In recent years, it seems to have become open season on the American Founders. Some have scornfully described the Founders as dead white guys who owned slaves. Well—they’re certainly dead; they were white; and only a few owned slaves and the ones that did, didn’t like the institution. Such will be a topic of another blog. The Founders were actually endowed with uncommon wisdom. To understand them, it is far better to read what they actually said, rather than what some historian may have concluded about them. My upcoming book allows the Founders to speak for themselves. For now, let’s consider the words of just one of them, John Adams. He was a Founder, signer of the Declaration of the United States, Vice President under George Washington, and the second President of the United States.
- June 21, 1776 “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” “The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
- July 1, 1776 “Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it (Declaration of Independence). All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence forever!“
- In a July 1, 1776 letter to Archibald Bullock, former member of the Continental Congress from Georgia, Adams wrote: “The object is great which We have in View, and We must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But We should always remember that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate as there is nothing, on this side (of) the New Jerusalem, of equal importance to Mankind.”
- July 3, 1776 “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever. “You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
- In concern for his sons, John Adams advised his wife Abigail to: “Let them revere nothing but Religion, Morality and Liberty.”
- 11, 1798 (Address to the military) “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 was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
- On November 2, 1800, John Adams became the first president to move into the White House. As he was writing a letter to his wife, he composed a beautiful prayer, which was later engraved upon the mantel in the state dining room: “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.”
- August 28, 1811 “Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society.”
- June 28, 1813 “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.”
- In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams wrote: “Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?… And without virtue, there can be no political liberty….Will you tell me how to prevent riches from becoming the effects of temperance and industry? Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly?…I believe no effort in favor is lost…“
- In a letter dated November 4, 1816, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion…“
- December 27, 1816 “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation.” “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have…a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the character and conduct of their rulers.”
Do you agree that at least this Founder was endowed with uncommon wisdom?
4 thoughts on “American Founders Endowed with Uncommon Wisdom!”
The Secular Humanists have the past four decades rewritten history. The teacher of today is faced with text books and curriculums which preach aborrance for God, and teach intolerance of any fellow American who holds to the ten nets of Evangelicalism. In effect, the classroom has become the sanctuary of humanism. When I recently had a Thanksgiving discussion with a going man of about 18, he was dumbfounded that I really believed that the Pilgrims sought our shores in order escape state enforced religion and persecution for their religious beliefs. His argument was instead of religious freedom, they were in search of political asylum. Oh, what would our founding fathers think if the were to have been alive to see this day of the corruption of the foundations of liberty?
Interesting thoughts, Mark. If the Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be very disappointed at what their beloved country has become. Upon leaving the building after signing the new U.S. Constitution, Ben Franklin was asked, “What do we have now, a monarchy or a republic?” Franklin replied, “We have a republic, if you can keep it!”
Today, evolution/humanism is forcibly required in all public schools; God and anything of a spiritual nature is specifically and vigorously denied.
Scroll down; there is another post on this blog that provides a long bullet list of the incredible miracles that sustained the Pilgrims. Their own writings powerfully confirm their risky quest for religious freedom. Original first person evidence is always a better reflection of history than the opinions of amateur or professional historians. What do you think?
I was fortunate enough to be referred to your blog by one of your former students, Janice Vélez. After reading the contents of the “About” link, I read your post titled “American Founders Endowed with Uncommon Wisdom!’ and found your perspective on the integrity of the founding fathers’ character a refreshing alternative to the more cynical or borderline apathetical attitude I have come to expect from self-described “progressive” educators. I agree with your opening statements; It’s difficult to heed the wisdom of people for whom we have not met, and easy to brand them hypocrites for perceived moral short comings. As you stated this is what many, even well-educated, modern Americans seem to have done. However, it doesn’t take a devout Christian to understand the applicability of the biblical statement “the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” in this context. We can assess the depth of the Founder’s understanding through the words they used to express their views. I can think of none more qualified than the articulated thoughts of John Adams to exemplify this point. He understood that without strong character man cannot muster the consistency of action and faith in the rewards of hard work to succeed. Independence is the fruit of a cultivated, morally erect mind. Discipline, specifically self-discipline, is freedom in that it prepares us to withstand forces that might otherwise subjugate us. Without the concept of independence, self-enforced individual accountability provided by a strong character, we cannot achieve the level of interdependence required for the lasting success of a nation. A single living cell can live alone in a Petri dish, but without contributing to the well-being of a living organism, it has no purpose. Without mastering the foundation of lasting success, we also have no purpose, and we doom our nation to the doldrums of mediocrity. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I plan on visiting your blog more frequently to benefit from your perspective!
Your thoughtful comments, Ezra, are very interesting. “Progressive” is a synonym for “humanist.” To advance the progressive/humanist agenda, the activists must destroy everything they believe is “tainted” by faith or religion. That means they must demonize the founders, the founding documents (Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution), the traditional family, anything patriotic or perceived as religious and the free enterprise system.
The reality is that freedom and various rights come from God, not from the government. Governments can only take away freedom by decreeing that we must do this or must not do that. However, freedom and every right has an associated responsibility that requires voluntary restraint. As John Adams and others so aptly pointed out, absent a religious faith and there is no voluntary restraint. As a result, the absolute judicial interpretation of the elements of the Bill of Rights has been taken to absurd extremes putting our beloved institutions and this country on a path to self-destruction.
During the Cold War, Nikita Khruschev, prime minister of the Soviet Union, said that it would never be necessary to attack the United States, adding that the U.S. would collapse from within. That comment was made in the 1960s. What do you think?