John AdamsJohn Adams, (1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President

John Adams Quote

“[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.”

John AdamsJohn Adams
~ John Adams

An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, August 29, 1763

Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Newport Vermont

What undulating crap this nonsense is. Who chooses these quotes? The Nazi Koch Brothers? Name 1 true democracy that has ever existed? Meaning a whole nation that was democratic, not just a work place or school room. Don't say Athens, because it was a democracy of land owners that had slaves. So, 1 whole nation that was a democracy, meaning The People voted directly on The Law... I guarantee, the only veritable answer here is, there has never been 1, never 1 true democracy in the whole history of humanity, but the political powers, who contributed to a government that murdered masses of people, ever rail against democracy... hmmm wonder why? Couldn't be because they were some god damn corrupt politicians, now. Nah never. Ridiculous!

Byron, Fort Collins

We certainly do live in an artistic dark age. Seriously.

J Carlton, Calgary

Which is exactly why the Founders gave us a Constitutionally limited government. Democracy is a complete and total sham. Under this system of "Democracy" our politicians are bought and paid for and do NOT represent We The People. The latest example being Soros and his Pet Kenyan.

jim k, Austin, Tx

Newport, with nonsense like yours, it's no wonder you remain anonymous.

cal, lewisville, tx

Sadly we do live in a democracy where the will of the majority of either the masses or the Supreme Court can force their will on the minority. A republic where rights could not be altered or revised by any majority was what our forefathers envisioned. How far our system has strayed.

Rob, Columbus

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the penultimate refuge is labeling a libertarian conservative a Nazi. Newport, you should be ashamed. Ironically, your extraordinarily ignorant tirade aptly proves the wisdom of Adams's warning about "democracy."

  • 3
  • Reply
    Abigail    6/28/11

    Precisely why we were given "...a republic, madam, if you can keep it..." and not a democracy. We are supposed to be a country based upon rule of law...but those from the highest office down ignore that fact....

    Vera, Monroe

    I hope John Adams is wrong about America.

    E Archer, NYC

    Too true. Hey, Newport, Adams wrote extensively on the historical forms of government, not just Athens, either. He recognized that governments consisted typically of combinations of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic forms of government. The US Constitution was developed to help balance these powers so that none could gain dominance. I suggest reading Adams' "A defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America" ( whereby Adams compares dozens of ancient 'republics.' (Sorry to those that try to say America is a 'republic' not a 'democracy' because Adams refers to democracies as 'democratic republics' and monarchies as 'monarchical republics'.) A long study, but something any 'republican' history buff ought to be familiar with. Essentially, a 'pure' democracy would evolve into the tyranny of the majority -- i.e. might makes right. Yes, a democracy must be limited by the Laws of Nature (no vote can eliminate natural laws) of which the rights of life, liberty, and self-defense are rooted. I am willing to agree that there has never been a true democracy, but it is true that totalitarian dictators have used democracy to get into seats of power and that democracy is a tool of the socialists/communists for voting away the rights and property of those that have it, and ultimately a 'true' democracy can never be achieved as long as THEFT is legalized by majority vote. Adams' quote above is right on the mark - -just look at the USA today.

    Waffler, Smith

    In this quote Adams states that he is against "people doing what is right in their own eyes" and most of you guys defend this him on this! I don't get it. Isn't that what we long for and fight for that kind of freedom as long as it does not interfere with others. Now on occasion these free doing people will make constraints that they feel are necessary for the common good, like the direction streets may be laid etcetera Adams here is in effect defending the Aristocarcy, the moneyed class, the establishment etc. Not his finest hour.

    Mike, Norwalk

    close enough for 5 stars

    Mike, Norwalk
    • 1
    • Reply
    Mike, Norwalk Mike, Norwalk 6/28/22

    Concerning the most recent Supreme Court Rulings -"prophetic" in deed. Those who include Moloch worship as a part of their greater Woke Theocracy's greater dogma, are clearly acting out Adams' observed cause and effect.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Waffler, "you don't get it" is an accurate statement. He is talking about the flaw of Democracy as opposed to a Constitutionally limited Government with a "justice system". Democracy is a slow death for any nation.

    E Archer, NYC

    Unfortunately, John Adams WAS right.  And the USA is being taken over by Statist ideals  that the government (and ultimately its rulers) are supreme, and all the People must obey the dictates from them  your 'rights' are granted by the State, and can be taken away without recourse.  Think China, Russia, Venezuela  all democracies, by the way, but a completely rigged game.  And the American Democrats are following the same totalitarian playbook.  They CHEAT!!

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    The democrat will discover the power of the spoken word. Responsible, respectful conduct will be issued into the social system as the true nature of humankind has revealed that love is much stronger then lust.


    Get a Quote-a-Day!

    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.