Founding Fathers on Religion and Morality

George Washington

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 man and citizens.

Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?

[Address to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, October 9, 1789.]

Oliver Ellsworth (Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court)

[T]he primary objects of government are the peace, order, and prosperity of society. . . . To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential. Institutions for the promotion of good morals are therefore objects of legislative provision and support: and among these . . . religious institutions are eminently useful and important. . . . [T]he legislature, charged with the great interests of the community, may, and ought to countenance, aid and protect religious institutions.

 [Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1802 Oliver Ellsworth to the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut]

John Jay  (Original Chief-Justice U. S. Supreme Court)

 [It is] the duty of all wise, free, and virtuous governments to countenance and encourage virtue and religion.

Fisher Ames (Framer of the First Amendment)

Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits . . . 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.

Abraham Baldwin (Signer of the Constitution, A Framer of the Bill of Rights in the First Congress)

[A] free government. . . . can only be happy when the public principle and opinions are properly directed. . . . by religion and education. It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality. 

 

 

Comments are closed.