Quotes on America's Independence by the Founding Fathers
As we celebrate the 228th birthday of our nation's independence, it is only proper that we stop and reflect upon what really gave birth to our independence. Was it a rebellious rejection of all authority or was it humble submission to Divine authority that brought our freedom. Was America founded as a nation under many gods (pluralist view) or were we founded one nation under one God, the Lord Jesus Christ? Was it the vision of the founding fathers to exclude Christians from the public square or was it their understanding that Christians constructed the public square and were the best equipped to maintain it?
These questions are important because what we understand our history to be will determine who we are today and what we will be tomorrow. This Independence Day special edition of The Washington Update will answer these and other questions from the words of the founders themselves. I encourage you to take a few minutes and read from this as you gather together with your family and friends during this July 4th weekend.
Samuel Adams - Rights of the Colonists, November 1772 -
"Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty, in matters spiritual and temporal is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the laws of nations and all well-grounded and municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former." -
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration -
"The only foundation for...a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."
Patrick Henry -
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not by religions, but by the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Quote from Delaware's Constitution framed in 1776
"Everyone appointed to public office must say, I do profess faith in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God and blessed forevermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration." -
Benjamin Franklin, eldest member at the Constitutional Convention
"I've lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who 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."
John Jay - First Supreme Court Chief Justice
"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."
Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams
"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."
Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian -
"I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion - for who can search the human heart - but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of their republican institutions.
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Governor Morris, Pennsylvania delegate to the Constitutional Convention
"Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God."
George Washington, Farewell Address to the nation
"And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." -
James Madison, Fourth President, "architect of the Constitution" and "Father of the Bill of Rights"
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future...upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God." -
Timothy Dwight, President of Yale and grandson of Jonathan Edward
"Where there is no religion, there is no morality....With the loss of religion...the ultimate foundation of confidence is blown up; and of life, liberty and property are buried in ruins."
John Adams, second President of the United States
"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 of any other."
"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."
"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 they are a gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my countrymen, when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."
John Quincy Adams - Jubilee of the Constitution, April 30, 1830
"All this is by the laws of nature and of nature's God, and of course presupposes the existence of a God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong, of just and unjust, binding upon man, preceding all institutions of human society and of government. It avers, also, that governments are instituted to secure these rights of nature and of nature's God, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,"
Abraham Lincoln - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1861
"If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution --certainly would if such a right were a vital one."
Abraham Lincoln - November 10, 1864
"It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies."
"The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them....God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God."
Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States
"The citizen is a better business man if he is a Christian gentleman and, surely, business is not the less prosperous and successful if conducted on Christian principles....All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
"The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, 1954
"The purpose of a devout and united people was set forth in the pages of The Bible...(1) to live in freedom (2) to work in a prosperous land and (3) to obey the commandments of God....This Biblical story of the Promised land inspired the founders of America. It continues to inspire us..."
Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States - December, 1984
"Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience....without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure....If we ever forget that we are one Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under."