Quotes by America’s Founders
Quotes by America’s Founders
Notice especially the many references to God, Christianity, and morality as a vital foundations for lasting liberty. Yet, not all of these men knew the true God or lived by His guidelines.
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” John Adams 
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams 
“…the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.” James Madison 
“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. ” James Madison 
“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” Patrick Henry
“…ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the State governments would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm… But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.” James Madison 
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” John Adams 
“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. …It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. …if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.” Samuel Adams 
“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time. They therefore who are decrying the Christian religion… are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” Charles Carroll (signed the Declaration)
“Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” James Madison 
“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” Samuel Adams (1722-1803), known as the “Father of the American Revolution.”
“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.” Patrick Henry
“…if we are to be told by a foreign Power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little. “George Washington 
‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. “ George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” James Madison 
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816
“…a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. ” John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775
“Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States…. I have, throughout my whole life,held the practice of slavery in… abhorrence.” John Adams, letter, June 8, 1919.
“If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.” Daniel Webster
“Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things…”2 Timothy 4:2-5
Note: While all the above quotes are attributed to various founders, some still lack verifiable sources. If we find that information, it will be added.
1. John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 11-22-1800.
2. John Adams, (1735-1826) Source: letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814
3.The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams (Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851).
4. James Madison, James Madison, Federalist No. 42, January 22, 1788
5. James Madison, speech at the Constitutional Convention, July 11, 1787.
6. James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788.
7. John Adams, Letter, April 15, 1814.
8. Essay published in The Advertiser (1748) and later reprinted in The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Volume 1, by William Vincent Wells; Little, Brown, and Company; Boston, 1865.
9. Charles Carroll, letter to Secretary of War James McHenry in 1800.
10. James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792.
11. George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, May 8, 1796.
12. James Madison (1751-1836), 4th US President, Speech, Virginia State Convention, 2 December 1829.
[Article Reprinted with Permission]
by Bert Kjos 2003
Original Source: http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/history/quotes-founders.htm