Foundations of Freedom Series
Selected Founders Quotes
Dr. Michael L. Ford
In Loving Memory of Fallen Family
SSgt. Grady Ford
Killed in Action 3 April 1945
At twenty years of age
Buried in Holland
Leonard Robert Ford
At Pearl Harbor on day of infamy
Thrice wounded Guadalcanal 161st Infantry
10 April 1913 – 19 April 1946
The emptiness is not having the chance to know you.
And to all those who compose my heritage
that fought for freedom before them.
Religion in the public square
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom." Sound familiar? Sound like fundamentalist pastors Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson?
Not exactly: They're the words of our jolly, rotund, wine-drinking, woman-loving Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, who despite
all of his possible shortcomings was also a churchgoing, God-fearing man.
Franklin wrote those words -- as appropriate today as they were back then -- on April 18, 1787. Two months later, on June 18,
he rose in the apparently deadlocked Constitutional Convention and suggested the delegates could use divine guidance, proposing
that each day's deliberations begin with a prayer and that a local clergyman come in to deliver a sermon.
Preaching and praying, whenever and wherever, in almost any circumstance public or private has been a part of America's culture
from the very beginning. It is not alien to our civic culture, it is an integral part of it.
Even Thomas Jefferson, whose invocation about the "separation of church and state" is cited at every opportunity by anti-religionists,
made clear he did not propose government divorce itself from spiritual matters. As Jefferson put it in 1798, "No power over the
freedom of religion is delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
Indeed, the same Thomas Jefferson, then our third president, said just four years later -- "with solemn reverence" -- in his famous
letter to the Danbury Baptists, the purpose of the Constitution's freedom of religion clause was not to interfere with the exercise of
religion, but to assure Americans there would be no official, or state-sponsored church, such as the Church of England. The
Constitution, he told them was clear, Congress shall "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
This isn't good enough for some so-called civil libertarians, the kind typically involved in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
They want all expressions of religious belief deleted from civic life and removed from government property. Again, that's not what
Jefferson envisioned at all.
Indeed, in 1802 President Jefferson signed the Enabling Act for Ohio, allowing it to become a state. That act required the Ohio state
government to conduct itself in a manner that would "not be repugnant to the Northwest Ordinance," an earlier law. And what did the
Northwest Ordinance say? Namely, that "religion, morality and knowledge -- being necessary to good government and the happiness
of mankind, schools and the means of education -- shall be forever encouraged."
During his presidency, Jefferson also was chairman of the District of Columbia school board and authored the federal city's education plan.
That education plan used both the Bible and a popular hymnal, Isaac Watts' "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs," as the principal texts
for teaching reading. President Jefferson and many members of the early Congress also attended Christian worship services every Sunday.
Where? In the Hall of Congress. The same Congress saw nothing wrong with appropriating taxpayer funds to pay missionaries to preach the
Gospel to American Indians. And in the Articles of War signed by Jefferson in 1806 during his second term, he "earnestly recommended
to all officers and soldiers diligently to attend divine services." In sharp contrast, the ACLU today wants to ban Boy Scout troops from
military bases because the Boy Scout Oath pledges allegiance to God and country.
America's Founders clearly understood the difference between spiritual and material well-being. Today's politicians would do well to
rekindle such understanding.
Please understand, "material" is what you eat and wear, drive, spend and pay taxes on. Spiritual is what you feel, perceive, believe,
cherish, live by and, for some -- die for.
America's militant agnostic minority has totally distorted the meaning of separation of church and state. It doesn't mean banning religion
and religious values from the public square. It doesn't mean Howard Stern's off-color (and frequently off-the-wall) "humor" is protected
speech, while the free expression of religion is banned.
It means the United States will establish no official religion, while remaining equally hospitable to all religions -- and to people
who practice none. Religious principle is not something to fear and loathe and banish from the public square; it is a code of
conduct on which we can and should rely to guide our personal and civic behavior.
>>> Mr. Boone was right on the money with this article. And, in keeping with the spirit of his presentation we have prepared some
quotes from men known as founding fathers for the readers further understanding. –ed.
On the Nation
"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind." --Thomas Paine
"We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our won Country's Honor, all call upon us for vigorous and manly exertion,
and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the
Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions."
"Men of energy of character must have enemies; because there are two sides to every question, and taking one with decision,
and acting on it with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in proportion as they feel that effect." --Thomas Jefferson
"[T]here 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."
"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural
to abuse it, when acquired." --Alexander Hamilton
"There are certain social principles in human nature, from which we may draw the most solid conclusions with respect to the conduct
of individuals and of communities. We love our families more than our neighbors; we love our neighbors more than our countrymen
in general. The human affections, like solar heat, lose their intensity as they depart from the center.... On these principles, the attachment
of the individual will be first and for ever secured by the State governments. They will be a mutual protection and support."
"It has ever been my hobby-horse to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and a prospect of two or three hundred
millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them. You say it is impossible. If I should agree with you in this,
I would still say, let us try the experiment, and preserve our equality as long as we can. A better system of education for the
common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the
natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice." --John Adams
"Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to
abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation
of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."--James Madison, Federalist No. 10
"Still continuing no less attached to union than enamored of liberty, they observed the danger which immediately threatened the former
and more remotely the latter; and being persuaded that ample security for both could only be found in a national government more wisely
framed, they as with one voice, convened the late convention at Philadelphia, to take that important subject under consideration."
--John Jay, Federalist No. 2
"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted
of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety
of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." --George Washington
"The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the
persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety." --Thomas Paine
On the Constitution
"But though the adversaries of the proposed Constitution should presume that the national rulers would be insensible to the
motives of public good, or to the obligations of duty, I would still ask them how the interests of ambition, or the views of
encroachment, can be promoted by such a conduct?" --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 27
"Whatever may be the judgement pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the
destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction...that there never was an
assembly of men, charged with a great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously
devoted to the object committed to them." --James Madison
"The true principle of government is this -- make the system compleat in its structure; give a perfect proportion and balance to its
parts; and the powers you give it will never affect your security." --Alexander Hamilton
"The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national
sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important
portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government."
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 9
"It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people
themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act." --James Madison,
Federalist No. 39
"Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is
recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human Nature."--George Washington
"Is there no virtue among us? If there be 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 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
"But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights
of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States."
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32
On the Presidency
"It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station [of President] filled by characters
pre-eminent for ability and virtue." Alexander Hamilton
"The Constitution on which our Union rests, shall be administered by me [as President] according to the safe and honest meaning
contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption -- a meaning to be found in the
explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it, and who opposed it merely lest the construction should be applied
which they denounced as possible." --Thomas Jefferson
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." --James Madison, Federalist No. 10
"There is little need of commentary upon this clause. No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States
under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. It is a suitable pledge of his fidelity and responsibility
to his country; and creates upon his conscience a deep sense of duty, by an appeal, at once in the presence of God and man, to the
most sacred and solemn sanctions, which can operate upon the human mind." --Joseph Story
"A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and
a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government." --Joseph Story
On the Legislature
"If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers, whose
trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk by the hour? That 150 lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected."
"I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust,
oppressive and impolitic -- it is also a truth, that if industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed
to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened
legislature could point out." --James Madison
"It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They
prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed -- that is, an extension of the revenue."
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21
"If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they
put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where
it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) 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 foes of Republican Government."
"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people.
The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. ...
These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total
separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened."
"Equal laws protecting equal rights...the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country." --James Madison
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government
is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." --James Madison
"The injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws, will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing
a number of bad ones." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 73
"It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights
of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot
well be separated." --James Madison
n the Judiciary
"It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel
example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence." --George Washington
Jefferson was against any needless official apparel, but if the judicial gown was to carry, he said:
"For Heaven's sake discard the monstrous wig which makes the English judges look like rats peeping through bunches of oakum."
"It is not honorable to take mere legal advantage, when it happens to be contrary to justice." --Thomas Jefferson
"It is an established rule of construction, where a phrase will bear either of two meanings to give it that which will allow some meaning
to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which will render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant
to be given to them. It was intended to lace them up straitly with in the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these
powers could not be carried into effect." --Thomas Jefferson
"The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in
resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions,
and politics, and prejudices of the day." -Joseph Story
"Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.
And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure,
and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its value; and men may as well return to a state of savage and
barbarous independence." --Joseph Story
"Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge." –James Wilson
"If it be asked, 'What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic?' The answer would be, 'An inviolable respect
for the Constitution and Laws – the first growing out of the last.' ... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining
energy of a free government."--Alexander Hamilton
"It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression...that the germ of dissolution of our federal
government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary;... working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little
tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped." --Thomas Jefferson
"One single object...[will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation." --Thomas Jefferson
"I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial.
But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers
than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments." --James Madison
"[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their,
own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch."-Thomas Jefferson
On the Duties of Government
"'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less
force to every species of free Government." –George Washington
"To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." --George Washington
"That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought
Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the
Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among
the common People." --Benjamin Franklin
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson
"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right,
which Heaven itself has ordained." --George Washington
"Government implies the power of making laws. It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in
other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience." –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15
"No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay
be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable." --George Washington
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty." --Fisher Ames
"Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their
SAFETY seems to be the first. ... At present I mean only to consider it as it respects security for the preservation of peace
and tranquility, as well as against dangers from FOREIGN ARMS AND INFLUENCE, as from dangers of the
LIKE KIND arising from domestic causes." --John Jay, Federalist No. 3
"To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents
are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the college and university. The
object is to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of
development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be double or treble
of what it is in most countries." --Thomas Jefferson
"The instrument by which it [government] must act are either the AUTHORITY of the laws or FORCE. If the first be
destroyed, the last must be substituted; and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government there is an
end to liberty!" --Alexander Hamilton
"[A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to
regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson
On Rights and Responsibilities
"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!"
"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." –Benjamin Franklin
"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him.
This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can
be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."
"The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations." –George Washington
"Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to die To-morrow." --Benjamin Franklin
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty,
he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." --Thomas Paine
"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals. ...
[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." --Albert Gallatin
"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 great 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
"[W]hereas, 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; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual
service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle;
and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for
carefully guarding against it." --Federal Farmer Antifederalist Letter
"We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles. The constitutions of most of
our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they
think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves,
in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is
their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson
"It is a just observation that the people commonly intend the Public Good. This often applies to their very errors.
But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend they always reason right about the means of promoting it."
-Alexander Hamilton, No. 71
“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 people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates…to cherish the interest
of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them.” --John Adams
"It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship
of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future
experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world,
abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government." --Joseph Story
"[R]eligion and virtue are the only foundations, not of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all
government and in all the combinations of human society." --John Adams
"Religion is the only solid Base of morals and that Morals are the only possible Support of free governments." --Gouverneur Morris
"The scheme, my dear Marqs. which you propose as a precedent, to encourage the emancipation of the black people of this
Country from that state of Bondage in wch. they are held, is a striking evidence of the benevolence of your Heart. I shall be happy
to join you in so laudable a work." --George Washington
It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly
call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves
an inconsistency not to be excused." --John Jay
"Your love of liberty -- your respect for the laws -- your habits of industry -- and your practice of the moral and religious obligations,
are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness."--George Washington
"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the
common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready
to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader." --Samuel Adams
"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.
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"--Benjamin Franklin
"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only
affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness
or misery on ages yet unborn." –George Washington
"Posterity -- you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
--John Quincy Adams
"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."
The majority of the quotes were extracted from the Interenet publication “Federalist Patriot Founders' Quote Daily.”
 Pat Boone, veteran entertainer, is national spokesperson for the 60 Plus Association, a leading senior-citizen advocacy organization
based in Arlington, Va.
 The comments by the founding fathers indicate they expected and allowed for the friction of opposing views.
 The danger in proposing changes to the present Constitution is that it would be undertaken by lesser men with viler motives
than those who framed it. It is better to stick with the present document and interpret it strictly than to trust change to those
of known weakness of character. –ed.
 It is my belief that Hamilton would be very disappointed in some of those who attained unto the Presidency in the 20th century.
I would include among these Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, James E. Carter, George Bush Sr., and William J. Clinton.
I would not say these are all he would not approve of, but they come readily to mind for damage done to the Constitution, the Nation,
and the Presidency.
 "When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his
neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country." --Noah Webster
 "[I]f the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws
and enforce them." –Candidus
 "The fate of empires depends on the education of youth." --Aristotle
 "A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left."
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