Founding Fathers Quotes
Here are quotes by America's founding fathers, quotations about the American Revolution, and assorted remarks related to America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.
This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a ban of brethren, united to each other by the strongest of ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.
John Jay, Federalist No. 2, 1787
Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.
George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778
To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection. As a nation we have made peace and war; as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies; as a nation we have formed alliances, and made treaties, and entered into various compacts and conventions with foreign states.
John Jay, Federalist No. 2, 1787
To prevent crimes, is the noblest end and aim of criminal jurisprudence. To punish them, is one of the means necessary for the accomplishment of this noble end and aim.
James Wilson, Of the Study of the Law in the United States, Circa 1790
Under all those disadvantages no men ever show more spirit or prudence than ours. In my opinion nothing but virtue has kept our army together through this campaign.
Colonel John Brooks, letter to a friend, January 5, 1778
We are not to consider ourselves, while here, as at church or school, to listen to the harangues of speculative piety; we are here to talk of the political interests committed to our charge.
Fisher Ames, speech in the United States House of Representatives, April 8, 1789
We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary. It follows the substance like its shade; but while a man walks erect, he may observe that his shadow is almost always in the dirt. It corrupts, it deceives, it inflames. It strips virtue of her honors, and lends to faction its wildfire and its poisoned arms, and in the end is its own enemy and the usurper's ally, It would be easy to enlarge on its evils. They are in England, they are here, they are everywhere. It is a precious pest, and a necessary mischief, and there would be no liberty without it.
Fisher Ames, Review of the Pamphlet on the State of the British Constituiton, 1807
We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel. What those duties are, is determinable by right reason, which may be, and is called, a well informed conscience. What this conscience dictates as our duty, is so; and that power which assumes a control over it, is an usurper; for no power can be pleaded to justify the control, as any consent in this case is void.
The Essex Result, May 12, 1778
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness: that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?
John Page, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 20, 1776
Well known to be the greatest philosopher of the present age; — all the operations of nature he seems to understand, — the very heavens obey him, and the Clouds yield up their Lightning to be imprisoned in his rod.
William Pierce, on Benjamin Franklin, 1787
What a glorious morning this is!
Samuel Adams, to John Hancock at the Battle of Lexington, 1775
What a glorious morning this is!
Samuel Adams, to John Hancock at the Battle of Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775
What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.
Abigail Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, November 20, 1783
When divorces can be summoned to the aid of levity, of vanity, or of avarice, a state of marriage frequently becomes a state of war or stratagem.
James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Law of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
When the Convention to form a Constitution was sitting in Philadelphia in 1787, of which General Washington was president, he had stated evenings to receive the calls of his friends. At an interview between Hamilton the Morrises, and others, the former re
Anonymous anecdote from the Constitutional Convention
Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
A Pennsylvanian, The Pennsylvania Gazette, February 20, 1788
Wisely, therefore, do they consider union and a good national government as necessary to put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it. That situation consists in the best possible state of defense, and necessarily depends on the government, the arms, and the resources of the country.
John Jay, Federalist No. 4
With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves.
Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson, Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking up Arms, July 6, 1775