The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, Volume 5

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Little, Brown, 1851 - United States
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Volume V (pub 1851) - Adams, John, and Charles Francis Adams. 1850. The works of John Adams, second President of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. Boston: Little, Brown.

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Page 452 - Such a latitude, it is true, allows a scope for politicians to speculate, like merchants with false weights, artificial credit, or base money, and to deceive the people, by making the same word adored by one party, and execrated by another.
Page 459 - ... those, when there is a want of a proper number of men of middling fortune, the poor extend their power too far, abuses arise, and the government is soon at an end. We ought to consider as a proof of what I now advance, that the best lawgivers themselves were those in the middle rank of life, amongst whom was Solon, as is evident from his poems, and Lycurgus, for he was not a king, and Charondas, and indeed most others.
Page 459 - ... oligarchies: for whenever the number of those in the middle state has been too small, those who were the more numerous, whether the rich or the poor, always overpowered them, and assumed to themselves the administration of public affairs; from hence arose either a democracy or an oligarchy.
Page 459 - The middle state is therefore best, as being least liable to those seditions and insurrections which disturb the community; and for the same reason extensive governments are least liable to these inconveniences; for there those in a middle state are very numerous, whereas in small ones it is easy to pass to the two extremes, so as hardly to have any in a medium remaining, but the one half rich, the other poor; and from the same principle it is that democracies are more firmly established, and of...
Page 85 - ... to good order and regularity. For since it is ordained by Providence that there should be a continual ebb and flow in the things of this world ; as soon as they arrive at their utmost perfection, and can ascend no higher, they must of necessity decline : and on the other hand, when they have fallen, through any disorder, to the lowest degree that is possible, and can sink no lower, they begin to rise again. And thus there is a constant succession of prosperity and adversity in all human affairs.
Page 3 - As for us Britons, thank Heaven, we have a better sense of government delivered to us from our ancestors. We have the notion of a public, and a constitution ; how a legislative and how an executive is modelled. We understand weight and measure in this kind, and can reason justly on the balance of power and property.
Page 458 - It is plain, then, that the most perfect political community must be amongst those who are in the middle rank, and those States are best instituted wherein these are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate; so that being thrown into the balance it may prevent either scale from preponderating.
Page 3 - Tis scarce a quarter of an age since such a happy balance of power was settled between our prince and people as has firmly secured our hitherto precarious liberties, and removed from us the fear of civil commotions, wars and violence, either on account of religion and worship, the property of the subject, or the contending titles of the Crown.
Page 290 - ... community, as others do to a faction; which produces as great a desire of knowledge, and infinitely better faculties to pursue it; which besides produces security of property, and the desire and opportunities for commerce, which the others obstruct. Shall any one hesitate then to prefer such a government to all others? A constitution in which the people reserve to themselves the absolute control of their purses, one essential branch of the legislature, and the inquest of grievances and state...
Page 425 - ... which he could not have under the traditional system. A revolutionary tendency may also involve such personal demands and in so far be an act of revolt; but its essential feature is that it includes a demand for new values for a whole group — community, class, nation, etc.

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