Quotes

America and Christianity

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
George Washington

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
John Quincy Adams

Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.
Patrick Henry

It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation's humble acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence.
John Adams

The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests.
Andrew Jackson

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.
George Washington

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Thomas Jefferson

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
George Washington

Politics and Character

One man with courage makes a majority.
Andrew Jackson

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.
Thomas Paine

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

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

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
James Madison

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Thomas Paine

Honesty is the best policy.
Benjamin Franklin

When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.
Thomas Jefferson

The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.
Samuel Adams

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 now and then peek out and show itself.
Benjamin Franklin

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.
James Madison

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you ... From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.
Thomas Jefferson

The preservation of liberty depends on the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved.
John Adams

I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
Benjamin Franklin

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.
Thomas Jefferson

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.
George Washington

Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.
Samuel Adams

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
Thomas Jefferson

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.
George Washington

How many observe Christ's birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.
Benjamin Franklin

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder
George Washington

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

Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.
Samuel Adams

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.
George Washington

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson

It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.
George Washington

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

I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.
Andrew Jackson

...but I see nothing in this renewal of the game of 'Robin's alive' but a general demoralization of the nation, a filching from industry it's (sic) honest earnings, wherewith to build up palaces, and raise gambling stock for swindlers and shavers, who are to close too (sic) their career of piracies by fraudulent bankruptcies.
Thomas Jefferson

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.
George Washington

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.
John Adams

Banks and Debt

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Thomas Jefferson

A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.
John C. Calhoun

Bank-paper must be suppressed, and the circulating medium must be restored to the nation to whom it belongs.
Thomas Jefferson

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
Benjamin Franklin

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.
Thomas Jefferson

I have always been afraid of banks.
Andrew Jackson

Never spend your money before you have earned it.
Thomas Jefferson

A penny saved is a penny earned.
Benjamin Franklin

He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.
Benjamin Franklin

All that seems indispensible in stating the account between the dead and the living, is to see that the debts against the latter do not exceed the advances made by the former.
James Madison

We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.
Thomas Jefferson

Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.
James Madison

Mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges... which are employed altogether for their benefit.
Andrew Jackson

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
Thomas Jefferson

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.
Andrew Jackson

Media and Education

It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
Thomas Jefferson

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.
Thomas Jefferson

Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Thomas Jefferson

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.
George Washington

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Thomas Jefferson

The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
Thomas Jefferson

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
George Washington

Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, or morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.
Thomas Jefferson

Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere.
James Madison

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
Thomas Jefferson

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
Thomas Jefferson

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.
John Adams

I cannot live without books.
Thomas Jefferson

Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.
Thomas Jefferson

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.
James Madison

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
James Madison

It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.
John Adams

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
Thomas Jefferson

History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.
Thomas Jefferson

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
Thomas Jefferson

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.
Thomas Jefferson

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.
Thomas Jefferson

No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.
Samuel Adams

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

Limited Government and Freedom

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
James Madison

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which 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, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.
Thomas Jefferson

The duty of government is to leave commerce to its own capital and credit as well as all other branches of business, protecting all in their legal pursuits, granting exclusive privileges to none.
Andrew Jackson

I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of Kings to war against the principles of liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington

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

The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power.
Andrew Jackson

In these countries [of Europe],... ignorance, superstition, poverty, and oppression of body and mind, in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from them can never be hoped. If the Almighty had begotten a thousand sons, instead of one, they would not have sufficed for this task. If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work, to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance and prejudices, and that, as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground, on which our common people are now setting out.
Thomas Jefferson

The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer... form the great body of the people of the United States, they are the bone and sinew of the country men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws.
Andrew Jackson

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

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Thomas Jefferson

There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.
John Witherspoon

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty... it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.
George Washington

If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?
Thomas Jefferson

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
George Washington

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson

Politics is such a torment that I advise everyone I love not to mix with it.
Thomas Jefferson

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
James Madison

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
Thomas Jefferson

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
James Madison

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it.
Thomas Jefferson

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.
George Washington

Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.
Benjamin Franklin

I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery.
Patrick Henry

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Thomas Jefferson

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. -- I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Benjamin Franklin

2nd Amendment/Military/War

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
George Washington

We have a perfect horror at everything like connecting ourselves with the politics of Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible...Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities...

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course...

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
George Washington in His 1796 Farewell Address

I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
Thomas Jefferson

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

We wish not to meddle with the internal affairs of any country, nor with the general affairs of Europe. Peace with all nations, and the right which that gives us with respect to all nations, are our object.
Thomas Jefferson

The fundamental principle of our government [is] never to entangle us with the broils of Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

Nothing is so important as that America shall separate herself from the systems of Europe, and establish one of her own. Our circumstances, our pursuits, our interests, are distinct. The principles of our policy should be so also. All entanglements with that quarter of the globe should be avoided if we mean that peace and justice shall be the polar stars of the American societies.
Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.
James Madison

I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of the labor, property and lives of their people.
Thomas Jefferson

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.
George Washington

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
James Madison

To take part in [the European] conflicts would be to divert our energies from creation to destruction.
Thomas Jefferson

The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.
George Washington

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.
George Washington

"Our nation has wisely avoided entangling itself in the system of European interests, has taken no side between its rival powers, attached itself to none of its ever-changing confederacies.
Thomas Jefferson

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.
George Washington

The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.
Thomas Jefferson

My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.
George Washington

War should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits.
James Madison

It ought to be the very first object of our pursuits to have nothing to do with the European interests and politics. Let them be free or slaves at will, navigators or agriculturists, swallowed into one government or divided into a thousand, we have nothing to fear from them in any form.
Thomas Jefferson

Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
James Madison

War - An act of violence whose object is to constrain the enemy, to accomplish our will.
George Washington

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.
James Madison

For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.
Thomas Jefferson

Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
James Madison

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.
George Washington

A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.
James Madison

No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.
Noah Webster

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
Nathan Hale, before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776



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