The Wisdom of John Adams

I am reading the biography of John Adams by David McCullough. It strikes me that those who most turn to waving the flag proclaiming “Don’t Tread On Me” haven’t the faintest clue as to what this particular, and genius, Founding Father believed was the importance of a republican form of government. What he said and thought was intelligently conceived, and wisely prescient. I could paraphrase, but his words are plainly clear and more eloquent…

“The happiness of people is the purpose of government, and therefore, that form of government is best which produces the greatest amount of happiness for the largest number.”

“Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially for the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant”

“…I fear that in every assembly, members will obtain an influence by noise, not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls…  There is one thing, my dear sir, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect, and venerations introduced for persons of authority of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way”

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