The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people . . . They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.
The same God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
We in America do not have government by the majority—we have government by the majority who participate . . . All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
The good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves.
“A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
“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.”
“God is our creator. He has created us with rights that some governments manage to violate, but no man can change or erase the essence of those rights being a part of us. Our founding fathers understood that in writing the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights must be accepted on the whole as the foundation of our government.”
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”
“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the Constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”
“In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own . . . Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation that must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
“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 once or twice or thrice through, and then laid aside, but to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity.”
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . the general principles of Christianity . . . I will avow that I then believed, 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.”
“Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . “
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.
The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude toward the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf.
And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored.
The establishment of Civil and Religious Liberty was the Motive which introduced me to the Field, the object is obtained, and now it remains to be my earnest wish and prayer, that the Citizens of the United States would make a wise and virtuous use of the blessings, placed before them.
A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?
If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.”
“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.”
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
“We have proclaimed to the world our determination ‘to die freemen, rather than to live slaves.’ We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust.”
“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign invaders.”
“The sum of it all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, through the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.”
“Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
We must fight! I repeat, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms unto the God of hosts is all that is left us! Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battle alone . . .
There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. . . .
Why stand we here idle? What is it that the gentlemen wish? What would they have? 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.”
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
Dr. Benjamin Rush
“The American war is over; but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of drama is closed.
It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.”
“The only foundation for a useful education in 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.”
“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and the principles of mankind.”
“Let the children . . . be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.”
“The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.”
“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”
“The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life…The Bible…should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”
“By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.”
“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.”
“Mothers and schools plant the seeds of nearly all the good and evil which exists in the world.”
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
“The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.”
“The very definition of tyranny is when all powers are gathered under one place.”
“Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.”
“If our nation is ever taken over, it will be taken over from within.”
“Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation.
In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries.“
“Society requires that the education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education, in a great measure, forms the moral characters of men, and morals are the basis of government.”
“Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”
“Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”
“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.”
” . . . 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 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 citizen will be violated or disregarded.”
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure . . . are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
To the kindly influence of Christianity, we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys.
. . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government. and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.”
The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.
Government is frequently and aptly classed under two descriptions – a government of force, and a government of laws; the first is the definition of despotism – the last, of liberty.
John Quincy Adams
“The highest glory of the American Revolution is this; It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and 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, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.”
Without Divine assistance, I cannot succeed; with it, I cannot fail! I am busily engaged in the study of the Bible. I believe it is God’s word because it finds me where I am.
I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.
Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.
Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.
God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.
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.
Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.
To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.
Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers brought hither their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate . . . and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political and literary.
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.
It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions . . .There are men, in all ages. . . who mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters . . . They think there need be but little restraint upon themselves . . . The love of power may sink too deep in their own hearts . . .
Alexis de Tocqueville
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number.
Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.
Robert C Winthrop
All societies of men must be governed in some way or the other. The less they may have of a stringent state government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint.
Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or the bayonet.
If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.
It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.
Henry David Thoreau
That government is best which governs least.
Timothy Dwight, President of Yale University (1795-1817)
Education ought everywhere to be religious education. Parents are bound to employ instructors who will educate their children religiously. To commit our children to the care of irreligious persons is to commit lambs to the superintendency of wolves.
I am much afraid that the schools and universities will prove to be the great gates to hell unless they diligently labour to explain the Holy Scriptures and engrave them upon the hearts of youth. I advise no one to send their child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution that does not unceasingly occupy its students with the Word of God must become corrupt.
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.
If American democracy is to remain the greatest hope of humanity, it must continue abundantly in the faith of the Bible.
John F. Kennedy
And yet the same revolutionary belief for which our forebears fought is still at issue around the globe, the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
I hope that we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. When our Founding Fathers passed the First Amendment, they sought to protect churches from government interference. They never intended to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself. . . .
To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions every day, I say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.
The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.