Samuel Adams (September 27, 1722 - October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a politician in colonial Massachusetts, Adams was a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and was one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to President John Adams. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.
Freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.
Governors have no right to seek and take what they please...
How strangely will the tools of a tyrant pervert the plain meaning of words.
If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
In monarchy the crime of treason may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.
It requires time to bring honest Men to think and determine alike even in important matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.
The Legislative has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people; nor can mortals assume a prerogative not only too high for men, but for angels, and therefore reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone.
The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks
The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.
The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.
We cannot make events. Our business is wisely to improve them.
We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty- to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves.
Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all?
(September 27 is also the birthday of Henri Frédéric Amiel.)