Founding Fathers and Religion Quotes

Authored By: Mike Sonneveldt

Founding Fathers and Religion Quotes

Have you wondered about the founding fathers and religion? Do you ask yourself whether the founding fathers believed in God or if they believed in Jesus? 

Even though each man had his own beliefs, a consistent theme can be found in many of their quotes. Whether they discussed providence, a creator, God, divinity, or more, they referenced a higher power and authority. 

Founding Fathers and Religion 

Samuel Adams 
“We have this day [fourth of July] restored the sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.” 
-Samuel Adams 


John Adams 
On September 7th, 1774, Revered Jacob Duche read Psalm 35 in front of the First Continental Congress then broke into prayer. John Adams later recounted the event, saying,  

I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if Heaven ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.”  
-John Adams 
[You have rights] antecedent to all earthly governments: rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights, derived form the great legislator of the universe.” 
-John Adams 
The clergy of this province are a virtuous, sensible and learned set of men, and they don't take their sermons from news-papers but the Bible…” 
-John Adams 
It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, however it may move the gall of Massachusetts?” 
-John Adams 
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 
-John Adams 


Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society.” 

-John Adams 

I have examined all religions, and the result is that the bible is the best book in the world.” 

-John Adams 

The general Principles, on which the Fathers Atchieved Independence, were the only Principles in which, that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen9 could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their Address, or by me in my Answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity,10 in which all those Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities Sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence. 
Now 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: and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System. I could therefore Safely Say, consistently with all my then and present Information, that I believed they would never make Discoveries in contradiction to these general Principles. In favour of these general Principles in Phylosophy, Religion and Government, I could fill Sheets of quotations from Frederick of Prussia, from Hume, Gibbon, Bolingbroke, Reausseau and Voltaire; as well as Newton11 and Locke: not to mention thousands of Divines and Philosophers of inferiour Fame.” 
-John Adams 
John Dickinson 
Kings or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness...we claim them from a higher source – from the King of Kings, and Lord of all the Earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us, exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives.” 

-John Dickinson 
Benjamin Franklin 
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” 
-Benjamin Franklin 


In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel:” 
-Benjamin Franklin 
William Livingston 
We earnestly recommend...the 17th of May be a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that we all with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by sincere repentance and amendment of life appease God’s righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.” 
-General William Livingston 
I hope we shall at last, and if it so please God I hope it may be during my life time, see this cursed thing [slavery] taken out. . . . For my part, whether in a public station or a private capacity, I shall always be prompt to contribute my assistance towards effecting so desirable an event.” 
-William Livingston 
George Washington 
The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th instant to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, humly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please Him to pardon all of our manifold sins and transgressions…” 
-George Washington’s orders 
We expect a very bloody summer of it at New York...we are not either in Men, or arms (guns) prepared for it. If our cause is just, as Id o most religiously believe it to be, the same Providence which has in many instances appeared for us, will still go on to afford its aid.” 
-George Washington 
The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all of this – the course of war- that he must worse than an infidel that lacks faith...but it will be time enough for me to turn preacher when my present appointment ceases.” 
-George Washington 
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” 
-George Washington 
But by the all-powerful dispensations of providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had 4 bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!” 
-George Washington 
O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving Father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins...let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy word.” 
-George Washington’s prayer in his journal 
John Langdon 
“That He would be pleased to bless the great council of the United States of America and direct their deliberations...that He would rain down righteousness upon the Earth, revive religion, and spread abroad the knowledge of the true God, the Saviour of man.” 

-Gov. John Langdon setting a day of fasting 


John Jay 
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” 
-John Jay 
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our christian nation to select and prefer christians for their rulers.” 
-John Jay 

Mercy and grace and favor did come by Jesus Christ, and also that truth which verified the promises and predictions concerning him and which exposed and corrected the various errors which had been imbibedrespecting the supreme being, his attributes, laws, and dispensations.” 

-John Jay 
Alexander Hamilton 
"The laws of certain states … give an ownership in the service of negroes as personal property…. But being men, by the laws of God and nature, they were capable of acquiring liberty— and when the captor in war …thought fit to give them liberty, the gift was not only valid, but irrevocable."  
-Alexander Hamilton 
Patrick Henry 
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.” 
-Patrick Henry 
Being a a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.” 

-Patrick Henry 

The a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.” 

-Patrick Henry 


Thomas Jefferson 

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” 
-Thomas Jefferson 


James Madison 

The belief in a God all powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.” 
-James Madison 


John Locke 

The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!” 

-John Locke 


John Hancock 

Sensible of the importance of Christian Piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.” 

-John Hancock 


John Quincy Adams 

...For so great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise, and happy –that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing to their parents.” 

-John Quincy Adams 

Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?” 

-John Quincy Adams 


Charles Carroll 

On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.” 

-Charles Carroll 


William Cushing 

Sensible of my mortality, but being of sound mind, after recommending my soul to Almighty God through the merits of my Redeemer and my body to the earth . . . “ 

-William Cushing 


Benjamin Rush 

“The only foundation for a useful education in 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 republican governments....We waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws.”  

-Benjamin Rush 



Jedidiah Morse 
Our dangers are of two kinds, those which affect our religion, and those which affect our government. They are, however, so closely allied that they cannot, with propriety, be separated. The foundations which support the interests of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. . . . 

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. . .  

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.” 
-Jedidiah Morse 
Joseph Story 
I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law... There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” 
-Joseph Story  



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