Founding Father Quotes
"Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covenousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:" (Exodus 18:21)
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful woes of Republican government." --- President George Washington
"If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."--- President Thomas Jefferson
"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrations), too plainly proves a deliberated systematic plan to reduce us to slavery." --- President Thomas Jefferson
"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be [America's] heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own..." --- President John Adams, Fourth of July speech in 1821
"You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent it in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it."---President John Adams
"I shall ways take a peculiar pleasure in giving every proper encouragement in my power to the manufacturers of my country."---President George Washington, 1789.
"He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us either to dependence on that foreign nation, or to be clothed in skins, and to live like beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these."---President Thomas Jefferson, 1815.
"The measure of the wealth of a nation is indicated by the measure of its protection of its industry; the measure of the poverty of a nation is marked by the degree in which it neglects and abandons the care of its own industry, leaving it exposed to the action of foreign powers."---Congressman Henry Clay, 1824.
"If we buy a steel rail from England, we have the rail and they have the money. But if we buy it from ourselves, we have both the rail and the money."---President Abraham Lincoln, 1864.
"Tell them (the South Carolinians who wanted to nullify the Tariff Act of 1832) that I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find."---Andrew Jackson, 1833
"The Bible is the Rock on which this Republic rests" --- President Andrew Jackson
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous
servant and a fearful master." --- President George Washington
“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.” --John Adams, June 21, 1776; 23 days before signing the Declaration of Independence.
"Lastly, our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any
government be secure which is not supported by moral habits."–Daniel Webster
"Of all the dispositions which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who would labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.... The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them." -- George Washington
"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." --- George Washington
"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an 'Honest Man'." --George Washington
"All men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil liberties." --- President Thomas Jefferson
"Independence forever" --- President John Adams
"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis - a conviction in the minds of people that these liberties are 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." --- President Thomas Jefferson
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion...Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --- President John Adams
"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connections as possible. It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world." --- President George Washington
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." --- President John Adams
"Don't let anyone claim to be a true American. Don't let them claim the tribute of American patriotism if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics." --- President George Washington, farewell address
"The tree of liberty must be watered periodically with the blood of tyrants and patriots alike."--Thomas Jefferson
"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating 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 set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."--Samuel Adams
A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!"--Alexander Hamilton
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"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 give me liberty or give me death!" -- Patrick Henry"
"It is impossible to govern the world without God. He must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligation." --George Washington
"Let it simply be asked, 'Where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life; if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice?'"--George Washington
"While the people are virtuous, they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader." --- Samuel Adams
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." --- President Abraham Lincoln
"We the people are the rightful master of both Congress and the courts - not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." --- President Abraham Lincoln
"Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord." --- Abraham Lincoln
"The thing that sets the American Christian apart from all other people in the world is, he will die on his feet before he'll live on his knees..." ---President George Washington
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." --- George Washington
"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." --- Thomas Jefferson
"Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth." --- Daniel Webster
"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." --John Adams, Second President of the United States
"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 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world." --- Daniel Webster, 1851
"We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." --- Benjamin Franklin
"Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people." --- John Adams
"The belief in a God All Powerful, wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources."--James Madison
"We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in. ... Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it." ---Thomas Paine
"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." ---Patrick Henry
"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president...." --- Theodore Roosevelt
"We have staked the whole future of America's civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions ...upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." --- James Madison
"Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion." --- Noah Webster
"He who shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." --- Benjamin Franklin
"I have 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." --- Daniel Webster
"If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants." --- William Penn
"Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." --- Alexis de Tocqueville
"Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens." --- Benjamin Franklin
"The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." --- President John Adams
"The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and law... 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." --- Noah Webster
"I have alternatively been called an Aristocrat or a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat!" --- Benjamin Rush
"Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian." ---The U.S. Supreme Court, 1892, Church of Holy Trinity v. United States.
"if this court doesn't stop talking about separation of church and state, someone's going to think it's part of the Constitution."--- Supreme Court, Dissenting Opinion, 1958
"Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the school? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?" --- United States Supreme Court, 1844
"The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles.... This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government." --- Noah Webster, History of the United States, 1832, public school textbook
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." --- John Jay, First Chief Justice of Supreme Court
"The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him..." --- Ronald Reagan
Founding Fathers on the right to bear Arms:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
"Americans have "the advantage of being armed" --unlike the citizens of other countries where "the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." --- James Madison
"The great objective is that every man be armed. . . . Everyone who is able may have a gun." --- Patrick Henry
"Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped." --Alexander Hamilton
"To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them." --- George Mason
"Without either the first or second amendment, we would have no liberty; the first allows us to find out what is happening; the second allows us to do something about it! The second will be taken away first, followed by the first and then the rest of our freedoms." Andrew Ford
"The Constitution shall never be construed ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." --- Samuel Adams
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." --- Alexander Hamilton
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." --- Richard Henry Lee
"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny" ---- Thomas Jefferson
“The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."--Thomas Jefferson
"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." --- President Thomas Jefferson
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe." --- Noah Webster
"to disarm the people; that [that] . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." --- George Mason
"Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people." --- George Mason
"militia, when properly formed, [as] in fact the people themselves." --- George Mason
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." --- Tench Coxe, In a widely reprinted article by, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment's overriding goal as a check upon the national government's standing army:
" . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . ." --- Alexander Hamilton
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." --- President Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 32.
Click here to go back to Founding Fathers and other Great Speeches