"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
“Every law consistent with the Constitution will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.”
-- Thomas Jefferson, Elliot, p. 4:187-88.
“…the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding...”
-- Alexander Hamilton, Elliot, 2:362.
"Useless laws weaken the necessary laws."
-- Charles de Montesquieu
"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
"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