“Obsta principiis”!

John Adams“Obsta principiis*, nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.”

~ John Adams, Novanglus letters, 1774. *Obsta principiis (Latin, “nip it in the bud”)

To read the full text of the letter this quotation is excerpted from, click here. The hyperlink directs you to the Online Library of Liberty, a project of Liberty Fund, Inc., an exceptional, content rich resource for formal and informal students of history. Click on the photo below to visit  their main page.Online Library of Liberty

3 thoughts on ““Obsta principiis”!

  1. here’s the weird thing Alan…I had a though similar to this on the way home from town this morning…that things are happening so fast & so close together that we are being overwhelmed by sheer volume, but we have NO other alternative but to stand firm…I said on FB this morning that we need to confront lies at everyturn because the TRUTH not only sets us free it keeps us free…and if not me then WHO, if not now then WHEN? Glad to be in the trenches with ya!!!

    • Thank you, Kelly! I certainly understand your sentiments. This one’s in mind often, yet our predicament seems more accurately addressed with “nip it in bloom”.

  2. Pingback: Not With a Bang but a Whimper | Constitutional Writes

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