John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, (1767-1848) 6th US President

John Quincy Adams Quote

“But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the RIGHT, but in the HEART. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it !) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other, when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interests shall fester into hatred, the bonds of political association - will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies ; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect Union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.”

John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams
~ John Quincy Adams

in his discourse before the New York Historical Society, in 1839

Ratings and Comments

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Dan    7/10/08

I like it. Shows where the real power in this country is supposed to be and how it could and should be used in areas of disagreement. And more importantly, keeping the peace while sorting out the differances. And of course the north ignored these words in the war between the states.

ron, nc
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ron, nc    7/10/08

can we dump cal. and vermont for starters?

J Carlton, Calgary

We've been divided into "Right" and "Left", Black and White, Wealthy and Poor. We've become a society of "Group Rights" rather than Individual Rights. A system of anger and envy, a people divided. Always remember, we're run by a well organized and united minority of the political and corporate elite...while they keep us as divided as they can. I simply refuse to play their game anymore.

jim k, austin

ron, nc, That's a good start but Massachusetts needs to go to. Any state that elects Kerry and Kennedy over and over, well, you get the point.

Mike, Norwalk

(-; some good comments ;-)

Chris, NC
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Chris, NC    7/10/08

Great quote. Makes you think about the Civil War, and whether we could have saved the Union without firing a shot.

E Archer, NYC

Awesome -- I like the RIGHT vs. HEART distinction. At the time of this quote, New England was debating the possibility of secceding -- there was no question of the right at that time. Perhaps if New England had separated peacefully, there may have been no civil war at all. I do believe Natural Law extends further than just gravity -- when our actions and their extensions into corporate institutions violate the laws of nature (like slavery in any of its covert forms), the issue cannot go long without needing to be addressed. As long as Americans ignore the hyprocrisies of their declarations of Liberty and Justice for all, the noose will grow ever tighter upon ourselves until we break free again. The question remains: how much oppression will we endure before we say 'Enough!'?

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RobertSRQ    7/10/08

Wow! What foresight! Well said Archer. Ron, I think California and Vermont would agree whole heartedly with you dumping them, also New England, Massachusetts and New York - I can tell you now there would be a mass exodus to those states if that were to happen. Carlton, yes, we are divided as a nation as never before and I hope this time, unless we are brought together naturally, our partition will be peaceful. It’s the mentality of Ron, Jim, and alike that is the reason for this terrible division. The Political Parties have raped this nation along with the Fed and corporate America; as Carlton pointed out, the political and economic disparity is growing and unless CHANGE can occur I see it getting worse. Archer, yes, it may be we are close to saying ENOUGH is enough. If we are to survive as ONE nation we must stop our shift to the dark side – though some say it’s to late we are already there. I never really understand why there is so much hatred within our own borders perhaps this is the reason why we are constantly at war – we need to vent our anger. Why are we so different? Are not our desires the same? Are we not wanting harmony in our life, peace, happiness, liberty, freedom? Are these not the same qualities for all Americans? If so, why so bitter? Aren’t we all striving for these same things – is the difference the road we take to achieve the same result. Or, are we really different and need to be separated? Fortunately, we are all originally from another country as we managed to kill off most of the indigenous population (perhaps the karma is still there), so there is no need to fight internal battles which go back centuries. The Civil War was different and I blame Lincoln for not allowing the South to secede. These words of hatred so easily fall from our lips – we should be reminded of Einstein’s famous words: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Until we become friends and are able to detach ourselves from our own agenda’s dialogue will be impossible and without dialogue there is only one other option. Once a month I make it a point to lunch separately with two friends, one is a Christian (I’m an atheist) and the other a far right Republican (I’m a flaming Liberal) – they have both become close friends and funnily enough we agree on many topics, but that is not why we meet – Members of that Fed club don’t want us to meet they want us divided – they know that once we share our feelings and knowledge that their game will be up. Sorry for rambling its been one of those mornings.

Paul, Union, WA

It seldom fails that those who defeat tyranny become tyrants themselves. Samuel Adams threw off King George only to end up saying "Rebellion against a king may be pardoned, or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death." Lincoln crushed the South after having once nobly declared, "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right -- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is the right confined to cases which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit." --Jan. 12, 1848 (The War with Mexico: Speech in the United States House of Representatives). When he saw the money and power the North would lose, Lincoln became a tyrant. I could go on and on, but the point is well-established, most of us are as our forebears... noble until it costs us something. Then out comes the greed, lying, twisting law to suit our purposes. Interestingly, the Bible addresses the issue of govt rather well. When the Hebrews came out of Egypt, God gave them essentially NO govt, and "every man did what was right in his own eyes." But this required tremendous self-responsibility, which man couldn't keep up with. So after severe problems for lack of stepping up to the plate as individuals, they demanded a king in 1 Samuel 8. They were told and warned exactly what a king would do to them (take their wealth, conscript their labor for the king and his cronies, make war and use their sons for sword-fodder, etc). If you read that passage and substitute any type of govt (congress, parliament, whatever) instead of the word "king," you will see that what God warned against is EXACTLY what is going on today. Government is simply a choice of which tyranny you want. Nope, I don't know how to get along without one, but that doesn't change things. It isn't the type of govt that matters, for we had good govt in 1789. What matters, and is insurmountable, is the evil in our hearts.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Well said Archer, natural law is all encompassing -- and it certainly goes well beyond such trivial expressions and descriptions as gravity. What is the threshold for tyranny in modern America? It's an interesting question to analyze.

Waffler, Smth, Arkansas

Fantastic! but the heart can be fickle and wishy washy. The Union is no longer bound together indissoubly by the heart but by a steady hand called law. The times in which J.Q. Adams wrote this should be considered. Here he makes interesting reference to how the Constitution improved the relationlship started by the Articles and appears to long for a new relationship to mend the regional stresses caused by the differences over slavery. Lincoln and the South were both right in that the difference could only be solved by war. The first phrase in Adams quote beges the question was (and is) the union indissouble or isn't it. Indissiouble is indissiouble fini "shut up" get over it there is nothing more to talk about. Now go live together in peace and harmony.

Me Again
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    Me Again    7/16/08

    A breath of fresh air is this quote.10,000 stars.Our Blessed and Sick Republic needs a rebirth I believe.We would be wise to lend our minds and hearts to the wise counsel of our founding fathers.

    deanna, paris

    he is the awsomest prestident eva!!!

    Nancy, OH
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    Nancy, OH    6/15/09

    I almost believe that we're at a time when a peaceful division must occur to avert the destruction of the whole.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, the States are not united by a steady hand of law but rather, a theocratic hand of tyranny (by way of extremely terse example - the thieving 2nd plank of the communist manifesto, obamacare - complete with death panels / children needing lung transplants, etc.). The land that once sought to exist at or, equal under law, with representatives to sovereign individual rights and limited by a constitution, exists no more. To call tyranny, and other forms of malignant rule, 'law' is a most despicable and deceiving lie.

    E Archer, NYC

    @Nancy, OH, I think you may be right. But the new 'union' can only reflect the consciousness of the people within it -- I worry that there are not enough people in our society that understand the foundations of liberty and their natural-born rights. What is to stop the masses from plundering the rest? The French and Russian revolutions come to mind -- they tore down the traditional hierarchy, but what replaced it was not the Liberty the people were fighting for, it just created a seat of power for a dictator. The French got Napoleon, and the Russians got Lenin and Stalin. The American people have been dumbed down for so long, do they really have what it takes to return to republican form of government again? Where are the Jefferson's and Madison's of today? ...

    AL, DC
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    AL, DC    6/30/17
    Neosandy, Corpus Christi

    I think if Adams, Jefferson, Thomas Paine etc were to somehow see America today, my heart would break. I'd be ashamed. They'd be pissed and I wonder if they'd have to hear the same bs as I have so many times "if you don't like it, leave" ... as if they or I would desert. Nope. We may.have strayed far from the America they envisioned however I'm not ready to give up hope just yet.

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    This is an address for what would happen if the United States ever became disunited? Didn't that ship sail off with it's inauguration? Wouldn't it be more fitting to have an address to prepare us for what may occur if the United States of America ever United?


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