In celebration of July 4, here are some quotes from the founding fathers of the United States
John Adams, July 3, 1776, in a letter to his wife:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”
In 1780, speaking of setting up the country, John Adams said:
“The debates were managed by persons of various denominations.… [and the] delegates did not conceive themselves to be vested with power to set up one denomination of Christians above another.”
July 26, 1796, John Adams wrote in his diary:
“The Christian religion is, above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of Wisdom, Virtue, Equity, and Humanity. Let the Blackguard Paine say what he will; it is Resignation to God, it is Goodness itself to Man.”
On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry, speaking in a Virginia government convention that was meeting in a church building, said:
“Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God who presides over the destines of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.…
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!
In 1784, Patrick Henry supported a Bill establishing a “Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion”:
“The general diffusion of Christian knowledge hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society …”
In 1796, in a letter to his daughter, Patrick Henry stated:
“Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is the character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.”
Thomas Paine wrote an essay that General George Washington read aloud to his troops at Valley Forge on December 23, 1776. In it, Paine said:
“The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, say some, is the king of America? I’ll tell you, friend, He reigns above.
Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be placed on the divine law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon.
The Almighty implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our heart. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals.”
Thomas Paine, although being the author of The Age of Reason, stated:
“I believe in one God.… and I hope for happiness beyond this life.”
Charles Carroll, a member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, said on November 4, 1800:
“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 [and] which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
On September 1825, Charles Carroll said:
“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.”
These are but a very few of the voluminous series of quotes from our founding fathers found in William J. Federer’s collections of quotations. They are readily available, but the one I am using is:
William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced According to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).