Gordon S. Wood Quotes

Academics have given up trying to recover an honest picture of the past and have decided that their history-writing should be simply an instrument of moral hand-wringing.

Virtue became less the harsh and martial self-sacrifice of antiquity and more the modern willingness to get along with others for the sake of peace and prosperity.

[John Adams] diary of course is even more revealing of his feelings. Both his letters to [his wife] Abigail and his diary tell us what he really thinks about people and events.

By 1782 [John Adams] had come to feel for [Benjamin] Franklin "no other sentiments than Contempt or Abhorrence.

More than any other figure in our history [Tomas] Jefferson is responsible for the idea of American exceptionalism.

[John] Adams never hid his jealousy and resentment of the other Founders especially Benjamin Franklin.

[Benjamin] Franklin may be a great philosopher [John Adams] told his diary in 1779 but "as a Legislator in America he has done very little.

History is the queen of the humanities. It teaches wisdom and humility and it tells us how things change through time.

[Tomas] Jefferson believed that the United States was a chosen nation with a special responsibility to spread democracy around the world.

[John] Adams was the best and most colorful stylist among the Founders. Although [Tomas] Jefferson is widely regarded as the smoothest writer Adams is by far the most engaging and imaginative.

After [Tomas] Jefferson's defeat of [John] Adams in the presidential election of 1800 they didn't communicate with one another for more than a decade.

The relationship between [John] Adams and [Tomas] Jefferson was extraordinary. They differed on every conceivable issue except on the Revolution and the love of their country.

It was [John's Adams] Massachusetts constitution if anything that influenced people.

By the time [John Adams] came to write his Defence of the Constitutions of the United States in 1787 he had as dark a view of the American character as that of any critic in our history.

[John Adams' writings] had indicted the United States for slavishly copying the English constitution by erecting bicameral legislatures in their state constitutions most drafted in 1776.

I think [John] Adams was correct when he said that his May resolutions were "an Epocha a decisive Event " and tantamount to a declaration of independence.

[John Adams] is impressed with [Tomas] Jefferson's learning but noted his silence during the debates in the Congress: "I never heard him utter three Sentences together.

Americans [John Adams] wrote in 1780 believed that their "revolution is as much for the benefit of the generality of Mankind in Europe as for their own.

If history teaches anything it teaches humility.