This is All the Inheritance
Give To my dear family
Doctrine of Christ
can give them one
which will make them rich indeed"
Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness
Biblical religion and Judeo-Christian
Early American Colonial
By the time of the
American Revolution, theistic language referencing a
who had endowed human beings
with dignity and therefore rights
had worked its way into
Declaration of Independence: “
All Men are
Created Equal, that they are
Endowed by their Creator
That among these are
Pursuit of Happiness…”
There is a backstory.
America’s origins were Deeply Religious
and infused with
Faith Traditions informed by
Many of the early English settlers
Came to America
The original thirteen colonies, chartered by the Crown
were in fact under the rule of a Christian state with an established church.
Yet within the British imperial order, the colonies had freedom to experiment with a range of church and state relationships. Some colonies like Virginia mimicked England and established the Church of England in America. Massachusetts Bay also
Reformed and Puritan Version
of the Church in England.
as a political and religious
refuge for dissenting
Other colonies had soft establishments of sorts,
affirming Christian faith without any particular
preferred denominational church. Provinces like
Rhode Island and Pennsylvania had the
broadest ranging commitments
Freedom of Conscious and Religious Liberty
tolerated dissenters, thus
liberal models pluralism and
Awakening and Enlightenment
The Great Awakening was an inter-colony
spiritual phenomenon in the 1730s and 1740s
that further deepened colonist
Biblical Belief and Personal Faith
As a result, an
American identity took shape
that was animated
Shared religious experience
The evangelically awakened were also deeply influenced
by intellectually enlightened ideals of
freedom of conscience
and religious tolerance
advanced by the British Enlightenment.
Consensus was building that
Freedom of Religion
could enhance spiritual vitality as
Well as support
Moral, Social and Political Order
Philadelphia Faith and Freedom
From William Penn’s vision of a polity cemented by
and down to the thorny business of statecraft at the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787, Pennsylvania and its capital city demonstrated a large, prosperous, and successful experiment in religious liberty. It was a model commonwealth where freedom of conscience fostered a vitality of religious faiths, tolerance, and pluralism, and it did so without an established church. If Pennsylvania could succeed without a state church, why not the new United States? Founders like James Madison, who were in part inspired by Pennsylvania’s success,
Led American constitution
The Bill of Rights and its First Amendment
which prohibited a national church and
Individual Religious Freedom
Faith Guides Liberty Toward Justice
Faith would be Free
Guide Liberty toward Justice
animated future reform movements
For the abolition of slavery,
Native American rights,
civil rights in
seeking liberty and justice for all.
Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell captures this
TRUTH so beautifully.
It is inscribed with a verse from the Hebrew Bible:
"Proclaim Liberty Throughout
All the Land Unto
All the Inhabitants thereof."
There is a reason why this 2,080 pound bell was appropriated
as a symbol of abolition.
It Grounds Liberty in a Moral Universe
Truth and Justice
Nearly all of the Founders had an
Appreciation for the
Value of Biblical Faith
American political culture
In their minds
personal faith cultivated public virtue,
Republic of Liberty
Faith and Liberty
One of the most beautiful
The United States of America
is that it
guarantees individuals the freedom for faith,
and in doing so
Fosters and Protects the Faith that is
Freedom to Flourish
Ethics and values derived from the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures
have shaped this nation from its inception,
without being forcefully imposed on anyone.
George Washington (1732-1799) --
Commander in Chief of the Continental Army,
overseer of the Constitutional Convention, and
First President of the United States:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to
political prosperity, religion and morality are
would that man claim the tribute of patriotism
who should labor
to subvert these great pillars of
human happiness, these firmest props of the
duties of men and citizens…
The American Constitutional System
was the First
Government devised by Man that
based upon biblical principles.
Its cornerstone was a belief in the evil
nature of Man,
which produced a conviction
No Person can be Trusted with Power
This belief that Man’s nature is corrupted and irreparable
(apart from the Power of the Holy Spirit)
represented a radical departure from history.
Until that time, most of Mankind had always been
ruled by kings who were considered to have a
divine right to rule and who usually
ended up ruling
like they thought they were gods
Samuel Adams (1722-1803) --
Governor of Massachusetts, signer of the
Declaration of Independence,
Father of the American Revolution, ratifier of
the US Constitution,
and organizer of the Boston Tea Party:
A general dissolution of principles and manners
will more surely overthrow
the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.
While the people are virtuous
they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue
they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the
first external or internal invader.
Religion and good morals
only solid foundations
public liberty and happiness.
I . . . [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ
for a pardon of all my sins I conceive we cannot
better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating
Supreme Ruler of the world . . .
that the confusions that are and
have been among
the nations may be overruled by the
promoting and speedily bringing
Holy and happy period
when the kingdoms of our
Lord and Savior Jesus
may be everywhere established, and the people
willingly bow to the scepter of Him
The PRINCE of PEACE
contrition of heart to confess their sins
and implore forgiveness through
the merits and mediation of
Jesus CHRIST our SAVIOR.3
The NAME of the LORD
(says the Scripture) is a
thither the righteous flee and are safe [Proverbs 18:10]. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.4
I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.5
The Peaceful and Glorious Reign
may be Known and Enjoyed
throughout the whole Family
We may with one heart and one voice
His gracious and free pardon
supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and]
Above All to
cause the religion of Jesus Christ,
To spread far and wide
whole Earth shall be Filled
With His Glory. 7
contrition of heart to confess their sins to God and
through the merits and mediation of
Jesus Christ our Savior. 8
Dr. James Kennedy,
“Our Constitution Was Made Only for a Moral and Religious People,” www.coralridge.org.
Samuel Adams, Proclamation for
a Day of Fasting and Prayer, March 15, 1796.
Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) --
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, attendee at the Continental Congress, physician, and first Surgeon General:
The only FOUNDATION for… 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
Gospel of Jesus Christ
prescribes the WISEST rules
for JUST conduct
EVERY situation of LIFE.
Happy they who are enabled to obey them
in all situations! . . .
My only HOPE of salvation
is in the
LOVE of GOD
MANIFESTED to the world
death of His SON upon the CROSS
Nothing but His BLOOD will WASH away my sins
I rely exclusively upon it.
COME, Lord JESUS! Come quickly!
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration,
but I am as satisfied that it is as
much the work of a Divine Providence as any of
the MIRACLES recorded
in the Old and New Testament.11
By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from
their moorings upon all moral subjects…
It is the only CORRECT MAP
human heart that ever has been published.12
[T]he greatest discoveries in science have been made by Christian philosophers and . . . there is the most knowledge in those countries where
there is the most Christianity.
The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.
[C]hristianity is the only true and perfect religion;
and… in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and
obey its precepts,
they will be wise and happy.
The Bible contains
knowledge necessary to man in
his present state
than any other book
in the world
The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any
subsequent period of life…
[T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in
preference to all other books because
it contains the greatest portion
kind of knowledge
calculated to produce
private and public happiness.
John Adams (1735-1826) --
Member of the Continental Congress, one of the drafters of
the Declaration of Independence, and second
President of the United States:
We have no government armed in 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.
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.30
Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.
The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever
prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion
of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!
I have examined all religions, and
the result is that
is the best book in the world.
Noah Webster (1758-1843) --
Considered the “Father of American Education”
and publisher of
The American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828:
In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and
one of the first things in which
under a free government, ought to
TRUTH is more evident
to my mind than that the Christian Religion
must be the basis of any government intended
to secure the rights and privileges of a
The religion which has
Introduced Civil Liberty
is the religion of
Christ and His apostles…
This is genuine Christianity
and to this we owe our
free constitutions of government.45
The moral principles and precepts found in the Scriptures
ought to form the
basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.46
All the… evils which men suffer from
vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression,
slavery and war, proceed from their
despising or neglecting
precepts contained in the Bible
[O]ur citizens should early understand that the
genuine source of correct republican principles
is the Bible, particularly the
New Testament, or the Christian religion.
The Bible is the chief moral cause
that is good and the best corrector
that is evil in human society –
the best book
for regulating the temporal concerns of men.
[T]he Christian religion… is the basis, or
rather the source,
genuine freedom in government…
I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form
can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity
have not a controlling influence.50
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) --
United States Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State:
No TRUTH is more evident
to my mind than that the Christian religion must be
the basis of any government
intended to SECURE the rights and privileges
of a free people.51
To preserve the government we must also preserve morals.
Morality rests on religion;
IF you destroy the FOUNDATION
SUPERSTRUCTURE must FALL
When the public mind becomes vitiated
laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.52
[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.53
Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.
[T]o the FREE and universal
READING of the Bible… men [are]
much indebted for
right views of civil liberty.
The Bible is a book… which TEACHES man
his own DIGNITY,
EQUALITY with his fellow man
51) Dr. James Kennedy, “America’s Schools Were Formed to Advance the Christian Faith,” www.coralridge.org.
52) TRUTH and Reason, “Religious Freedom,” http://truthandreasonblog.wordpress.com/religious-freedom.
53) Daniel Webster, Mr. Webster’s Speech in Defence of the Christian Ministry and in Favor of the Religious Instruction of the Young. Delivered in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 10, 1844, in the Case of Stephen Girard’s Will (Washington: Printed by Gales and Seaton, 1844), p. 41.
Patrick Henry (1736-1799) --
First governor of Virginia and member of the Continental Congress:
Being a Christian… is a character which I prize
all this world has or can boast.
is a book worth more than all the other books
that were ever printed.20
Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation…
Whoever thou art, remember this;
and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself,
and encourage it in others.21
The great pillars of all government
and of social life [are]
virtue, morality, and religion.
This is the armor, my friend, and this alone,
that renders us invincible.
This is all the inheritance I can give
to my dear family.
The religion of Christ can give them one which
will make them rich indeed.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) --
Governor of Virginia, first Secretary of State, principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and third President of the United States:
No nation has ever yet existed
or been governed without religion.
Nor can be.
The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever
been given to man, and I as chief Magistrate of
this nation am bound to
give it the sanction of my example.
The doctrines of Jesus
are simple, and
tend all to the happiness of man.
The practice of morality being necessary for
the well being of society,
He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so
indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced
by the subtleties of our brain.
We all agree in the obligation of the
moral principles of
and nowhere will they be found delivered
in greater purity than in His discourses.37
I am a Christian in the only sense in which
He wished anyone to be:
sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.38
I am a real Christian – that is to say,
a disciple of the
doctrines of Jesus Christ.39
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) — American diplomat,
member of the House and Senate, and sixth
President of the United States. On the occasion of the
celebration of the 45th anniversary of the
Declaration of Independence, he declared:
The highest glory
of the American Revolution was this: it connected in
one indissoluble bond
the principles of civil government
the principles of Christianity.40
My hopes of a future life are all founded upon
the Gospel of Christ
and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . .
the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively
asserted and at others countenances [permits]
His disciples in asserting that He was God.41
The hope of a Christian
is inseparable from his faith.
Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of
the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion
of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.
Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the
associated distribution of the Bible proceed and
prosper till the Lord shall have made
“bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God”
In the chain of human events,
the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with
the birthday of the Savior.
The Declaration of Independence
laid the cornerstone of human government upon
the first precepts of Christianity.
40) Dr. James Kennedy,
“Christian Zeal Fueled the American Revolution,” www.coralridge.org.
America's Foundational Principals
are dedicated to teaching the
about the foundational principles of
this great nation by relying primarily on
original source materials, such as
letters written by the founders, and secondary sources
either those close to the
founders or literary sources that reference those documents