Quotations – from Tea Party to independence


This page contains a collection of American Revolution quotations from revolutionary leaders, contemporary figures and prominent historians, from the Boston Tea Party to independence. These quotations have been gathered and compiled by Alpha History authors. We are adding new quotations to this page in October-December 2015. If you would like to contribute an interesting or useful quotation, please contact Alpha History.

“Tarring and feathering, drowning or gouging would most certainly be the punishment… for calling into question the authority of the Committee of Correspondence… America, it’s said, is contending for Liberty! At the same time they deny the British merchants resident here the liberty of pursuing their interest in a legal manner, of speaking their opinions, almost of thinking contrary to their opinions.”
Henry Fleming, 1774

“The New Englanders, by their canting, whining and insinuating tricks, have persuaded the rest of the colonies that the government is going to make absolute slaves of them.”
Nicholas Cresswell, British tourist, 1774


“The die is now cast; the colonies must either submit or triumph…. we must not retreat.”
George III, 1774

“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable.”
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking up Arms, 1775

“We are determined to listen to nothing from the illegal congress.”
George III, 1775

“A great empire and little minds go ill together.”
Edmund Burke, 1775

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Fordid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Attributed to Patrick Henry, 1775

“Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ’tis time to part!'”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“The fate of Charles I has only made kings more subtle, not more just.”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“A French bastard landing with armed bandits and establishing himseli as king of England against the consent of the natives… a very paltry rascal! [He] certainly has no divinity.”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“Of more worth is one honest man to society than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“There is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular; you are very much otherwise. And you can write ten times better than I can.”
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 1776

“During the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together.”
John Adams on Thomas Jefferson

“You are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. [Also] I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. [Also] You can write ten times better than I can.”
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, on writing the Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable: that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence, 1776

“Nothing of importance happened today.”
George III’s diary, July 4th 1776

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
Samuel Adams, 1776

“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and to support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.”
John Adams, 1776

“The moment that the independence of America is agreed to by our government, the sun of Great Britain is set and we shall no longer be a powerful or respectable people.”
The Earl of Shelburne, 1778