Quotes from the Founding Fathers
"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Trust in Him at all times, ye people, pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.
"Charleston is laid in ashes. The battle began upon our entrenchments upon Bunker's Hill, Saturday morning about 3 o'clock, and has not ceased yet, and it is now three o'clock Sabbath afternoon. It is expected they will come out over the Neck tonight, and a dreadful battle must ensue. Almighty God, cover the heads of our countrymen, and be a shield to our dear friends..."
"A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men? Can he be a patriot who, by an openly vicious conduct, is undermining the very bonds of Society?....The Scriptures tell us "righteousness exalteth a Nation."
"[America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is in the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, PEACE. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice."
"[America] has . . . respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings . . . Whenever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own . . . She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change form liberty to force . . . She might become the dictatress of the world . . . "
July 4, 1774
"We went to meeting at Wells and had the pleasure of hearing my friend upon "Be not partakers in other men's sins. Keep yourselves pure.
"We...took our horses to the meeting in the afternoon and heard the minister again upon "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." There is great pleasure in hearing sermons so serious, so clear, so sensible and instructive as these ...."
October 9, 1774
"This day I went to Dr. Allison's meeting in the afternoon, and heard the Dr. Francis Allison . . . give a good discourse upon the Lord's Supper .... I had rather go to Church. We have better sermons, better prayers, better speakers, softer, sweeter music, and genteeler company. And I must confess that the Episcopal church is quite as agreeable to my taste as the Presbyterian.... I like the Congregational way best, next to that the Independent...."
"It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how muchsoever it may move the gall of Massachusetts."
June 21, 1776
"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.
"The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."
July 1, 1776
"Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgement approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence for ever!"
In a July 1, 1776 letter to Archibald Bullock, former member of the Continental Congress from Georgia, Adams wrote:
"The object is great which We have in View, and We must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But We should always remember that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing, on this side (of) the New Jerusalem, of equal importance to Mankind."
July 3, 1776
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end ofthis continent to the other, from this time forward forever.
"You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not."
In concern for his sons, John Adams advised his wife Abigail to:
"Let them revere nothing but Religion, Morality and Liberty."
Oct. 11, 1798 (Address to the military)
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government ofany other."
On March 6, 1799, President John Adams called for a National Fast Day.
"As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgement of the growing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness ofindividuals and to the well-being of communities....
"I have thought proper to recommend, and I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to his righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind; that He would make us deeply sensible that "righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34)"
On November 2, 1800, John Adams became the first president to move into the White House. As he was writing a letter to his wife, he composed a beautiful prayer, which was later engraved upon the mantel in the state dining room:
"I pray Heaven to bestow THE BEST OF BLESSINGS ON THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter Inhabit it, May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof."
August 28, 1811
"Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society."
June 28, 1813
"Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System."
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams wrote:
"Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?... And without virtue, there can be no political liberty....Will you tell me how to prevent riches from becoming the effects of temperance and industry? Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly?...I believe no effort in favor is lost..."
In a letter dated November 4, 1816, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
"The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion..."
December 27, 1816
"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation."
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have...a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the character and conduct of their rulers."
John Quincy Adams
"Duty is ours; results are God's."
September, 1811, in a letter to his son:
"I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once ever year.... My custom is, to read four to five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. I employs about an hour of my time...."
July 4, 1821
"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
"From the day of the Declaration...they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct."
July 4, 1837
"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day. Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday ofthe Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation ofthe Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before."
"I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity."
"Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
February 27, 1844
"The Bible carries with it the history of the creation, the fall and redemption of man, and discloses to him, in the infant born at Bethlehem, the Legislator and Savior of the world."
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom -- go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"
"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; second, to liberty; third, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of ... the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and ernter into another.... Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent?" (Nov 20, 1772)
"The rights of the colonists as Christians...may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament." (From The Rights of Colonists, 1772)
As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776, Samuel Adams declared:
"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."
"He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of this country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man....The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people."
"He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections." --in a letter to James Warren, Nov. 4, 1775--
"The said constitution shall never be construed to authorize congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
Samuel Adams wrote in his Will:
"Principally, and first of all, I resign my soul to the Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying on the merits of Jesus Christ for the pardon of my sins."
(Author of the First Amendment)
"Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples are captivating and noble....In no Book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant, and by teaching all the same they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith."
(Founder of the University of Georgia)
"It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality, and early to place the youth under the forming hand of society, that by instruction they may be molded to the love of virtue and good order."
Sir William Blackstone
(Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law was the recognized authority on the law for well over a century after 1776)
"Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being....And, consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker's will...this will of his Maker is called the law of nature. These laws laid down by God are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil...This law of nature dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this...
"The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures...[and] are found upon comparison to be really part of the original law of nature. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.
"Blasphemy against the Almighty is denying his being or providence, or uttering contumelious reproaches on our Savior Christ. It is punished, at common law by fine and imprisonment, for Christianity is part of the laws of the land.
"If [the legislature] will positively enact a thing to be done, the judges are not at liberty to reject it, for that were to set the judicial power above that of the legislature, which should be subversive of all government."
"The preservation of Christianity as a national religion is abstracted from its own intrinsic truth, of the utmost consequence to the civil state, which a single instance will sufficiently demonstrate.
"The belief of a future state of rewards and punishments, the entertaining just ideas of the main attributes ofthe Supreme Being, and a firm persuasion that He superintends and will finally compensate every action in human life (all which are revealed in the doctrines of our Savior, Christ), these are the grand foundations of all judicial oaths, which call God to witness the truth of those facts which perhaps may be only known to Him and the party attesting; all moral evidences, therefore, all confidence in human veracity, must be weakened by apostasy, and overthrown by total infidelity.
"Wherefore, all affronts to Christianity, or endeavors to depreciate its efficacy, in those who have once professed it, are highly deserving of censure."
"By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty."
"They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Congressional Congress, 1787
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God Governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
"I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."
In 1748, as Pennsylvania's Governor, Benjamin Franklin proposed Pennsylvania's first Fast Day:
"It is the duty of mankind on all suitable occasions to acknowledge their dependence on the Divine Being... [that] Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations...[and that] He would take this province under his protection, confound the designs and defeat the attempts of its enemies, and unite our hearts and strengthen our hands in every undertaking that may be for the public good, and for our defense and security in this time of danger."
"I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and governed it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded either here or hereafter.
"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.
"The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit."
Benjamin Franklin, in July of 1776, was appointed part of a committee to draft a seal for the newly united states which would characterize the spirit of this new nation. He proposed:
"Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: 'Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
"A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district--all studied and appreciated as they merit--are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty."
Ben Franklin wrote a pamphlet called, "Information to Those who would Remove to America." It was intended to be a guide for Europeans who were thinking of relocating in America. In it he said:
"Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced.
"Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.
"And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects treat each other; by the remarkable prosperity with which he has been pleased to favor the whole country."
"Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That he ought to be worshipped."
Benjamin Franklin wrote his own epitaph:
"THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN Printer
Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents torn out,
And stripped of its lettering and gilding
Lies here, food for worms;
Yet the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more,
In a new,
And more beautiful edition,
Corrected and amended
By the AUTHOR"
Letter from Benjamin Franklin To George Whitefield, July 2, 1756
I received your Favour of the 24th. of February with great Pleasure, as it inform’d me of your Welfare, and express’d your continu’d Regard for me. I thank you for the Pamphlet you enclos’d to me. As we had just observ’d a Provincial Fast on the same Occasion, I thought it very seasonable to be publish’d in Pensilvania, and accordingly reprinted it immediately.
You mention your frequent Wish that you were a Chaplain to an American Army. I sometimes wish, that you and I were jointly employ’d by the Crown to settle a Colony on the Ohio. I imagine we could do it effectually, and without putting the Nation to much Expence. But I fear we shall never be call’d upon for such a Service. What a glorious Thing it would be, to settle in that fine Country a large Strong Body of Religious and Industrious People! What a Security to the other Colonies; and Advantage to Britain, by Increasing her People, Territory, Strength and Commerce. Might it not greatly facilitate the Introduction of pure Religion among the Heathen, if we could, by such a Colony, show them a better Sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian Traders, the most vicious and abandoned Wretches of our Nation? Life, like a dramatic Piece, should not only be conducted with Regularity, but methinks it should finish handsomely. Being now in the last Act, I begin to cast about for something fit to end with. Or if mine be more properly compar’d to an Epigram, as some of its few Lines are but barely tolerable, I am very desirous of concluding with a bright Point. In such an Enterprize I could spend the Remainder of Life with Pleasure; and I firmly believe God would bless us with Success, if we undertook it with a sincere Regard to his Honour, the Service of our gracious King, and (which is the same thing) the Publick Good.
I thank you cordially for your generous Benefaction to the German Schools.4 They go on pretty well, and will do better, when Mr. Smith, who has at present the principal Care of them, shall learn to mind Party-Writing and Party Politicks less and his proper Business more; which I hope time will bring about.
I thank you for your good Wishes and Prayers, and am, with the greatest Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir Your most obedient humble Servant
(Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust (the office of President) was to be confided.... Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.... The process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.... It will not be too strong to say that there be constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue...." ( In Federalist No. 68)
"I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. second: The support of the United States.
"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.
"A...virtuous citizen will regard his own country as a wife, to whom he is bound to be exclusively faithful and affectionate; and he will watch...every propensity of his heart to wander towards a foreign country, which he will regard as a mistress that may pervert his fidelity."
April 15, 1775
"In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements....All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness--and all created Power Vanity;
"It is the Happiness of his Church that, when the Powers of Earth and Hell combine against it...that the Throne of Grace is of the easiest access--and its Appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who has assured it, that when his Children ask Bread he will not give them a Stone....
"RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven."
By Order of the [Massachusetts] Provincial
Congress, John Hancock, President.
March 23, 1775
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."
"Bad men cannot make good citizens. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom."
"It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains."
"The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun."
On November 20, 1798, in his Last Will and Testament, Patrick Henry wrote:
"This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed."
(America's first Supreme Court Chief Justice and Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)
October 12, 1816
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
In his Last Will and Testament, John Jay wrote:
"Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His merciful and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by his beloved Son."
"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
John F. Kennedy to Nobel Prize winners of the Western Hemisphere, at a White House function, April 29, 1962
"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, Monticello, 28 May 1816. Ford 11:533
"I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe."
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787
"Self-love . . . is the sole antagonist of virtue, leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others."
"(If a) people (are) so demoralized and depraved as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome control, their reformation must be taken up ab incunablis (from the beginning). Their minds (must) be informed by education what is right and what wrong, (must) be encouraged in habits of virtue and deterred from those of vice by the dread of punishments, proportioned indeed, but irremissible. In all cases, (they must) follow truth as the only safe guide and eschew error which bewilders us in one false consequence after another in endless succession. These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of order and good government."
In a letter to John Adams in 1819
"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and it time depraves all its good dispositions." (1785)
"I never ... believed there was one code of morality for a public and another for a private man."
In a letter to Don Valentine de Feronda, 1809
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
Thomas Jefferson to A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy, 1820.
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government."
Senator John Sharp Williams, Thomas Jefferson: His Permamnent Influence on American Institutions, p.49 (1913). Lecture delivered at Columbia University, New York City, 1912.
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
Letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."
"To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..."
"I consider the doctrines of Jesus as delivered by himself to contain the outlines of the sublimest system of morality that has ever been taught but I hold in the most profound detestation and execration the corruptions of it which have been invented..."
As President, Thomas Jefferson not only signed bills which appropriated financial support for chaplains in Congress and in the armed services, but he also signed the Articles of War, April 10, 1806, in which he:
"Earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend divine services."
In a letter to Horatio G. Spafford, dated March 17, 1814, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."
"A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian; that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."
"I have always said, I always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."
Jefferson declared that religion is: "Deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support."
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
Thomas Jefferson, while writing the 1st draft of the Virginia State Constitution.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
Jefferson's "separation of church & state letter written to the Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut on January 1, 1802
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which are so good to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, of prohibiting the free excercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem."
Thomas Jefferson's April 13, 1809, letter to Albemarle Buckmountain Baptist Church in Virginia:
“We have acted together from the origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.”
Francis Scott Key
February 22, 1812
"The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness, a lantern to his feet and a lamp unto his paths.' He will therefore seek to establish for his country in the eyes of the world, such a character as shall make her not unworthy of the name of a Christian nation...."
(Architect of the U.S. Constitution & Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance."
"There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent an sudden usurpation."
"[It] is indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the Community agst [against] the incapicity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate."
From his notes
Note: Perfidy is defined as "The quality or state of being faithless or disloyal."
"Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ."
"Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government."
"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage....Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
"No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued. Shall any man be above Justice?
"... If the people should elect, they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak of continental reputation... a notoriety and eminence of character... to merit this high trust ... an Executive Magistrate of distinguished character... an object of general attention and esteem...." (1787)
"Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God."
"Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation."
Dr. Jedidah Morse
"To the kindly influence of Christianity, we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion, as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of the nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom and approximate the miseries of complete despotism." (1799)
John Peter Muhlenberg
(He was elected as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1774, and was a 30-year-old pastor who preached on the Christian's responsibility to be involved in securing freedom for America. He was the son of Henry Muhlenberg, one of the founders of the Lutheran Church in America.)
In 1775, after preaching a message on Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven," John Peter Muhlenberg closed his message by saying:
"In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight."
He then threw off his robes to reveal the uniform of a soldier in the Revolutionary Army. That afternoon, at the head of 300 men, he marched off to join General Washington's troops, becoming Colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment. He served until the end of the war being promoted to the rank of Major-general. In 1785 he became the Vice-President of Pennsylvania and in 1790 was a member ofthe Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. He then served as a U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania and in 1801 was elected to the U. S. Senate.
"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God." "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
"What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, some say, is the king of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above.
"Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be placed on the divine law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon.
"The Almighty implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our heart. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals."
"I would give worlds, if I had them, if The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone."
"I die in perfect composure and resignation to the will of my Creator, God."
(Founder of Pennsylvania)
"If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him....Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
"Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a "halter" intimidate. For, under God, we are determined that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our exit, we will die free men."
"By removing the Bible from schools we would be wasting so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime."
"I have alternately been called an Aristocrat and a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat."
"The only foundation for useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion."
(He was the British Governor of Connecticut who had been appointed by King George III. He was also the father of the famous Revolutionary artist of the same name. Jonathan Trumbull became sympathetic to the American cause in 1773.)
"If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ."
George Washington And Free Masonary
"... So far as I am acquainted with the principles and Doctrines of Free Masonry, I conceive them to be founded on benevolence and to be exercised for the good of mankind. If it has been a Cloak to promote improper or nefarious objects, it is a melancholly proof that in unworthy hands, the best institutions may be made use of to promote the worst designs."(44)
Rev. G.W. Snyder, who said he was with the Reformed Church of Fredericktown, Maryland,(46) sent Washington a letter on August 22, 1798, saying, "a Society of Free Masons, that distinguished itself by the name of 'Illuminati,' whose Plan is to over throw all Government and all Religion....it might be within your power to prevent the Horrid plan from corrupting the brethren of the English Lodges over which you preside."(47)
September 25, 1798, Washington wrote a letter to Snyder, including the following language, referring to Masonic lodges:
"... to correct an error ..., of my presiding over English Lodges in this country. The fact is I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice within the last thirty years...."(48)
October 24, 1798
Washington wrote another letter to Rev. Snyder, after Snyder responded to Washington's previous letter. Washington included the following language in this letter:
"... [referring to] the doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobism ... in the United States....I did not believe that the Lodges of Freemasons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavored to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or the pernicious principles of the latter.... That individuals of them may have done it ... is too evident to be questioned...."(49)
George Washington may have attended, at most, 9 Lodge meetings in his entire life after he became a Master Mason, plus a few other Masonic Lodge events (not Lodge meetings) as listed. There is no proof that he attended several of the events in this list, just claims by Masons who may have been basing their claims on rumors.
Washington admired the principles and goals of Freemasonry, but he was not very familiar with them and did not attempt to learn more about Freemasonry.
Washington wrote letters indicating that he was happy to be a Mason; presided in a major Masonic ceremony laying the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in Masonic regalia, and possibly in some other Masonic ceremonies; never sought to resign or repudiate his Masonic membership; and did not say or do anything negative toward Freemasonry, other than that some Masons promoted the radicalism of the French Revolution (as did others).
However, there is little or no evidence that Washington attended many Masonic lodge meetings in his whole life after becoming a Mason 1753.
Washington attended at most 3 meetings, possibly fewer or none (he may have attended dinners but not the preceding meetings), of the lodge that today is called Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22, and of which he was the first Master under its Virginia Charter. While he was Master of that lodge, he did not do anything to assist the work of the lodge, and he attended, at most, one meeting (if he attended that one), when officers were reelected. There is no indication that he actually presided as Master on that occasion and it is unlikely that he did so. Paintings and sculpture showing Washington presiding as a Master of that or any other Masonic lodge are probably based only on wishful thinking.
Some Masons may have gotten carried away with their delight that the most eminent citizen of the United States, George Washington, joined the Freemasons when we was very young and continued to be a member throughout his life and wrote letters supporting Freemasonry, and they may have attempted to portray him as an active and enthusiastic member of the Craft even though the evidence indicates that he was not.
George Washington was apparently a Mason who was not very interested in attending lodge meetings, although there is considerable evidence that he was happy to be a member and publicly supported Freemasonry.
George Washington quotes continued:
"It is not my intention to doubt that the doctrine of the Illuminati and the principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied of this fact than I am.
The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in _this_ Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of separation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a separation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned."
"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been...to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other Country. To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home."
"Government is not reason; it is not eloqence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
"The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet, than live on his knees!"
From Washington's First Inaugural address, “I hope that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality. The preeminence of free government exemplifies by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world."
"The General orders this day to be religiously observed by the forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the Continental Congress. It is therefore strictly enjoined on all officers and soldiers to attend Divine service, And it is expected that all those who go to worship do take their arms, ammunition and accoutrements, and are prepared for immediate action, if called upon."
"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them.
The fate of unborn millions will now depend. under God, on the courage of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore to resolve to conquer or die."
"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion.
To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian."
In his Inaugural Speech, April 30, 1789,
"...it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes...."
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States."
October 3, 1789, National Day of Thanksgiving
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor....
"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States...
"that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection ofthe people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war;
"for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed....
"And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions...to promote the knowledge and practice of the true religion and virtue....
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd of October, A.D. 1789"
George Washington's personal prayer book, consisting of 24 pages in his field notebook, written in his own handwriting, reveal the depth of his character:
"SUNDAY MORNING....Almighty God, and most merciful Father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to Thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise Thee for Thy protection both night and day, receive O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee;
"I yield Thee humble and hearty thanks, that Thou hast preserved me from the dangers of the night past and brought me to the Light of this day, and the comfort thereof, a day which is consecrated to Thine own service and for Thine own honour.
"Let my heart therefore gracious God be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works but wait on Thee, and discharge those weighty duties Thou required of me: and since Thou art a God of pure eyes, and will be sanctified in all who draw nearer to Thee, who dost not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in Thy courts, pardon I beseech Thee, my sins, remove them from Thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of Thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into Thy temple and compass Thine altar, my prayer may come before Thee as incense, and as I desire Thou wouldst hear me calling upon Thee in my prayers, so give me peace to hear the calling on me in Thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of my soul in the day ofthe Lord Jesus.
"Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me gracious God, the good work for which Thou hast sent it.
"Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day and forever for His sake, who lay down in the grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
"It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being."
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens."
Washington proclaimed firearms to be "the people's liberty teeth."
"There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from anothe quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing."
"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."
"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may ovenvhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
"Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.
"Let us cherish these sentiments, and extend this influence still more widely; in full conviction that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity."
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it."
"The hand that destroys the Constitution rends our Union asunder forever."
"Thank God! I--I also--am an American!"
"If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy, If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end."
"I shall stand by the Union, and by all who stand by it. I shall do justice to the whole country...in all I say, and act for the good of the whole country in all I do. I mean to stand upon the Constitution. I need no other platform. I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's, and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American; and I intend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute disregard of personal consequences.What are the personal consequences? What is the individual man, with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great transactions which concern that country's fate? Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless. No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer, or if he fall, in the defense of the liberties and constitution of his country."
"This is the Book. I have read the Bible through many times, and now make it a practice to read it through once every year. It is a book of all others for lawyers, as well as divines; and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and of rules for conduct. It fits man for life--it prepares him for death."
When asked the question, "What is the greatest thought that ever passed through your mind?" Daniel Webster responded:
"My accountability to God."
(The father of public education in America)
He declared government was responsible to:
"Discipline our youth in early life in sound maxims of moral, political, and religious duties."
"Education is useless without the Bible."
"The Bible was America's basic text book in all fields."
"God's Word, contained in the Bible, has fumished all necessary rules to direct our conduct."
"In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed....No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."
In 1832, Noah Webster published his History of the United States, in which he wrote:
"The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.
"The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.
"The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all of our civil constitutions and laws....All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty;
"If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes;
"Corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.
"If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."
"Corruption of morals is rapid enough in any country without a bounty from government. And...the Chief Magistrate of the United States should be the last man to accelerate its progress."