Abraham Lincoln: If vital questions are settled irrevocably by the Supreme Court, you have resigned your government
“…The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”
-- Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address
"Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be ever so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn. I know some say, let us have good laws, and no matter for the men that execute them: but let them consider, that though good laws do well, good men do better: for good laws may want good men, and be abolished or evaded by ill men but good men will never want good laws, nor suffer ill ones."
-- William Penn
“A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. And for that reason no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated …."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to C. Hammond, July 1821
“Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catchphrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let man label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country -- hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
- Mark Twain
"I scarcely need to refer to the fact that the Houses of Congress, and so as I know the state legislatures, open their daily sessions with prayer.
The foundation of our independence and our Government rests upon basic religious convictions.
Back of the authority of our laws is the authority of the Supreme Judge of the World, to whom we still appeal for their final justification..."
All liberty is individual liberty...
The principle of equality is recognized. It follows inevitably from belief in the brotherhood of man through the fatherhood of God.
When once the right of the individual to liberty and equality is admitted, there is no escape from the conclusion that he alone is entitled to the rewards of his own industry...
It seems to me perfectly plain that the authority of law, the right to equality, liberty and property, under American institutions, have for their foundation reverence for God.
If we could imagine that to be swept away, these institutions of our American government could not long survive."
-- President Calvin Coolidge
"Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity, tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government."
- James Kent, Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court
"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."
-- Fisher Ames
"Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first -- the most basic -- expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God's help, it will continue to be."
-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from remarks recorded for the "Back-to-God" Program of the American Legion, 2/20/55
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."
-- John Adams
"The End and Design of civil Society and Government, from this View of it’s Origin, must be to secure the Rights and Properties of it’s Members, and promote their Welfare; or in the Apostle’s words, that Men may lead quiet and peaceable Lives in Godliness and Honesty, (I Tim. 2.1.) i.e. that they may be secure in the Enjoyment of all their Rights and Properties righteously acquired, and their honest Industry quietly proffess it’s proper Rewards, and they enjoy all the Conveniencies of a social Life, to which Uprightness entitles them; and that Men may peaceably practice Godliness,—may worship & serve the Supreme Being, in the Way they believe most acceptable to him, provided they behave peaceably, and transgress not the Rules of Righteousness in their Behaviour towards others.
In all Governments, Magistrates are God’s Ministers, designed for Good to the People. The End of their Institution, is to be Instruments of Divine Providence, to secure and promote the Happiness of Society; to be Terrors to the doers of Evil,—to prevent and punish Unrighteousness, and remedy the Evils occasioned thereby; and to be a Praise, a Security and Reward to them that do well, (Rom. 13. ch.) The End and Design of Government, is to secure Men from all Injustice, Violence and Rapine, that they may enjoy their Rights and Properties; all the Advantages of Society, and peaceably practice Godliness:—that the Unjust and Rapacious may be restrained, the ill Effects of their Wickedness be prevented, the secular Welfare of all be secured and promoted."
-- Abraham Williams, An Election Sermon, Boston, 1862
"It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated."
-- James Madison, Speech at the Virginia Convention, 1829
“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The instruments, by which [government] must act, are either the authority of the Laws or force. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; ... and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government, there is an end to liberty."
At the close of the Revolutionary War in 1783, George Washington wrote to the thirteen governors to disband the army and send his troops home. He included a prayer that God would “dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy” and love one another. This foundational prayer by our nation’s first leader for his soldiers and his people is worth remembering as we honor their costly sacrifices for the independence of our country.
Here is the full version of his letter to the Governors requesting that his troops be sent home:
Circular Letter Addressed to the Governors of all the States on the Disbanding of the Army, June 14, 1783
"I have thus freely declared what I wished to make known, before I surrendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me. The task is now accomplished. I now bid adieu to your Excellency, as the chief magistrate of your State, at the same time I bid a last farewell to the cares of office and all the employments of public life.
It remains, then, to be my final and only request that your Excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meeting, and that they may be considered the legacy of one, who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction on it.
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."
-- General George Washington
The government is operating under a flawed understanding about human nature.
February 22, 2012
by JOEL HILLIKER
Crucial question: Do you think human nature is fundamentally good—or evil?
The difference between these two opposing views forms the heart of a crisis in the United States right now.
The common liberal view of human nature is that it is fundamentally good and should be given room to flourish. The biblical and realist view is that it is fundamentally evil and must be conscientiously governed.
Thankfully, America’s Founders took the latter view. As a result, the system of government they created has stood for over two centuries and done much to guarantee the nation’s success.
They realized that government is necessary in order to check the evils of human nature in society. They also recognized—having fought and bled in order to free themselves from a tyrant—that firm limits on power are needed in order to check the evils of human nature within the government.
. . . .
In the Constitution, the American Founders established a system that successfully governs the government.
. . . .
Read this story at thetrumpet.com ...
"This is evidently the natural origin and state of all civil government, the sole end and design of which is, not to ennoble a few and enslave the multitude, but the public benefit, the good of the people; that they may be protected in their persons, and secured in the enjoyment of all their rights, and be enabled to lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty."
-- Samuel Cooke, from a sermon to the Continental Congress, 1770
“Nay, I believe we may advance one step farther, and affirm that the balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land. The only possible way, then, of preserving the balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue, is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society; to make a division of land into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates. If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue and interest of the multitude, in all acts of government. I believe these principles have been felt, if not understood, in the Massachusetts Bay, from the beginning.”
--John Adams, Letter to James Sullivan, May 26, 1776
"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another."
-- James Madison, Federalist No. 55, 1788
_"The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most - for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?"
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 1813
"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."
-- Charles Carroll, U.S. Senator and signer of the Declaration of Independence
"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws -- the first growing out of the last. ... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government."
-- Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, 1794
"There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue."
-- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 35, 1788
"The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government."
-- Noah Webster, History of the United States, 1832
True north on the American moral compass is pointed directly at the equal protection of the God-given rights of every individual: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men..."
-- Tom Hoefling