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The Founding Fathers
(and Others)—
What Did They Really Say!
There are a number of history revisionists who desire to convince you that our Founding Fathers were not Christians, did not believe in the Bible, and did not want to establish this country on Christian principles and values. The problem with their attempts is that they are flat wrong! And with the tremendous amount of writings available of our Founding Fathers, they are down right deceiving. Following are a few excerpts of some of those writings. You be the judge for yourself. And these excerpts are just a few of the voluminous references to the Christian heritage of The United States of America.
John Adams, Second President:
(Speaking of July 4, 1776) - “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.” [101]

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion...Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” [113]

Patrick Henry, Founding Father:
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [102]

“[The Bible] is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.” [117]

John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:
“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the pivilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” [105]

Alex de Tocqueville, French historian who visited the U.S. in the early 1800's:
“Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspeect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention...The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their mindds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other... Religion in America...must...be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country,,, From the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved.” [106]

John Quincy Adams, Sixth President (son of John Adams, Second President):
“[T]he birth-day of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour [and] forms a leading even in the progress of the gospel dispensation..[T]he Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth [and] laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” [107]

Noah Webster, Founding Father:
“[T]he 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. ”[108]

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and law... All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” [109]

Dr. Jedediah Morse, The Father of American Geography;
“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation...in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom... All efforts to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.” [110]

William Holmes McGuffey, Publisher of the McGuffey Readers a vital cornerstone of this nation's early education system:
“From no source has the author drawn more copiously than from the Sacred Scriptures. For this [I[ certainly apprehend no censure. In a Christian country, that man is to be pitied, who, at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.” [111]

Thomas Jefferson, Third President:
“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.” [112]

George Washington, First President:
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” [114]

Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President:
“But for [the Bible] we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare...are to be found portrayed in it. ”[115]

Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Third President (not a "founding father," but still interesting):
“The basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a...government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!” [116]

Our Founding Fathers did not consider that a requirement of belief in God as a religious test. What they considered a religious test would be what we today would consider a statement of denomination. Hard to believe? Well how else can you interpret the following:

Excerpt from the Tennessee constitution of 1796:
“Article VIII, Section II. No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.
Article IX, Section IV. That no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state.” [103]

Oath required for office in State of Delaware (1776):
“I, ____________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, and in the Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” [104]


General: The above quotations were excerted from "The Myth of Separation" by David Barton, published by Wallbuilder Press. The following citations are from the same.

101. John and Abigail Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed To His Wife, Charles Francis Adams, ed. (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), Vol. I, p. 128, July 3, 1776.

102. Steve C. Dawson, God's Providence in America's History (Rancho Cordova, CA: Steve C. Dawson, 1988), p.9:6.

103. The Constitutions of the United States of America with the Latest Amendments (Trenton: Moore & Lake, 1813), pp. 342, 344.

104. Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S.; 143 U.S. 457, 469-470 (1892).

105. John Jay, The Correspondence and Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1890), Vol. IV, p. 393, Oct. 12, 1816.

106. Alexis de Tocqueville, The Republic of the United States of America and Its Political Institutions, Reviewed and Examined, Henry Reeves, trans. (Garden City, NY: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1851), Vol. I, p. 335.

107. John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6.

108. Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 300, ¶ 578.

109. Id. at p. 339, ¶ 53.

110. Jedediah Morse's Election Sermon given at Charleston, Mass. on April 25, 1799, taken from an original in the Evans collection compiled by the American Antiquarian Society.

111. William H. McGuffey, McGuffey's Eclectic Fourth Reader (Cincinnati: Winthrop B. Smith & Co., 1853), p. 3, preface.

112. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, p. 237.

113. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, June 21, 1776.

114. Henry Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1927, 1965), p. 18.

115. Abraham Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, ed. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Union Press, 1853), p. 542, September 7, 1864.

116. Steve C. Dawson, God's Providence in America's History (Rancho Cordova, CA: Steve C. Dawson, 1988), p.13:1.

117. William Wirt, The Life and Character of Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: James Webster, 1818), p. 402

Copyright Information:
© JoshuaNet.org. All Rights Reserved, Jim Milligan. Quotations were excerted from “The Myth of Separation” by David Barton, published by Wallbuilder Press. However, permission is granted to copy and distribute free of charge for non-commercial purposes only, as long as it is done in its entirety with all footnotes and citations.

To cite this page:

Milligan, Jim. The Founding Fathers (and Others)—What Did They Really Say!, JoshuaNet, . <http://joshuanet.org/other/founding.html>