Was “The Original Intent”

Copyright © 2013 by Michael A. Shea - All Rights Reserved

 Whose Divine Hand Was behind the Establishment of the United States of America and our Founding Documents.

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"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor and Printer

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“If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their greatest security.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S.


“Since private and public vices, are in reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost pains be taken by the public, to have the principles of virtue early inculcated on the minds even of children, and the moral sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our ancestors for these great purposes be encouraged by the government. For 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.”

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman


“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. … But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is, the religion of Jesus Christ.”

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriae is both a moral and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters in history. The holy men of old, in proportion as they possessed a religious were endowed with a public spirit. What did no Moses forsake and suffer for his countrymen! What shining examples of Patriotism do we behold in Joshua, Samuel, Maccabeus, and all the illustrious princes, captains, and prophets amongst the Jews! St. Paul almost wishes himself accursed for his countrymen and kinsmen after the flesh. Even our Savior himself gives a sanction to this virtue. He confined his miracles and gospel at first to his own country.

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


“It is easy to see that when republican virtue fails, slavery ensues.”

— Thomas Paine (1736-1809) Patriot, Author & Pamphleteer

"Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed … so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger."

— Patrick Henry (1736-1799) Patriot, Lawyer and Orator


"In times of difficulty and trial it is in the man of piety and inward principle, that we may expect to find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier.God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable, and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.”

— John Witherspoon (1722-1794) Educator, Economist, Minister, Writer & Founding Father


”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 (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“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 the genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitution of government.”

— Noah Webster (1758-1843)  Father of the Dictionary & American Patriot


"The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart."

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S


"Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superiour to all private passions."

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


"In a despotic government, the only principle by which the tyrant who is to move the whole machine means to regulate and manage the people is fear, by the servile dread of his power. But a free government, which of all others is far the most preferable, cannot be supported without virtue."

— Samuel William, Author of A Discourse on the Lover of our Country, 1774


"We may look up to armies for defense, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any state should long remain free, where virtue is not supremely honored."

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman


"I had the honor of being one among many who framed that Constitution. … In order effectually to accomplish these great ends, it is incumbent upon us to begin wisely, and to proceed in the fear of God; and it is especially the duty of those who bear rule, to promote and encourage piety and virtue, and to discountenance every degree of vice and immorality.”

— Henry Laurens (1724-1796 ) President of Congress, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention


“The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”

— Noah Webster (1758-1843)  Father of the Dictionary & American Patriot


“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed.”

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“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.”

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited!  Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow man; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God. In this commonwealth, no man would impair his health by gluttony, drunkenness, or lust; no man would sacrifice his most precious time to cards or any other trifling and mean amusement; no man would steal, or lie, or in any way defraud his neighbor, but would live in peace and good will with all men; no man would blaspheme his Maker or profane his worship; but a rational and manly, a sincere and unaffected piety and devotion would reign in all hearts. What a Utopia; what a Paradise would this region be!"

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“It is in the interest of tyrants to reduce the people to ignorance and vice. For they cannot live in any country where virtue and knowledge prevail. The religion and public liberty of a people are intimately connected; their interests are interwoven, they cannot subsist separately; and therefore they rise and fall together. For this reason, it is always observable, that those who are combin'd to destroy the people's liberties, practice every art to poison their morals.”

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman


“When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community. The objects of their desires are changed; what they were fond of before has become indifferent; they were free while under the restraint of laws, but they would fain now be free to act against law.”

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S


"If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?"

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“Government is only to be supported by pure religion or austere morals. Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honor, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society."

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


"Revelations assures us that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation.’ He rewards or punishes them according to the general character. The diminution of public virtue is usually attended with that of public happiness, and the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals."

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman

“That 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.”

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


“He asks how the evil is to be remedied. I tell him that there seems to be little chance for avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy; that the only ground of hope must be the morals of the people, but that these are, I fear, too corrupt.”

— Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) Statesman, Diplomat, writer of the final draft of the Constitution


"A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous."

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, & insures to the good eternal happiness are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free government.”

— Charles Carroll (1737-1832) Founding Father


"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. …Let us, by all wise and constitutional measures, promote intelligence among the People, as the best means of preserving our liberties."

— James Monroe (1758-1831) Fifth President of the United States


"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue."

— John Witherspoon (1722-1794) Educator, Economist, Minister, Writer & Founding Father

"If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity."

— Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Author, Lawyer and Patriot


“I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there is not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical (imaginary; fanciful or vainly conceived) idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.”

— James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States


“Ours is a kind of struggle designed, I dare say, by Providence to try the patience, fortitude, and virtue of men. None, therefore, who is engaged in it, will suffer himself, I trust, to sink under difficulties, or be discouraged by hardships. If he cannot do as he wishes, he must do what he can.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“That no free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles; and by the recognition by all citizens that they have duties as well as rights, and that such rights cannot be enjoyed save in a society where law is respected and due process is observed.” (Article I, Section 15, Constitution of Virginia)

— George Mason (1725-1792) Founding Father & Author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights

"Whenever we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary."

— Thomas Paine (1736-1809) Patriot, Author & Pamphleteer


"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his 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. We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country.”

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman


“Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement … Manners, by which not only the freedom, but the very existence of the republics, are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions of religion and the good education of youth; in both these instances our fathers laid wise foundations, for which their posterity have had reason to bless their memory.”

— John Hancock, (1737-1793) Boston Merchant, Founding Father & Patriot


“The general government is arranged, that it can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any other despotic or oppressive form, so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“Our liberty depends on our education, our laws and habits, to which even prejudices yield; on the dispersion of our people on farms, and on the almost equal diffusion of property; it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart; and on the influence all these produce on public opinion, before that opinion governs rulers.”

— Fisher Ames (1758-1808) Founding Father and framer of the First Amendment to the Constitution


“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. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. … 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.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


"In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful "whether morals can exist without it," but by asserting that without religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons."

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


"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."

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


"In free states, where the body of the people have the supreme power securely in their own hands, and must ultimately be resorted to on all great matters,  if there be a general corruption of manners, there can be nothing but confusion. So true is this, that civil liberty cannot be long preserved without virtue. A monarchy may subsist for ages, and be better or worse under a good or bad prince. But a republic once equally poised, must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty, and by some tumultuous revolution, either return to its first principles, or assume a more unhappy form."

— John Witherspoon (1722-1794) Educator, Economist, Minister, Writer & Founding Father


“Without virtue, and without integrity, the finest talents and the most brilliant accomplishments can never gain the respect, and conciliate the esteem, of the truly valuable part of mankind.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families." The Amor Patriae (love of ones country) is both a moral duty and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters of history.”

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


"The happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue."

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”

— Noah Webster (1758-1843)  Father of the Dictionary & American Patriot


“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”

— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third President of the United States


“I think with you , that nothing is more important for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are in my opinion, the strength of the state; more so than riches or arms.”

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor, Printer and Philosopher


"Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government …can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppresive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people."

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


"It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution."

— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third President of the United States


“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust."

— James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States


“Never did a Government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete. If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid— gigantic: of a people so prosperous and happy, Ini contemplating what we have still to perform, the heart of every citizen must expand with joy, when he reflects how near our Government has approached to perfection; that, in respect to it, we have no essential improvement to make; that the great object is, to preserve it in the essential principles and features which characterize it, and that that is to be done by preserving the virtue and enlightening the minds of the people; and, as a security against foreign dangers, to adopt such arrangements as are indispensable to the support of our independence, our rights, and liberties. If we persevere in the career in which we bare advanced so far, and in the path already traced, we cannot fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us …


I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrage of my fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protect which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor."

— James Monroe (1758-1831) Fifth President of the United States


“What are those virtues? They are chiefly the same virtues, which we have already seen to be descriptive of the American character—the love of liberty, and the love of law. But law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge. The same course of study, properly directed, will lead us to the knowledge of both. Indeed, neither of them can be known, because neither of them can exist, without the other. Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.”

— James Wilson (1742-1798) Founding Father, assisted in drafting the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice.


"A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important, that you should endeavor not only to be learned, but virtuous. Much more might be said to show the necessity of application and regularity; but when you must know, that without them you can never be qualified to render service to your country, assistance to your friends, or consolation to your retired moments, nothing further need be said to prove their utility.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the 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.”

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


"Wisdom and knowledge as well as virtue diffused generally among the body of the people being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education, in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislatures and magistrates…to cherish the interests of literature, and the sciences, and all seminaries of learning. … You have put upon us by your legislation an immense mass of ignorant voters. They have not wisdom, they have not knowledge, some of them even have no virtue, as is the case in every community. These are not diffused among them; from the very nature of the case it cannot be; and yet how anxiously you guard their rights to go to the polls to make laws for us and to regulate our affairs. You have, it may be wisely or unwisely, excluded them from the polls in your States. They must have something of this wisdom, something of this knowledge, something of this virtue there, before you permit them to go to your polls."

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“The Importance of Piety & religion, of industry & frugality, of prudence, economy, regularity & an even government, all which are essential to the well being of a family. But I have not time. I cannot however help repeating piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a family is at once its brightest ornament & its best security. The first point of justice, says a writer I have met with, consists in piety; nothing certainly being so great a debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly protection he affords us.”

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman


“There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists, in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“So true is this, that civil liberty cannot be long preserved without virtue. A monarchy may subsist for ages, and be better or worse under a good or bad prince; but a republic once equally poised, must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty, and by some tumultuous revolution, either return to its first principles, or assume a more unhappy form.”

— John Witherspoon (1722-1794) Educator, Economist, Minister, Writer & Founding  Father


"Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages much sooner than savages become civilized by means of religion and civil government."

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence


“Patience is a noble virtue, and, when rightly exercised, does not fail of its reward.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is, therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity, of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice.”

— James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States


“Let vice and immorality of every kind be discouraged as much as possible in your brigade; and, as a chaplain is allowed to each regiment, see that the men regularly attend during worship. Gaming of every kind is expressly forbidden, as being the foundation of evil, and the cause of many a brave and gallant officer's and soldier's ruin.”

 — George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States


“You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life, without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother. …”If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.’”

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor, Printer and Philosopher [Letter to Thomas Paine on draft of Age of Reason]


"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."

— Joseph Story (1779-1845) Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice & influential commentators on the U.S. Constitution


"In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show himself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history ; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility."

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor, Printer and Philosopher


"As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others."

— Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Lawyer, Secretary of the Treasury & Secretary of State


"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S.


"Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy."

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor, Printer and Philosopher


"It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a 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 in time depraves all its good disposition."

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S


"MORAL LAW, Evidence of.— Man has been subjected by his Creator to the moral law, of which his feelings, or conscience as it is sometimes called, are the evidence with which his Creator has furnished him. ... The moral duties which exist between individual and individual in a state of nature, accompany them into a state of society … their Maker not having released them from those duties on their forming themselves into a nation."

— Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the U. S. (Opinion on French Treaties, 1793)


“While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin.”

— Samuel Huntington (1731-1796) Founding Father, Patriot and Statesman


"From all that I had read of history and government, of human life and manners, I had drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue in a nation. All that I have since read, and all the observations I have made in different nations, have confirmed me in this opinion. The manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not. The Jews, the - Greeks, the Romans, the Dutch, all lost their public spirit, their republican principles and habits, and their republican forms of government, when they lost the modesty and domestic virtues of their women.


What havoc, said I to myself, would these manners make in America! Our governors, our judges, our senators or representatives, and even our ministers, would be appointed by harlots, for money; and their judgments, decrees, and decisions, be sold to repay themselves, or, perhaps, to procure the smiles of profligate females.


The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies, and universities, instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth. The vices and examples of the parents cannot be concealed from the children. How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the sacred obligations of morality or religion, if, from their earliest infancy, they learn that their mothers live in habitual infidelity to then fathers, and their fathers in as constant infidelity to their mothers? Besides, the catholic doctrine is, that the contract of marriage is not only a civil and moral engagement, but a sacrament; one of the most solemn vows and oaths of religious devotion. Can they then believe religion, and morality too, anything more than a veil, a cloak, a hypocritical pretext, for political purposes of decency and conveniency?"

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot


“If we cherish the virtues and the principles of our fathers, Heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human liberty and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us. Great examples are before us. Our own firmament now shines brightly upon our path.”

— Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Author, Lawyer and Patriot


"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."

— James Monroe (1758-1831) Fifth President of the United States


“The only sure cure for many of the ills of the modern world which men are vainly trying to remove by means of social and economic antidotes is to be found in the faith in God and loyalty to the eternal verities of religion. The recognition of a personal God and of the individual accountability of men and women to him, for their conduct are the foundations of the highest patriotism and of those civic virtues which alone can make men and nations morally great. The human race has been getting away from its religious moorings. It needs a revival of the sincere conception of the personal relationship of God to man and man to God; a restoration of faith in the fundamentals of religion that are eternal. The world needs the assurance of faith in the Almighty, and the tranquility which comes alone of that faith. That faith in God which has made the ancient Hebrew nation great, is still needed to make nations great to-day.”

— Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) 29th President of the United States

“A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.”

— Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Author, Lawyer and Patriot


"A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state.”

— Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) 40th President of the United States


"Then the disciples came and said to him, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?' He answered, 'Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.'"

— Matthew 15:12-14 RSV


"Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society and without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget we’re one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under."

— Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) 40th President of the United States


"But Peter said to him, 'Explain the parable to us.' And he said, 'Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.'"

— Matthew 15:15-20 RSV


“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

— Proverbs 14:34 RSV


“To secure integrity there must a lofty sense of duty and a deep responsibility to future times as well as to God.”

— Joseph Story (1779-1845) Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice & Influential Commentators on the U.S. Constitution


"A Republic must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty."

— John Witherspoon (1722-1794) Educator, Economist, Minister, Writer & Founding Father


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Other Quotes on Piety and Virtue

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The four cardinal virtues are justice, wisdom, courage, and moderation. - Link to Website


“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

— Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) Army General, involved in war in the Philippines, World War I, II & Korean War


“We may wonder at the choice of Israel and Rome as the archetypes of the new nation, in view of the long history of suffering of the former and the decline of the latter. We may wonder that our ancestors over-looked the darker days of those earlier nations. They did not. They hoped to construct a republic on principles to sound that if we should decline in piety and public virtue we would meet the inexorable fate of nations, which are as but dust in the hands of God.”

— Robert N Bellah (1927-  ) American sociologist, professor and author (The Broken Covenant)


“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

— C.S. Lewis (1898 -1963) Irish writer, scholar & Christian apologetic


"A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue."

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Political Philosopher and writer


“Liberty considers religion as the safeguard of morality, and morality as the best security of law and the surest pledge of the duration of freedom.”

— Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French Author


"Thank God I have done my duty."

— Horatio Nelson - (1758–1805) was a British Navy Admiral (Dying words at the Battle of Trafalgar)


"Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions."

— G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) British Journalist, Poet, Author and Playwright


"What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint. Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites,—in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity,— in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption,—in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

— Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British Statesman, Lawyer, Writer, and Philosopher


“[The true makes of history] are the spiritual men whom the world knew not, the unregarded agents of the creative action of the Spirit. The supreme instance of this—the key to the Christian understanding of history—is to be found in the Incarnation— the presence of the maker of the world in the world unknown to the world. … The Incarnation is itself in a sense the divine fruit of history—of the fullness of time—and it finds its extension and completion in the historic life of the Church.”

— Christopher Dawson (1958-1962) English Catholic historian, author


“Jesus is the purest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the pure, who, with his pierced hand has raised empires from their foundations, turned the stream of history from its old channel, and still continues to rule and guide the ages”

— Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (1763-1825) German writer


“Warn my children to avoid the precipices of pride and haughtiness, and to walk in the pleasant meadows of modesty; not to be dazzled by the sight of gold; not to lament that they do not possess what they erroneously admire in others; not to think more of themselves for gaudy trappings, nor less for the want of them; neither to deform the beauty that nature has given them by neglect, nor to try to heighten it by artifice; to put virtue in the first place, learning in the second; and in their studies to esteem most whatever may teach them piety towards God, charity to all, and Christian humility in themselves. …These I consider the real and genuine fruits of learning, and I would maintain that those who give themselves to study with such intent will easily attain their end and become perfect.”

— Saint Thomas More (1478–1535) English lawyer, author, statesman and martyr


“There are only two possible forms of control: one internal and the other external; religious control and political control. They are of such a nature that when the religious barometer rises, the barometer of [external] falls and likewise, when the religious barometer falls, the political barometer, that is political control and tyranny, rises. That is the law of humanity, a law of history. If civilized man falls into disbelief and immorality, the way is prepared for some gigantic and colossal tyrant, universal and immense.”

— Juan Donoso Cortés - (1809-1853) Spanish Philosopher, Statesman, and Writer


“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist”

— Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British Statesman, Lawyer, Writer, and Philosopher


“The religion of Jesus Christ aims at nothing less than the utter overthrow of all other systems of religion in the world; denouncing them as inadequate to the wants of man, false in their foundations, and dangerous in their tendency.


These are no ordinary claims; and it seems hardly possible for a rational being to regard them with even a subdued interest; much less to treat them with mere indifference and contempt. If not true they are little else than the pretensions of a bold imposture, which not satisfied with having already enslaved millions of the human race, seeks to continue its encroachments upon human liberty, until all nations be subjected under its iron rule.


But if they are well-founded and just, they can be no less than the high requirements of heaven, addressed by the voice of God to the reason and understanding of man, concerning things deeply affecting his relations to his sovereign, and essential to the formation of his character and of course to his destiny, both for this life and for the life."

― Simon Greenleaf (1783–1853) Lawyer, Author, and Jurist


"No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous."

— Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English Author and Journalist


"The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust."

— James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States


"It is better to cherish virtue and humanity, by leaving much to free will, even with some loss of the object, than to attempt to make men mere machines and instruments of political benevolence. The world on the whole will gain by a liberty, without which virtue cannot exist."

— Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British Statesman, Lawyer, Writer, and Philosopher


"A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty Is worth a whole eternity in bondage."

— Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English playwright, essayist and politician


"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are."

— Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Russian born American Novelist and Philosopher (Alice Rosenbaum)


"The United States is only one superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it. Militarily. They also lead economically but they're getting weak. But they don't lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we lost that hope."

— Lech Walesa (1943-   ) Polish electrican, rights activist who co-founded Solidarity, later became President of Poland


“If there is a God, there is a map. If God has a map, his map is the true map.


The civilization you sit in … is now obvious in crisis, perhaps death pangs, twisting grotesquely like a dying animal, swirling down the garbage drain—this civilization was founded on God’s road map.


The most striking feature if this map is the stark fat of the Two Roads. There is the road that leads to Life, and there is the road that leads to Death. There is Good, and there is Evil. There is Right and there is Wrong.”

— Peter Kreeft (1937) Professor, and Christian Author (book Back to Virtue, pg 11.)


“Indifferent acts are judged by their ends sins are judged by themselves.”

— Saint Augustine (354-430) Christian theologian, scholar and bishop


Without virtue, civilization dies.

Without religion, virtue dies.

Therefore without religion, civilization dies.

In other words:


Virtue is necessary for the survival of civilization

And religion is necessary for the survival of virtue.

Therefore religion is necessary for the survival of civilization.

— Peter Kreeft (1937) Professor, and Christian Author (book Back to Virtue, pg. 192-193)

"A truly moral nation enacts policies that encourage personal responsibility and discourage self-destructive behavior by not subsidizing people who live irresponsibly and make poor choices."  

― Ben Carson – (1951) American Neurosurgeon & Columnist


“Ethics without virtue is an illusion. What is the highest purpose of ethics? It is to make a person good, that is virtuous.”

— Peter Kreeft (1937) Professor, and Christian Author (book Back to Virtue, pg. 30)


“But though we are not weaker in morality, we are weaker in the knowledge of morality. We are stronger in the knowledge of nature, but weaker in the knowledge of goodness. We know more about what is less than ourselves but less about what is more than ourselves. When we act morally, we are better than our philosophy. Our ancestors were worse than theirs. The problem was not living up to their principles. Ours is not having any.”

— Peter Kreeft (1937) Professor, and Christian Author (book Back to Virtue, pg. 25)


“Once the morals of a country goes so does the nation.”

— Michael Savage (Michael Alan Weiner) (1942) Radio Host, Author and Political Commentator


"Where virtue is, there are many snares."

Saint John Chrysostom (344-407)






“God blesses those nations who acknowledge Him, His laws and providence..”

QUOTES ON PIETY AND VIRTUE