July 04, 2006
Independence Day Quotes
230 years ago a group of brave men signed the Declaration of Independence and started a war that would change the world and create an entirely new and unique nation.
In honor of those men, and all of the men and women who have fought for the freedoms and security of this nation (and there have been many through the decades), I have pulled together a few quotes from America's Founders.
"But the most grievous innovation of all, is the alarming extension of the power of courts of admiralty. In these courts, one judge presides alone! No juries have any concern there! The law and the fact are both to be decided by the same single judge."
— John Adams
(Adams stated this during Boston town meeting in 1772. This travesty of justice was initiated by the Stamp Act of 1765, which authorized admiralty courts to enforce its provisions.)
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
— John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Laws, 1765
"Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it!
— John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, April 26, 1777
"He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life, is, or very soon will be, void of all Regard for his country."
— Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren (Nov. 4, 1775)
"You can usually tell how tyrannical a person’s heart is by how fast they move to legislate." — Anonymous
"Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God."
— Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)
"Liberty is a word which, according as it is used, comprehends the most good and the most evil of any in the world. Justly understood it is sacred next to those which we appropriate in divine adoration; but in the mouths of some it means anything."
— Oliver Ellsworth, A Landholder No. III, November 19, 1787
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
— attributed to Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
— Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
"I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
— Nathan Hale, before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776
"The law… dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this."
— Alexander Hamilton
The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority."
— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22 December 14, 1787
"My hand trembles, but my heart does not."
— attributed to Stephen Hopkins, Rhode Island delegate, July 4, 1776
"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of men."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800
"Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV, 1781
"The first object of my heart is my own country. In that is embarked my family, my fortune, and my own existence."
— Thomas Jefferson
Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
— James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792
"The strength and spring of every free government, is the virtue of the people; virtue grows on knowledge, and knowledge on education."
— Moses Mather, America’s Appeal to the Impartial World, 1775
"Where there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
— Benjamin Rush, letter to David Ramsay, circa April 1788
"Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected."
— George Washington
"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
— George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
— George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained."
— George Washington, 1789
"The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head."
— Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788
Please join me in honoring those who have, and those who are currently are, engaged in the struggle to secure and maintain the tremendous personal rights and freedoms that every citizen of this nation can claim. We are truly blessed here in America, and we should never take that for granted.
Happy birthday, America! May God continue to bless you and keep you strong!