He lost two sons in the Revolution and was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration…via American Minute
By Bill Federer
He lost two sons in the Revolution and was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration.A delegate from New Jersey, he declared:
“Gentlemen, New Jersey is ready to vote for independence…The country is not only ripe for independence, but we are in danger of becoming rotten for the want of it!”
He served on 120 Congressional Committees and was a primary proponent of the separation of powers, insisting checks be placed on the power of government.
His name was John Witherspoon, and he died NOVEMBER 15, 1794.
Born in Scotland, he was a descendant of the Reformer John Knox.
His other Princeton students included a U.S. Vice-President, 3 Supreme Court Justices, 10 Cabinet Members, 13 Governors, 21 Senators and 39 Congressmen and 114 ministers.
After his wife died in 1789, he headed up a committee in the New Jersey legislature to abolish slavery.
John Adams described John Witherspoon as “A true son of liberty…but first, he was a son of the Cross.”
“If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.
He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.
Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country…”
“It is in the man of piety and inward principle, that we may expect to find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier…
God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable
and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.”
When peace was made with Britain, John Witherspoon exhorted all in his “Thanksgiving Sermon” to live for:
“…the Glory of God, the public interest of religion and the good of others, as civil liberty cannot be long preserved without virtue.
A Republic must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty.”
Interested in more on John Witherspoon? Continue reading…
“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…property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage…
Governments are to defend and secure rights of conscience.”
“Universal profligacy makes a nation ripe for divine judgments and is the natural means of bringing them to ruin;
reformation of manners is of the utmost necessity in our present distress.”
In regards to man’s need for redemption, Rev. Witherspoon explained:
“The corruption of our nature…is the foundation-stone of the doctrine of redemption. Nothing can be more absolutely necessary to true religion, than a clear conviction of the sinfulness of our nature and state…”
“Men of lax and corrupt principles take great delight in speaking to the praise of human nature, and extolling its dignity, without distinguishing what it was at its first creation from what it is in its present fallen state…
The evil of sin appears from every page of…the history of the world…
Nothing is more plain from scripture…than that man by nature is in fact incapable of recovery without the power of God specially interposed.”
“Religion is the grand concern of us all…the salvation of our souls in the one thing needful.”
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|By Bill FedererOn OCTOBER 15, 1788, James Madison warned:
“As the courts are generally the last in making the decision, it results to them, by refusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character.This makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended and can never be proper.”
On OCTOBER 15, 1991, the U.S. Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court Justice. During the hearings, in reply to Senator Thurmond, Clarence Thomas replied:”The role of a judge is a limited one. It is to…interpret the Constitution, where called upon, but at no point to impose his or her will or…opinion in that process.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote to Abigail Adams, September 11, 1804:
“Nothing in the Constitution has given them (judges) a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them…
The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional… not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive…would make the judiciary a despotic branch.”
Webster’s Dictionary defined “despot” as:
“Absolute and arbitrary authority power… independent of the control of men.”
“You seem…to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions;a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy...”
“Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so….and their power (is) the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible , as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.
The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal,knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”
In his 1841 Inaugural Address, PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison warned:
“The great danger to our institutions does…appear to me to be…theaccumulation in one of the departments of that which was assigned to others.
Limited as are the powers which have been granted, still enough have been granted to constitute a despotism if concentrated in one of the departments.”
In 1857, Democrat appointed JusticeRoger Taney gave the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision that slaves were not citizens, but property.
Lincoln alluded to this decision in his First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861:”I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court…
having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of the eminent tribunal.“
Thomas Jefferson warned Mr. Hammond in 1821:
“The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in…the federal judiciary;
an irresponsible body…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 from the States.”
Jefferson wrote September 6, 1819:
“The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
Thomas Jefferson explained to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823:”On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates,and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Baron Montesquieu, the most frequently quoted writer by the Framers of the Constitution, warned of the dangers of uncontrolled judicial power in his Spirit of the Laws, 1748:”Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separated from legislative power and from executive power.If it were joined to legislative power, the power over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislator.
If it were joined to executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor.
All would be lost if the same…body of principal men… exercised these three powers.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, 1835, warned:
“The President, who exercises a limited power, may err without causing great mischief in the State.
Congress may decide amiss without destroying the Union, because the electoral body in which Congress originates may cause it to retract its decision
by changing its members.But if the Supreme Court is ever composed of imprudent men or bad citizens, the Union may be plunged into anarchy or civil war.”
Colonial leader John Cotton stated:
“For whatever transcendent power is given, will certainly over-run those that give it…It is necessary therefore, that all power that is on earth be limited.”
“All men having power ought to be distrusted.”
“And of fatal tendency…to put, in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party – often a small but artful and enterprising minority…
They are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People and to usurp for themselves the reins of Government;
destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
“It is easy to conceive that great evils to our country and its institutions might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men irresponsible to the people.
Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority, and should not be regarded as deciding questions of constitutional power.”
“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.”
“All history tells us that a free people should be watchful of delegated power,
and should never acquiesce in a practice which will diminish their control over it.”
Lord Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton. April 5, 1881:“All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
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‘A people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of arbitrary power.’- Lewis Cass via American Minute
|By Bill FedererThe Democrat Party’s candidate for President in the 1848 election was Lewis Cass, born OCTOBER 9, 1782.
In 1807, Lewis Cass became the US Marshal for Ohio.
He was a Brigadier-General in the War of 1812, fighting in the Battle of the Thames.President James Madison appointed him Governor-General of the Michigan Territory, 1813-1831, where he made Indian treaties, organized townships and built roads.
In 1820, he led an expedition to northern Minnesota to search for the source of the Mississippi River in order to define the border between the U.S. and Canada.
Cass’ expedition geologist Henry Schoolcraft identified the Mississippi’s source as Lake Itasca in 1832.
President Andrew Jackson appointed Lewis Cass as Secretary of War in 1831, then minister to France in 1836.
He was elected a U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1845-48, 1849-57.
Senator Lewis Cass wrote from Washington, D.C. in 1846:
“God, in His providence, has given us a Book of His revealed will to be with us at the commencement of our career in this life and at its termination;
and to accompany us during all chances and changes of this trying and fitful progress, to control the passions, to enlighten the judgment, to guide the conscience, to teach us what we ought to do here, and what we shall be hereafter.”
Lewis Cass delivered a Eulogy for Secretary of State Daniel Webster, December 14, 1852:”‘How are the mighty fallen!’ we may yet exclaim, when reft of our great and wisest; but they fall to rise again from death
to life, when such quickening faith in the mercy of God and in the sacrifice of the Redeemer comes to shed upon them its happy influence this side of the grave and beyond it…”Continuing his Eulogy of Daniel Webster, Lewis Cass stated”
“And beyond all this he died in the faith of the Christian – humble, but hopeful – adding another to the long list of eminent men who have searched the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and have found it to be the word and the will of God.”
Lewis Cass was Secretary of State for President James Buchanan, 1857-1860.
The State of Michigan placed his statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
In 17 States, Lewis Cass has places named for him, including: 30 townships, 10 cities, 10 streets, 9 counties, 4 schools, 3 parks, 2 lakes, 1 river, 1 fort, and 1 building.
Lewis Cass stated:
“Independent of its connection with human destiny hereafter, the fate of republican government is indissolubly bound up with the fate of the Christian religion,
and a people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of their own evil passions and of arbitrary power.“
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The British captured nearly a thousand American ships, impressing and enslaving thousands of Americans.
The British made alliances with Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who rallied Indians to attack American settlements.
Incited by Tecumseh and armed through British aid, the Red Stick Creek Indians attacked Fort Mims, Alabama, on August 30, 1813.
Driven by rumors the British were paying cash for scalps, the Red Sticks killed over 500 men, women and children in the largest Indian massacre in American history.
Outraged, many volunteered for the Army, including Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Daniel Boone, though Boone was turned down due to his age of 78.
They British attacked on Lake Eire.
They invaded the U.S. Capitol and burnt the White House, the Library of Congress, the Treasury, the Patent Office and the Navy Yard.
They captured Maine’s cities of Eastport, Castine, Hampden, Bangor and Machias.
They bombarded Fort McHenry and attacked New Orleans.
At the beginning of the War, President James Madison had addressed Congress, March 9, 1812:
“The British Government, through its public minister here, a secret agent of that Government was employed…fomenting disaffection…and in intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose of…destroying the Union…
The discovery of such a procedure…will not fail to render more dear to the hearts of all good citizens that happy union of these States which, under Divine Providence, is the guaranty of their liberties.”
On June 1, 1812, President James Madison told Congress:
“We behold…on the side of Great Britain a state of war…Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs…shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events.”
In a Proclamation of War, June 19, 1812, President James Madison stated:
“I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States…as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations…to consult the best means under the blessing of Divine Providence of abridging its calamities.”
President Madison, who had introduced the First Amendment in the First Session of Congress, proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer, July 9, 1812:
“A day, to be set apart for the devout purpose of rendering the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes;
of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness, and His assistance in the great duties of repentance…
and especially of offering fervent supplications that in the present season of calamity and war He would take the American people under His peculiar care and protection…
turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, He would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace.”
On November 4, 1812, in his Fourth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“The war in which we are actually engaged in…was preceded by a patience without example under wrongs accumulating without end…
Appeal was accordingly made…to the Just and All-powerful Being who holds in His hand the chain of events and the destiny of nations…
We prosecute the war with united counsels…until peace be so obtained…under the Divine blessing.”
On February 24, 1813, President James Madison told Congress:
“Great Britain had already introduced into her commerce during the war a system…resting on a mass of forgery and perjury…making an unfortunate progress in undermining those principles of morality and religion which are the best foundation of national happiness….
The general tendency of these demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances will be reprobated by the civilized and Christian world.”
On March 4, 1813, President James Madison stated in his Second Inaugural Address:
“I should be compelled to shrink if I…felt less deeply a conviction that the war with a powerful nation…is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successful termination.”
On May 25, 1813, in a Special Session Message to Congress, President James Madison stated:
“The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals…to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire to future generations that precious…independence which is held in trust by the present from the goodness of Divine Providence.”
On July 23, 1813, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer:
“In times of public calamity such as that of the war…it is especially becoming that the hearts of all should be…turned to that Almighty Power in whose hands are the welfare and the destiny of nations…
For…He has blessed the United States with a political Constitution founded on the will and authority of the whole people and guaranteeing to each individual security, not only of his person and his property, but of those sacred rights of conscience so essential to his present happiness and so dear to his future hopes…
that He would pardon our manifold transgressions and awaken and strengthen in all the wholesome purposes of repentance…so He would…bestow His blessings on our arms in resisting the hostile…
If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences…that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts…
and making no appeal but to reason, to the heart, and to the conscience, can spread its benign influence everywhere and can attract to the divine altar those freewill offerings of humble supplication.”
On December 7, 1813, in his Fifth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“It has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water….On Lake Erie, the squadron under the command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole…
We may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heavenon so righteous a cause.”
On September 1, 1814, in a National Proclamation after the British had invaded the Capitol, President James Madison stated:
“The enemy by a sudden incursion have succeeded in invading the capitol…though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices…
The glory acquired by their fathers in establishing the independence which is now to be maintained by their sons with the augmented strength and resources with which time and Heaven had blessed them.”
On September 20, 1814, in his Sixth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“The capture of nearly a thousand American vessels and the impressment of thousands of American seafaring citizens…by the Government of Great Britain…
Our beloved country…persevering hostility…must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world and the best hopes of support from an Omnipotent and Kind Providence.“
On November 16, 1814, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer:
“In the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God…for…His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace…
voluntarily offering…humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance.”
When the war ended, President James Madison addressed Congress, February 18, 1815:
“I lay before Congress copies of the treaty of peace and amity between the United States and His Britannic Majesty…We accord in grateful acknowledgments for the protection which Providence has bestowed upon us.”
On March 4, 1815, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving:
“To be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments toAlmighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.
No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States…
To the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land…especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace.”
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood” James Madison
“The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” James Madison
“Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy of monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” John Adams
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams
“Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” Benjamin Franklin
“Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.” Benjamin Franklin
In the post I put up previously about the founding Father’s there was something that struck me! Roger Sherman stated:
There is one amendment proposed by the convention of South Carolina respecting religious tests, by inserting the word other, between the words no and religious in that article, which is an ingenious thought, and had that word been inserted, it would probably have prevented any objection on that head. But it may be considered as a clerical omission and be inserted without calling a convention; as it now stands the effect will be the same”
This was written in his second letter to the New Haven Gazette on the 25th of December 1788. It made me wonder how much history would have changed if that word, other, had been inserted in between the words no and religious?
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
From the Congressional Debates of 1789, we have this discussion on Religious Amendments:
August 15, 1789 First Federal Congress (Amendments-religious reference)
The House again went into a Committee of the Whole on the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Mr. Boudinot in the chair.
The fourth proposition being under consideration, as follows:
Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert ‘no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.
Mr. SYLVESTER had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression used in this paragraph. He apprehended that it was liable to a construction different from what had been made by the committee. He feared it might be thought to abolish religion altogether.
Mr. VINING suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the sentence.
Mr. GERRY said it would read better if it was no religious doctrine shall be established by law.
Mr. SHERMAN thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as Congress had ‘no authority whatever delegated to them by the Constitution to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it struck out.’
Mr. CARROLL As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, a peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he said he was much in favor of adopting the words. He thought it would tend more towards conciliating the minds of the people to the government than almost any other opinion he heard proposed. He would not contend with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part of the community.
Mr. MADISON said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the state conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion, that under the clause of the Constitution, which gave power to Congress to make all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.
Mr. HUNTINGTON said that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this subject, that the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction on it. The ministers of their congregations to the eastward were maintained by contributions of those who belong to their society; the expense of building meeting houses was contributed in the same manner. These things were regulated by bylaws. If an action was brought before a federal court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers or buildings of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.
By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law; he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore, the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and the free exercise of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.
Mr. MADISON thought, if the word ‘National’ was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion, to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word ‘National’ was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.
Mr. LIVERMORE was not satisfied with the amendment; but he did not wish them to dwell long on the subject. He thought it would be better if it were altered, and made to read in this manner, that Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.
Mr. GERRY did not like the term National, proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought to his mind some observations that had taken place in the Conventions at the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been insisted upon by those who were called anti-federalists, that this form of government consolidated the union; the honorable gentleman’s motion shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called anti-federalists at that time, complained that they were in favor of a federal government, and the others were in favor of a National one; the federalists were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others did not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and anti-federalists, but rats and anti-rats.
Mr. MADISON withdrew his motion but observed that the words single ‘no National religion shall be established by law’, did not apply that the government was a national one; the question was then taken on MR. LIVERMORE’s motion, and passed in the affirmative 31 for it, and 20 against it.(5)
(End of Religious Reference)
I find it odd that people can read the amendment and clearly understand that the government is not allowed to infringe on the rights of the press, and yet as the same time ignore the statement that this same government is forbidden from infringing upon the rights of the people to practice their religion and to assemble peaceably as they will.
ARTICLE THE THIRD.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances.
I also find it odd that those we elect to serve us and defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of American, assume that their role is instead to change that very document into something that suits their ideas of what should be. We have a responsibility to those who come after us to teach them the true meaning of what the oath of affirmation says.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
We have strayed very far from our beginnings, so far that children today seem to believe that our President serves as a Monarch, instead as part of a trinity of three equal branches of government with each having their own established jobs to do. We have let Presidents take power by way of Presidential Signings that has no real basis in law, and yet they use this power to force their will upon the people even when the people who elected them cry out for change. Our current discussion of limiting the rights of the people is another power grab that goes totally against the Constitution and knowing it, our leaders intend to do all they can to steal this right away from the people. This was not unforeseen by those very writers of the Constitution:
“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”
Mr. GERRY: This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous and prevent them from bearing arms.
What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures, with respect to a militia as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid progress that administration were making to divest them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated by the influence of the Crown.
These gentlemen knew what it was like to be under an oppressive government. They understood the probability that there would come a time when our government no longer served the people but instead used force to impose their will upon them. They wanted to prevent this from happening.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (Quoting Cesare Beccaria)
The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.
No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.
To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Back then!)
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.
And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.
In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.
The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.
When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.
Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.
It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.
Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
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.
I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Most bad government has grown out of too much government.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. Read more at
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
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.
The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.
To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.
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.
What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed?
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.
Read more: Brainy Quote
He lost two sons in the Revolution, was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration and served on 120 Congressional Committees. His name was John Witherspoon, and he died NOVEMBER 15, 1794. Born in Scotland, a descendant of John Knox, John Witherspoon was President of Princeton, leader of a New Jersey committee to abolish slavery, and taught 9 of the writers of the U.S. Constitution, including James Madison. Other students became Vice-President, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Members, Governors, Senators and Congressmen. John Adams described Witherspoon as “A true son of liberty…but first, he was a son of the Cross.” On May 17, 1776, the day Congress declared a Day of Fasting, Rev. John Witherspoon told his Princeton students: “He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most…active in promoting true and undefiled religion…to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country. It is in the man of piety and inward principle that we may…find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier.” John Witherspoon concluded: “God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable.”
On NOVEMBER 1, 1800, John Adams became the first U.S. President to move into the White House. The following day he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in which he composed a beautiful prayer. A portion of that prayer was inscribed on the mantlepiece in the State Dining Room by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” The first building constructed on Lafayette Square after the White House was St. John’s Episcopal Church. Because every President since James Madison worshipped there at some time, Pew 54 has been designated as the traditional seat for the First Family. Other historic Washington, D.C. area churches where Presidents worshipped include Christ Church in Alexandria, where President Washington attended; the National Presbyterian Church; the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where President Lincoln attended and where Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall pastored from 1937-1949; and Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where John F. Kennedy attended.
Quoting Thomas Jefferson: “On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power.”
The Son of one of the Boston Tea Party “Indians,” he graduated from Harvard and eventually became Massachusetts Speaker of the House. At age 32, he was appointed the youngest Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served 34 years and helped establish the illegality of the slave trade in the Amistad case. His name was Joseph Story, and he died SEPTEMBER 10, 1845. A founder of Harvard Law School, Justice Joseph Story stated in Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 1844: “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” Appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison-the person who introduced the First Amendment, Justice Joseph Story commented on it in his Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840: “At the time of the adoption…of the Amendment..the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State.” Justice Story continued: “The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”
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