democracy has never taken property away from folks like the French republicans did, so there!
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Waffler, the form of government of the USA is republican because that is what the contract between the People and the federal government dictated -- period. Show me the word democracy in the US Constitution! 2nd, you say, "Our representative democracy has never taken property away from folks like the French republicans did, so there!" Ever hear of the America Revolution? What do you think that was about? The King of England lost all title and claim to the property in the former colonies -- up until that time it belonged to the Crown and the King granted 'title' to it to his 'loyal subjects' -- so there were a few 'loyalists' who lost their property, too. And let's not forget the biggest heist of all of the 'democracy of the US' -- the theft of every person's money in America, their gold. Yes, FDR declared the possession of real money (i.e. gold) to be ILLEGAL. All the gold was seized and in return people were given interest-bearing promissory notes -- fiat currency, legal tender absolutely prohibited by the Constitution. But what the hey, that's democracy for you. Just because the word 'republic' is in the name of the country does not mean its government is republican -- such is the political corruption of the language to rally support for Communism. You cannot be sovereign and in debt -- the one who lends is always the master of the borrower. 3rdly, you'll probably never be able to follow this one, but by the use of commercial paper for currency, all who use it are beholden to the commercial statutes that regulate commerce -- instead of the common law and common law courts used to settle disputes, the commercial jurisdiction has enveloped the free republic (not democracy) and thus all who use it are subject to that jurisdiction. The sovereign states have been reincorporated under this federal jurisdiction regulated by admiralty/maritime law -- the corporation 'The State of New York' has now replaced the sovereign republic 'New York State,' etc. as each state that accepts this private corporate paper must abide by the rules of its use. The private central bank has thus become the master of the US government with all branches subservient to it. If that is not taking away the property of the people, I do not know what is. The truth is America is not even close to a democracy -- it is closer to a fascist oligarchy with the illusion of democracy and the illusion of freedom. Your history is selective at best -- semantics will not cover up the 'dissolution of principles' to this citizen. Waffler, you have no idea how sovereign power works -- nor do you seem to desire to exercise it (other than over others). The power starts with our natural-born rights -- the collective power does not exceed the individual power. American governments are created by the power and authority of the People and thus the government cannot become the master. There are democratic processes in our Congress, but not in a jury, not in the Executive branch, nor can 51% vote away the rights of the other 49%. As far as the US govt protecting property rights, you are once again half-informed. Google 'land patents' and 'allodial title' to find out how land USED to be managed before the US government declared bankruptcy to the Fed. We are now in receivership to the Fed and our government is completely beholden to it. The Dow dropped 450 points today -- and who is going to save it? The Fed (yeah, right) -- you have lost nearly 90% of your purchasing power in your lifetime due to this scam -- if you call that protecting property, you are delusional. Being the devil's advocate for so long will only poison your mind -- don't you believe it. It is a shame you do not respect Liberty enough to keep it. The Constitution defines three types of lawful jurisdictions: common law, admiralty/maritime law, and military law -- do some research on the distinction and the timeline when the common law jusrisdiction was merged with admiralty/maritime -- when we stopped using real money, we became commercial merchants using negotiable instruments for trade and thus the common law became mute. We can thank FDR for that one, too. So we lost our land patents (actually we didn't, just that no land office transfers them any more), we lost our money (in exchange for interest-bearing monopoly 'money'), we lost our common law (thus making us all crew of the S.S. USA under command by the admiral -- BTW admiralty/maritime courts do not have to accept a jury's verdict, it is entirely up to the judge -- and the judges absolutely know it) -- who cares if it is a democracy or not, it looks like our elections are rigged, too. What world are you living in?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, I CARE!
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Waffler, you care about what? Do you care about the loss of freedoms in America in exchange for a bottomless pit of debt? Do you care about the debasement of the currency in order to funnel rivers and rivers of wealth into the hands of the banksters pulling the strings of our government and presidential 'hopefuls'? Do you care that Americans today merely vote for money instead of their independence? Do you care that our children are being indoctrinated into a system that further enslaves us to this tyranny? Or are you one of them, demanding the government do more, borrow more, take more, promise more, etc., etc.?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    words of wisdom spoken so very long ago.... yet, so timely for the onslaught of tyranny meeting us face to face in America today. these words of wisdom we MUST heed for all times.... there's no new thing under the sun..... America must not rest upon her's laurels... we MUST be vigilant at all times... Our LIBERTY is FRAGILE! The TRUTH will set us FREE!
     -- sandy, salem     
    i think that this is the best qouet ever and should be seen by everyone
     -- san, france     
    This is exactly what we see going on today and for the last 3 decades at least. Tyranny is here dressed up like a second coming.
     -- Bryan, Livonia     
     -- Ronw13, ID      
     -- jim k, Austin      
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