“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
“A Citizen of New Haven” [Roger Sherman]
The Letters: I-II
New Haven Gazette, 18 and 25 December 1788
Observations on the Alterations Proposed as Amendments to the new Federal Constitution.
6. It is proposed that no commercial treaty should be made without the consent of two-thirds of the senators, nor any cession of territory, right of navigation or fishery, without the consent of three-fourths of the members present in each branch of congress.
It is provided by the constitution that no commercial treaty shall be made by the president without the consent of two-thirds of the senators present, and as each state has an equal representation and suffrage in the senate, the rights of the state will be as well secured under the new constitution as under the old; and it is not probable that they would ever make a cession of territory or any important national right without the consent of congress.
7. 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
Observations on the New Federal Constitution
The immediate security of the civil and domestic rights of the people will be in the government of the particular states. And as the different states have different local interests and customs which can be best regulated by their own laws, it should not be expedient to admit the federal government to interfere with them, any farther than may be necessary for the good of the whole. The great end of the federal government is to protect the several states in the enjoyment of those rights, against foreign invasion, and to preserve peace and a beneficial intercourse among themselves; and to regulate and protect our commerce with foreign nations.
These were not sufficiently provided for by the former articles of confederation, which was the occasion of calling the late Convention to make amendments. This they have done by forming a new constitution containing the powers vested in the federal government, under the former, with such additional powers as they deemed necessary to attain the ends the states had in view, in their appointment. And to carry those powers into effect, they thought it necessary to make some alterations in the organization of the government: this they supposed to be warranted by their commission.
The powers vested in the federal government are clearly defined, so that each state still retain its sovereignty in what concerns its own internal government, and a right to exercise every power of a sovereign state not particularly delegated to the government of the United States. The new powers vested in the United States, are, to regulate commerce; provide for a uniform practice respecting naturalization, bankruptcies, and organizing, arming and training the militia; and for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States; and for promoting the progress of science in the mode therein pointed out. There are some other matters which Congress has power under the present confederation to require to be done by the particular states, which they will be authorized to carry into effect themselves under the new constitution; these powers appear to be necessary for the common benefit of the states, and could not be effectually provided for by the particular states
Read more from letters from Roger Sherman and our other Founders at Online Library of Liberty
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
–The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.
“The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.
“Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.”
–Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, excerpt from a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
–Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.
1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence
“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
–History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.
“I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance equal in power and glory. That the scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. That God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, so as thereby he is not the author or approver of sin. That he creates all things, and preserves and governs all creatures and all their actions, in a manner perfectly consistent with the freedom of will in moral agents, and the usefulness of means. That he made man at first perfectly holy, that the first man sinned, and as he was the public head of his posterity, they all became sinners in consequence of his first transgression, are wholly indisposed to that which is good and inclined to evil, and on account of sin are liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever.
“I believe that God having elected some of mankind to eternal life, did send his own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind, so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the gospel offer: also by his special grace and spirit, to regenerate, sanctify and enable to persevere in holiness, all who shall be saved; and to procure in consequence of theirrepentance and faith in himself their justification by virtue of his atonement as the only meritorious cause.
“I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, joined by the bond of the covenant.
“I believe that the souls of believers are at their death made perfectly holy, and immediately taken to glory: that at the end of this world there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a final judgement of all mankind, when the righteous shall be publicly acquitted by Christ the Judge and admitted to everlasting life and glory, and the wicked be sentenced to everlasting punishment.”
–The Life of Roger Sherman, pp. 272-273.
Read More at About.com Christianity
[John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. 1, p. 161.]
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
~Thomas Jefferson (1781)
via Samuel at Gilgal
- The Unknown History Of The Founding Fathers and Slavery (via Samuel at Gilgal) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- The Importance Of The Bible To The Christian (via Samuel at Gilgal) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- A Remarkable Prayer Of Two Words (via Samuel at Gilgal) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Screwtape On Picking Churches (via Samuel at Gilgal) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Afflictions Overcome (via Samuel at Gilgal) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Faith And Schools From The Founders View (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Proving America’s Christian Heritage From the Words of Our Founding Fathers and Past Patriots (jackwoodard.wordpress.com)
Got this reminder in a email this morning and thought that it would be a good example on what the founders thought about the combination of Religion and Education!
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.(Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), p. 8.)
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.(Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), pp. 93-94.)
- Proving America’s Christian Heritage From the Words of Our Founding Fathers and Past Patriots (jackwoodard.wordpress.com)
- Spending More on Incarceration Than Education: An Answer (dakotavoice.com)
Does it end? Does it no longer apply? Is the President bound by the Constitution? Or is it simply a roadmap that he can follow if he chooses?
John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
What did he mean by that? Perhaps what he meant was that if our leaders no longer had any morals and did not feel that they were someday going to have to answer to a higher authority for their actions, they would not feel themselves bound to obey something that they did not agree with.
Mr. Obama and his administration have made it perfectly clear that they do not feel that any law of the country that they do not agree with, that they are not obligated to either obey, or defend it in the courts. They do not even seem to feel that they should obey the courts if they are directed to.
None of this is Constitutional, so perhaps Mr. Adams was right. Perhaps that means that the next person who is elected to the office of the President must at the very least prove to the American people that they have some morals. Let us make sure that they are not just striving to gain power over the people in order to “Fundamentally Change” both America and the Constitution in order to suit what ever agenda that they may have. Let us instead listen to the words of Thomas Jefferson who said “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Our President wouldn’t be the first to act extra-constitutionally; the pattern goes far back into U.S. history. The famous slippery slope describes that history; earlier events made smaller blips on the power horizon and later ones loom larger. Sometimes, the Supreme Court has stepped in, as exemplified by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.
President Obama though, may have outdone any of his predecessors in exerting such powers and in avoiding much juridical or public reaction in so doing. In effect, if that observation is correct, the Constitution might be decreasingly interesting history.
Some of the actions we’ll examine have occurred with the formal support of a compliant Democratic Congress; others have been done by the President or his officers on their own.
The Constitution provides the President these powers:
- To command the military (but not to declare war).
- With Senate consent, to appoint U.S. officials and judges.
- To appoint officials created in law as the law provides and to commission officers.
- With Senate ratification, to make treaties.
- To fill vacancies during Senate recess and to receive ambassadors.
- To pardon convicts and convene or adjourn Congress in certain cases.
- To demand formal opinions from department heads.
- To faithfully execute the laws.
- Has the President Read the Constitution? (khassy2010.wordpress.com)
- The Vanishing Constitution (gds44.wordpress.com)