What is the origin of John Adams' quote:

the rights of Englishmen are derived from God, not from king or Parliament, and would be secured by the study of history, law, and tradition.

In other words, is there a particular document or speech in which Adams wrote or said this? And if so, what is it? I've searched on the internet, but I can't seem to find it.

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    Hi HM88, welcome to politics.SE! I voted to close this question because it does not concern contemporary politics, which is the focus of this site. You could try asking it on history.SE. Alternatively, skeptics.SE sometimes confirms if quotes are correctly attributed. Please check out these sites' rules before deciding where to ask. For example, history will require you to document your research so far while skeptics will want to see a notable claim that this indeed a quote by Adams.
    – xyldke
    Dec 1, 2023 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


John Adams was Samuel Adams son, so see SA's Rights of the Colonists, which seems to echo similar sentiments and surely influenced the younger Adams. Ultimately though, I expect this reaches back to John Locke's Two Treatises on Government, which was the groundwork for most of Classical Liberal thinking, and decidedly stressed the rights of individuals against any government.

Unfortunately (perhaps), thinkers in the Classical Liberal era were not overly given to citations, so we have to intuit answers to questions like this.

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