Publisher’s Note: As we open the second segment of Words That Men Live By, please note that in the beginning, there will be no specific order, however as we continue to add to this marvelous Classroom – we will sort all entries out in their proper order. Bear with us and enjoy REAL history.
We open with a lengthy post written by John Adams, an American patriot who would some years later serve as the second President of the United States (1797–1801) and the first Vice President (1789–97). He was a lawyer, diplomat, statesman, political theorist, and, as a Founding Father, a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain. The following was written by him some years before all of these events transpired. ~ Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher and frustrated Historian. Oct. 5, 2017
John Adams, Patriot
“Ignorance and inconsideration are the two great causes of the ruin of mankind.” This is an observation of Dr. Tillotson, with relation to the interest of his fellow men in a future and immortal state. But it is of equal truth and importance if applied to the happiness of men in society, on this side the grave. In the earliest ages of the world, absolute monarchy seems to have been the universal form of government. Kings, and a few of their great counselors and captains, exercised a cruel tyranny over the people, who held a rank in the scale of intelligence, in those days, but little higher than the camels and elephants that carried them and their engines to war.
By what causes it was brought to pass, that the people in the middle ages became more intelligent in general, would not, perhaps, be possible in these days to discover. But the fact is certain; and wherever a general knowledge and sensibility have prevailed among the people, arbitrary government and every kind of oppression have lessened and disappeared in proportion. Man has certainly an exalted soul; and the same principle in human nature, — that aspiring, noble principle founded in benevolence, and cherished by knowledge; I mean the love of power, which has been so often the cause of slavery, — has, whenever freedom has existed, been the cause of freedom. If it is this principle that has always prompted the princes and nobles of the earth, by every species of fraud and violence to shake off all the limitations of their power, it is the same that has always stimulated the common people to aspire at independency, and to endeavor at confining the power of the great within the limits of equity and reason. Continue reading