Frases de John Adams

John Adams Foto
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John Adams

Fecha de nacimiento: 30. Octubre 1735
Fecha de muerte: 4. Julio 1826

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John Adams fue el segundo presidente de los Estados Unidos. Es considerado como uno de los padres fundadores del país.

Adams llegó a la prominencia en las primeras etapas de la Revolución Americana. Como delegado de Massachusetts al Congreso Continental, desempeñó un papel importante en persuadir al Congreso para declarar la independencia, y ayudó a Thomas Jefferson en la redacción de la Declaración de Independencia de los Estados Unidos en 1776. Como representante del Congreso en Europa, fue uno de los negociadores principales del Tratado de París con Gran Bretaña, y uno de los principales responsables de la obtención de préstamos importantes de banqueros de Ámsterdam. Teórico político e historiador, Adams escribió en gran medida la constitución del estado de Massachusetts en 1780, pero estaba en Europa cuando la Constitución federal se redactó en principios similares. Uno de sus grandes papeles se dio a la hora de elegir a personas para distintos cargos: en 1775, nombró a George Washington como comandante en jefe del Ejército Continental, y, veinticinco años más tarde, nombró a John Marshall como Presidente del Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos.

Las credenciales revolucionarias de Adams le aseguraron dos mandatos como vicepresidente de George Washington y su propia elección en 1796 como el segundo presidente de la nación. Durante su mandato presidencial, se encontró con feroces ataques por parte del Partido Demócrata-Republicano de Thomas Jefferson, así como la facción dominante de su propio partido, el Partido Federalista liderado por su acérrimo enemigo Alexander Hamilton. Adams firmó las polémicas Actas de sedición y extranjeros, y construyó el ejército y la marina especialmente en el contexto de la guerra naval no declarada con Francia, 1798-1800. El gran logro de su presidencia fue la solución pacífica de la Cuasi-Guerra frente a la oposición belicista de Hamilton.

En 1800 Adams fue derrotado en la reelección por Thomas Jefferson y se retiró a Massachusetts. Más tarde reanudó su amistad con Jefferson. Él y su esposa, Abigail Adams, fundaron una línea familiar de políticos, diplomáticos e historiadores en los Estados Unidos. Fue el padre de John Quincy Adams, sexto Presidente de los Estados Unidos. El 4 de julio de 1826 falleció a los 90 años, el mismo día del 50º Aniversario de la Declaración de Independencia. Ese mismo día, horas antes, había muerto Thomas Jefferson. Paradójicamente, las últimas palabras de John Adams fueron: "Thomas Jefferson está vivo".

Sus logros han recibido mayor reconocimiento en los tiempos modernos, a pesar de que sus contribuciones no fueron inicialmente tan célebres como las de los otros Padres Fundadores.

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Frases John Adams

„There are two tyrants in human life who domineer in all nations, in Indians and Negroes, in Tartars and Arabs, in Hindoos and Chinese, in Greeks and Romans, in Britons and Gauls, as well as in our simple, youthful, and beloved United States of America. These two tyrants are fashion and party“

— John Adams
Context: There are two tyrants in human life who domineer in all nations, in Indians and Negroes, in Tartars and Arabs, in Hindoos and Chinese, in Greeks and Romans, in Britons and Gauls, as well as in our simple, youthful, and beloved United States of America. These two tyrants are fashion and party. They are sometimes at variance, and I know not whether their mutual hostility is not the only security of human happiness. But they are forever struggling for an alliance with each other; and, when they are united, truth, reason, honor, justice, gratitude, and humanity itself in combination are no match for the coalition. Upon the maturest reflection of a long experience, I am much inclined to believe that fashion is the worst of all tyrants, because he is the original source, cause, preserver, and supporter of all others. Letter to Samuel B. Malcolm (6 August 1812), Quincy. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2127#Adams_1431-10_87

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„Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.“

— John Adams
Context: Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist. But if unlimited or unbalanced power of disposing property, be put into the hands of those who have no property, France will find, as we have found, the lamb committed to the custody of the wolf. In such a case, all the pathetic exhortations and addresses of the national assembly to the people, to respect property, will be regarded no more than the warbles of the songsters of the forest. The great art of law-giving consists in balancing the poor against the rich in the legislature, and in constituting the legislative a perfect balance against the executive power, at the same time that no individual or party can become its rival. The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries. The executive and the legislative powers are natural rivals; and if each has not an effectual control over the other, the weaker will ever be the lamb in the paws of the wolf. The nation which will not adopt an equilibrium of power must adopt a despotism. There is no other alternative. Rivalries must be controlled, or they will throw all things into confusion; and there is nothing but despotism or a balance of power which can control them. No. 13

„I have never sought popularity by any animated speeches or inflammatory publications against the slavery of the blacks, my opinion against it has always been known, and my practice has been so conformable to my sentiments that I have always employed freemen, both as domestics and laborers, and never in my life did I own a slave. The abolition of slavery must be gradual, and accomplished with much caution and circumspection. Violent means and measures would produce greater violations of justice and humanity than the continuance of the practice“

— John Adams
Context: Although I have never sought popularity by any animated speeches or inflammatory publications against the slavery of the blacks, my opinion against it has always been known, and my practice has been so conformable to my sentiments that I have always employed freemen, both as domestics and laborers, and never in my life did I own a slave. The abolition of slavery must be gradual, and accomplished with much caution and circumspection. Violent means and measures would produce greater violations of justice and humanity than the continuance of the practice. Neither Mr. Mifflin nor yourselves, I presume, would be willing to venture on exertions which would probably excite insurrections among the blacks to rise against their masters, and imbue their hands in innocent blood.

„I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, — Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws — Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.“

— John Adams
Context: The poor people, it is true, have been much less successful than the great. They have seldom found either leisure or opportunity to form a union and exert their strength; ignorant as they were of arts and letters, they have seldom been able to frame and support a regular opposition. This, however, has been known by the great to be the temper of mankind; and they have accordingly labored, in all ages, to wrest from the populace, as they are contemptuously called, the knowledge of their rights and wrongs, and the power to assert the former or redress the latter. I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, — Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws — Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe.

„I have long wondered that the original draught has not been published. I suppose the reason is, the vehement philippic against negro slavery“

— John Adams
Context: A meeting we accordingly had, and conned the paper over. I was delighted with its high tone and the flights of oratory with which it abounded, especially that concerning negro slavery, which, though I knew his Southern brethren would never suffer to pass in Congress, I certainly never would oppose. There were other expressions which I would not have inserted, if I had drawn it up, particularly that which called the King tyrant. I thought this too personal; for I never believed George to be a tyrant in disposition and in nature; I always believed him to be deceived by his courtiers on both sides of the Atlantic, and in his official capacity only, cruel. I thought the expression too passionate, and too much like scolding, for so grave and solemn a document; but as Franklin and Sherman were to inspect it afterwards, I thought it would not become me to strike it out. I consented to report it, and do not now remember that I made or suggested a single alteration. We reported it to the committee of five. It was read, and I do not remember that Franklin or Sherman criticized any thing. We were all in haste. Congress was impatient, and the instrument was reported, as I believe, in Jefferson’s handwriting, as he first drew it. Congress cut off about a quarter of it, as I expected they would; but they obliterated some of the best of it, and left all that was exceptionable, if any thing in it was. I have long wondered that the original draught has not been published. I suppose the reason is, the vehement philippic against negro slavery. Regarding a draft of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Letter to Timothy Pickering (6 August 1822) http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2100#lf1431-02_head_061 As quoted in The Founding Fathers: John Adams: A Biography in his own Words https://web.archive.org/web/20111029143754/http://home.nas.com/lopresti/ps2.htm (1973), by James Bishop Peabody, Newsweek, New York, p. 201.

„I was delighted with its high tone and the flights of oratory with which it abounded, especially that concerning negro slavery, which, though I knew his Southern brethren would never suffer to pass in Congress, I certainly never would oppose“

— John Adams
Context: A meeting we accordingly had, and conned the paper over. I was delighted with its high tone and the flights of oratory with which it abounded, especially that concerning negro slavery, which, though I knew his Southern brethren would never suffer to pass in Congress, I certainly never would oppose. There were other expressions which I would not have inserted, if I had drawn it up, particularly that which called the King tyrant. I thought this too personal; for I never believed George to be a tyrant in disposition and in nature; I always believed him to be deceived by his courtiers on both sides of the Atlantic, and in his official capacity only, cruel. I thought the expression too passionate, and too much like scolding, for so grave and solemn a document; but as Franklin and Sherman were to inspect it afterwards, I thought it would not become me to strike it out. I consented to report it, and do not now remember that I made or suggested a single alteration. We reported it to the committee of five. It was read, and I do not remember that Franklin or Sherman criticized any thing. We were all in haste. Congress was impatient, and the instrument was reported, as I believe, in Jefferson’s handwriting, as he first drew it. Congress cut off about a quarter of it, as I expected they would; but they obliterated some of the best of it, and left all that was exceptionable, if any thing in it was. I have long wondered that the original draught has not been published. I suppose the reason is, the vehement philippic against negro slavery. Regarding a draft of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Letter to Timothy Pickering (6 August 1822) http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2100#lf1431-02_head_061 As quoted in The Founding Fathers: John Adams: A Biography in his own Words https://web.archive.org/web/20111029143754/http://home.nas.com/lopresti/ps2.htm (1973), by James Bishop Peabody, Newsweek, New York, p. 201.

„The judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that“

— John Adams
Context: The judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that.

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„The American Revolution was not a common event.“

— John Adams
Context: The American Revolution was not a common event. Its effects and consequences have already been awful over a great part of the globe. And when and where are they to cease? But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

„We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form.“

— John Adams
Context: We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all Divines and moral Philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.

„It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws.“

— John Adams
Context: The militia and sovereignty are inseparable. In the English constitution, if the whole nation were a militia, there would be a militia to defend the crown, the lords, or the commons, if either were attacked. The crown, though it commands them, has no power to use them improperly, because it cannot pay or subsist them without the consent of the lords and commons; but if the militia are to obey a sovereignty in a single assembly, it is commanded, paid, and subsisted, and a standing army, too, may be raised, paid, and subsisted, by the vote of a majority; the militia, then, must all obey the sovereign majority, or divide, and part follow the majority, and part the minority. This last case is civil war; but, until it comes to this, the whole militia may be employed by the majority in any degree of tyranny and oppression over the minority. The constitution furnishes no resource or remedy; nothing affords a chance of relief but rebellion and civil war. If this terminates in favor of the minority, they will tyrannize in their turn, exasperated by revenge, in addition to ambition and avarice; if the majority prevail, their domination becomes more cruel, and soon ends in one despot. It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws. To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defence, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws. Ch. 3 Marchamont Nedham : Errors of Government and Rules of Policy" Sixth Rule <!-- The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States vol. VI (1851) p. 197 -->

„Slavery is an evil of Colossal Magnitude.“

— John Adams
Context: I Shall not pause to consider whether my Opinion will be popular or unpopular with the Slave Holders, or Slave Traders, in the Northern the Middle, the Southern, or the Western, States—I respect all those who are necessarily subjected to this Evil.—But Negro Slavery is an evil of Colossal Magnitude. … I am therefore utterly averse to the admission of Slavery into the Missouri Territory, and heartily wish that every Constitutional measure may be adopted for the preservation of it. Letter http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-7261 to William Tudor, Jr., 20 November 1819. Partially quoted in Founding Brothers : The Revolutionary Generation (2000) by Joseph J. Ellis, p. 240

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„I have not one drop of blood in my veins but what is American.“

— John Adams
Context: Neither my father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, great grandfather or great grandmother, nor any other relation that I know of, or care a farthing for, has been in England these one hundred and fifty years; so that you see I have not one drop of blood in my veins but what is American. To an ambassador (1785), as quoted in The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: Autobiography http://books.google.com/books?id=lWcsAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA392 (1851), by Charles F. Adams, p. 392.

„Remember the frank Veteran acknowledges, that "the word rebel is a convertible term."“

— John Adams
Context: We are told: "It is a universal truth, that he that would excite a rebellion, is at heart as great a tyrant as ever wielded the iron rod of oppression." Be it so. We are not exciting a rebellion. Opposition, nay, open, avowed resistance by arms, against usurpation and lawless violence, is not rebellion by the law of God or the land. Resistance to lawful authority makes rebellion. … Remember the frank Veteran acknowledges, that "the word rebel is a convertible term." No. 5

„The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.“

— John Adams
Context: The American Revolution was not a common event. Its effects and consequences have already been awful over a great part of the globe. And when and where are they to cease? But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

„Human nature with all its infirmities and depravation is still capable of great things.“

— John Adams
Context: Human nature with all its infirmities and depravation is still capable of great things. It is capable of attaining to degrees of wisdom and goodness, which we have reason to believe, appear as respectable in the estimation of superior intelligences. Education makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing. Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking and study. Letter to Abigail Adams (29 October 1775), published Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, Vol. 1 (1841), ed. Charles Francis Adams, p. 72

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