American Minute with Bill Federer
The Wisdom of John Adams: on Liberty, Tyranny, & the need for Christian virtue
A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,
"The desire of dominion ... when ... restraints are taken off ... becomes an encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable power ... contrived by the great for the gratification of this passion ...
Originally formed ... for the necessary defense ... against ... invasions ... yet ...
tyranny, cruelty, and lust
... was soon
adopted by almost all the princes of Europe ...
The people were held in ignorance ... till
God in his benign providence raised up the champions who began and conducted the Reformation.
From the time of the
Reformation to the first settlement of America,
knowledge gradually spread in Europe, but especially
and in proportion as that increased and
spread among the people ... tyranny ... lost ... strength."
was born OCTOBER 30, 1735.
A Harvard graduate, he was admitted to the bar and in 1764, married
the daughter of a Congregational minister.
In 1765, Britain enacted the
which would be equivalent to a modern-day Internet tax, online censorship or government surveillance of emails.
"It seems very manifest from
the Stamp Act
itself, that a design is formed to
in a great measure
of the means of knowledge,
by loading the
and even an
newspaper, with restraints and duties."
the Stamp Act, Adams
wrote instructions to representatives from
town of Braintree
being sent to the
Massachusetts General Court:
"The late acts of Parliament ... divest us of our most essential rights and liberties ...
The Stamp Act
... a very burdensome, and... unconstitutional tax, is to be laid upon us ...
We are subjected to ...
for, and recovered, at the option of
in a court of admiralty,
without a jury
... would be
drain the country of its cash,
strip multitudes of all their property, and
reduce them to absolute beggary
subject to any tax
to which he has not given
his own consent."
A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,
"It was this great struggle that peopled
... by a sensible people ...
the Puritans ...
people had been so vexed and tortured
by the powers of those days, for no other crime than their knowledge and their freedom of inquiry ... they at last resolved to
fly to the wilderness for refuge ...
After their arrival here, they ... formed
their plan, both of ecclesiastical and civil government,
opposition to the canon and the feudal systems ...
I always consider
the settlement of America with reverence and wonder,
as the opening of
a grand scene and design in Providence
for the illumination of the ignorant, and the
emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth ..."
in every form, shape, and appearance was their disdain ...
They saw clearly, that
must be placed as ...
a control, a balance, to the powers of the monarch
... or else it would soon become
the man of sin, the whore of Babylon, the mystery of iniquity,
a great and detestable system of fraud, violence, and usurpation.
Their greatest concern seems to have been to establish
a government of the church
more consistent with
a government of the state
more agreeable to
the dignity of human nature,
than any they had seen in Europe ...
To render the popular power in
their new government
as great and wise ... as human nature and
the Christian religion
require it should be, they ... had an utter contempt ... of hereditary, indefeasible right ... of passive obedience and non-resistance ...
They thought all such
were ... inconsistent with ... that
religious liberty with which Jesus had made them free ..."
"Original ... government
despotic ... arbitrary, lawless power ...
But knowledge diffused generally through the whole body of the people ... their
civil and religious principles ...
For this purpose they laid very early the
foundations of colleges, and ... seminaries
... They made it a crime for such a town to be destitute of a grammar schoolmaster ...
Education of all ranks of people
was made the care and expense of the public, in a manner that I believe has been unknown to any other people ancient or modern ...
A native of America who cannot read and write is as rare ... as a comet or an earthquake ...
must at all hazards be supported.
We have a right to it,
our Maker ..."
cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people,
who have a right ... to knowledge, as their
who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know ...
Rulers are no more than ... trustees for the people;
if the ... trust is insidiously betrayed,
or wantonly trifled away,
the people have a right to revoke the authority
... and to constitute abler and better ... trustees ...
The jaws of power are always opened to devour,
and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to
destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing
Be not intimidated,
therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom, whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country ...
I hope in God
the time is near at hand when they will be fully convinced of your understanding, integrity and courage ...
Let us not suppose that all are become
luxurious, effeminate, and unreasonable,
on the other side the water, as many designing persons would insinuate.
Let us presume, what is in fact true, that the spirit of liberty is as ardent as ever among
the body of the nation
Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write
stated in A
Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law:
"Let us study ... the great
examples of Greece and Rome
... the conduct of
our own British ancestors,
who have defended for us the
inherent rights of mankind
against foreign and
domestic tyrants and usurpers,
against arbitrary kings and cruel priests, in short,
against the gates of earth and hell ...
Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of
religious liberty ...
Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among
the works of God,
- that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in
the sight of God
as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happiness, - and that
has promulgated from
heaven, liberty, peace, and good-will to man!"
When the Revolution started,
Thomas Jefferson pen the Declaration.
Novanglus: A History of the Dispute with America, from its Origin,
in 1754, to the Present Time
(published Feb. 6. 1775) ,
the duty of the clergy
to accommodate their discourses to the times, to
preach against such sins
as are most prevalent, and
recommend such virtues
as are most wanted ...
If exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to
warn their hearers against those vices?
If public spirit is much wanted, should they not
inculcate this great virtue?
rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects
are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how much soever it may move the gall of Massachusetts."
Massachusetts Constitution, 1780,
described as the
world's oldest functioning written constitution,
a model for the United States Constitution. It stated:
happiness of a people
and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially
depend upon piety, religion and morality;
and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of
the Public worship of God
... the people of this commonwealth ... authorize ...
the public worship of God,
and for the support and maintenance of
public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality ...
every denomination of Christians,
demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth,
shall be equally under the protection of the law ...
The Governor shall be chosen annually; and
no person shall be eligible to this office, unless
... he shall declare himself to be of
the Christian religion ...
Any person chosen governor, lieutenant governor, counselor, senator or representative, and accepting the trust, shall ... make ... the following declaration, viz.- "I, A. B., do declare, that
I believe the Christian religion,
and have a firm persuasion of its truth."
was U.S. Minister to France, where,
together with Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and David Hartley,
signed the Treaty of Paris,
September 3, 1783, officially
ending the Revolutionary War:
"In the name of the
Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.
It having pleased the
to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the Grace of God,
King of Great Britain,
France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith ... and of the
United States of America,
to forget all past misunderstandings and differences ...
Done at Paris, this third day of September,
in the year of our Lord
one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three."
While U.S. Minister to Britain,
his former king,
helped ratify the U.S. Constitution by writing
Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the United States,
Initially, Presidential elections designated the
as the one who received
the most votes,
was the one who received the
second most votes.
was so popular that he was elected
serving under George Washington.
insisted on only serving two terms,
was elected the
2nd U.S. President
He established the
Library of Congress
Department of Navy.
John Quincy Adams,
became 6th President.
"Have you ever found in history, one single example of a nation thoroughly
that was afterwards restored to virtue? ...
there can be no political liberty ...
Will you tell me
how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly? ...
in favor of virtue
wrote in his diary, June 2, 1778:
"In vain are schools, academies, and universities instituted, if
loose principles and licentious
habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years ...
The vices and examples of the parents cannot be concealed from the children.
How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the sacred obligations of
Morality or Religion
if, from their earliest infancy ... their fathers (are) in as constant infidelity to their mothers?"
On June 21, 1776,
"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is
Religion and Morality
alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.
The only foundation
of a free Constitution is
if this cannot be inspired into our people
in a greater measure, than they have it now,
they may change their rulers
and the forms of government, but
they will not obtain a lasting liberty."
Schedule Bill Federer for informative interviews & captivating PowerPoint presentations: 314-502-8924
American Minute is a registered trademark of William J. Federer. Permission is granted to forward, reprint, or duplicate, with acknowledgment.