John Adams Encourages Equity

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November is Native American Heritage month. This post is the first in a series of historic Presidential quotes on Native American rights and the political relations between the United States government and the first nations of this continent.

Fair warning: Most of these statements are not nice and, at times, can be difficult to read. (They also make excellent starting points for a research paper.)

The following quote is the first mention of Native peoples within the context of a presidential inaugural speech. It is also part of a very long list of objectives for the upcoming years in office, so I have included a few additional examples from that list, for purposes of context and comparison.

JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1797

“…if a love of equal laws, of justice, and humanity in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufacturers for necessity, convenience, and defense;…”

“…if a spirit of equity and humanity toward the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them;…”

“…if a resolution to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; …”

“…can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

John Adams: Education and the Constitution

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JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1797

…a love of science and letters and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our Constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, the profligacy of corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments…”

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

John Adams: Elections, Money and Foreign Control

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JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1797

If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good. If that solitary suffrage can be obtained by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the Government may not be the choice of the American people, but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations who govern us, and not we, the people, who govern ourselves; and candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.”

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States¬†Presidents.

John Adams: People Centric Government

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JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1797

Can authority be more amiable and respectable when it descends from accidents or institutions established in remote antiquity than when it springs fresh from the hearts and judgments of an honest and enlightened people? For it is the people only that are represented.

“If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.