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Historical Error #7: A Bogus Quotation from John Adams on Debt as a Means of Conquest

Gary North
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Lawyer Ellen Brown presents quotations from famous people and expects her readers to be impressed. I am not impressed, since too many of the quotations are fakes.

On page 47 of The Web of Debt, we read:

President John Adams is quoted as saying, "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword. The other is by debt."

Yes, he is quoted to this effect. Lawyer Brown is one of those who quote him.

He never said it.

Go to Google. Search for this quotation or anything like it. You will find it on obscure websites and blogs. You will not find it in the collected works of Adams. You will not find it cited in a book by a scholar of the era of John Adams.

Why does this woman think that citing bogus statements will help her case? She quoted a fake 1927 speech by Josiah Stamp. She quoted a fake undated speech by Benjamin Franklin. This is not scholarship.

If she merely did this accidentally, then she is not qualified to be taken seriously on this subject.

It gets worse. Much worse.

For her response to my criticism, plus my response, go here:


For a detailed critique of Ellen Brown's economics, go here:

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