John Adams quote re. non-divine origin of United States government

In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], 

John Adams wrote: 

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. 

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind." 

Views: 62

Comment

You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Michael Penn on May 22, 2014 at 6:36pm

My first time reading it, but such a wonderful quote by John Adams. Now watch someone come along again and claim that all of our founding fathers were theists. I'm sick of it.

Comment by Larry Taylor on May 19, 2014 at 9:32pm
Not to throw cold water, but I have seen this quote many times. And a well read xtian will usually finish the quote.
"The experiment is made, and has completely succeeded: it can no longer be called in question, whether authority in magistrates, and obedience of citizens, can be grounded on reason, morality, and the Christian religion, without the monkery of priests, or the knavery of politicians. As the writer was personally acquainted with most of the gentlemen in each of the states, who had the principal share in the first draughts, the following letters were really written to lay before the gentleman to whom they are addressed, a specimen of that kind of reading and reasoning which produced the American constitutions."
Comment by k.h. ky on May 18, 2014 at 3:48pm
Excellent, John, Excellent.
Comment by Sentient Biped on May 18, 2014 at 10:13am

Great quote!  Thank you!

I wonder when "men [and women] are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition,?  In US govt?

Comment by Pat on May 18, 2014 at 9:46am

John, this is an excellent quote. And as usual, the truth will be ignored by the bible thumpers and tambourine bangers in favor of the Big Lie that "America is a Christian nation."  That piece of modern lying propaganda is really as ancient as the first thug and dictator wielded power over the weak and gullible. It's the same old tired ploy - lie about whatever you need to. Because, whatever you do, the ends justify the means.

Comment by Loren Miller on May 18, 2014 at 9:34am

I had seen this quote before, but I agree that it deserves a further and wider airing.  This is a portion of US history which is barely covered, if it is covered at all, which leaves room for those who want to promote the idea that the US is a christian nation to push their agendas.

We need to slam the door in their faces, and this quote and others like it are the means to that end.

Comment by Idaho Spud on May 18, 2014 at 7:55am

Thanks for that quote John.

Comment by Randall Smith on May 18, 2014 at 7:43am

I was unaware of this particular Adams quote. His "Treaty of Tripoli" quote is widely known among atheists, however.

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

 

Latest Activity

Pat commented on Sentient Biped's group Food!
4 minutes ago
Sentient Biped replied to Bertold Brautigan's discussion And Now, for Something Totally New in Televangelism - Televangelist pastor accused of forcing vasectomies and abortions on church members
16 minutes ago
Randall Smith commented on Ruth Anthony-Gardner's group Hang With Friends
55 minutes ago
Pat replied to Bertold Brautigan's discussion And Now, for Something Totally New in Televangelism - Televangelist pastor accused of forcing vasectomies and abortions on church members
57 minutes ago
Randall Smith commented on Sentient Biped's group Food!
1 hour ago
Randall Smith commented on Richard C Brown's group learnerscoffeeshack
1 hour ago
Randall Smith replied to Nick Bottom's discussion New books on the secular life in the group Nexus Book Club
1 hour ago
Mequa replied to Deidre's discussion What are u listening to?
1 hour ago
damian replied to Deidre's discussion What are u listening to?
1 hour ago
Loren Miller replied to Bertold Brautigan's discussion And Now, for Something Totally New in Televangelism - Televangelist pastor accused of forcing vasectomies and abortions on church members
1 hour ago
Pat replied to Bertold Brautigan's discussion And Now, for Something Totally New in Televangelism - Televangelist pastor accused of forcing vasectomies and abortions on church members
2 hours ago
Loren Miller replied to Bertold Brautigan's discussion And Now, for Something Totally New in Televangelism - Televangelist pastor accused of forcing vasectomies and abortions on church members
2 hours ago

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service