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

John Adams Quote

“A native American who cannot read or write is as rare an a comet or an earthquake.”

John AdamsJohn Adams
~ John Adams


Ratings and Comments

jim k, austin, tx

To find someone today who cannot read or write, just go to any college campus.

A HREF="" title=" " target="_tab", Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), Coastal Lwr Mainland BC(State of Neo Sumer), U.S. of Eh!

.... bothers me a bit, but it shows how interested in humanizing and removing the incumbering reservations and integration of the native populations. I always felt land claims was the wrong, bad type of divisions rifting human beings, reservations should become townships or part of cities/towns attached as Wards and/or Boroughs and not oppressed by the Jacksonian interior ministry (I call it the moer commie ministry), well Department of the.... None the less. Everette Peck's friend to follow "Think! Why did we move Native Americans on a worthless piece of land, only to move them to another more worthless piece of land the moment the first crude oil was discovered?" -- Duckman, Private Dick and Family Man Good one Jim K, Professors are struggling every day.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I fell certain that Adams did not mean Indians when he made this comment. Indians in those days were Indians or Red Men etcetera. What he meant by native American is a white man born in the colonies. From what I read he was substantially correct. Literacy was higher among colonists than among those in the mother country.

E Archer, NYC

How could that have happened without compulsory attendance laws? ;-) I have my great-grandmother's school notebooks -- I doubt most adults know what a 5th grader knew back then.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

They probably did have compulsory attedance laws especially in New England. Under Puritanism every thing was pretty much complusory.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, my first known ancestor in America came to Virginia in 1610 (I'm working to verify another 1590 arrival). Later the family moved north. Through reading many journels, etc., I've not found any that participated in compelled attendance, up to and including my children. The States united were once filled with a greater percentage of freedom loving, literate conscience people.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Are comets and earthquakes more common nowadays? They must be because an illiterate native American is no rarity at all. What changed? Could it have something to do with the robot factories we call public schools?

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Mike my step-father is the descendant and name sake of John Balch who arrived in Mass in 1625. He built a home in 1631 now called the "Balch House" and still standing. Google it or if that Norwalk is in Connecticut or visit it, it is in like Lynn or Beverly, Mass. Puritan Society Mike was highly organized and regimented, they established Harvard I believe prior to 1650. Being people of the word reading was a vital part of their society, Whether they were compelled by the whip or just the soft compulsion of social norms or doing what was normal or normative they learned to read and I feel competent to suggest that the children felt compelled in either case.

E Archer, NYC

Once again, Waffler, you equate the responsibilities of parents with government. I have no doubt that parents in the old days may have pressured their children into attending school perhaps upon threat of the whip. But putting that power into the government is an usurpation and abuse of power. The constant attempt to empower the government to be our perpetual parents ever erodes the foundation of republican government. It is a distinction most 'do-gooders' miss while they trample upon other people's rights in order to force their will via the threat and intimidation of church and state.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

You I believe are significantly behind the times Archer. Children are people too and have rights beyond being property of their parents. If parents refuse or fail to educate their children or teach them to read then the community has the right to force the issue. You confuse government with everything including college, community and society. I am not totally acquainted with education law but do not believe that there is a Federal Law requiring education. The various states have enacted laws requiring that children be educated. If the parents do not undertake to do so personally or through a private instructor or shcool then the community or state as you would call it will do so. Now if I am correct then any state could eliminate this requirement at will, I suggest that they do not do so because they know that people wish to avail themselves of "public" education and would flee the territroy and the territroy would fail economically, culturally and become a backwater. As far as the Puritans you miss the point Archer. In their society I suggest that it was just as common (just as much compulsion maybe more so) due to the teachings of the church, which in their case was also the state, to send their progeny to school as it is today for parents to send their children to school. Society does compell us to do certain things. You are probably unaware of it but parents often choose their place of abode based on the caliber of the local "state" or "community" schools. Where the doctors and lawyers live the kids have Olympic size swimming pools etcetera. In the lower class areas well things are not as good. People try to migrate to the better school areas.

A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL

I doubt that John Adams actually knew whether ALL Americans could read and write. He assumed it. He did not Know.

wolfstrike, LOS ANGELES

Socialist Progressives destroyed the education system, they took America from #1 to #68. Modern society is is made up of grunts who think they know something.


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