The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is a principle put forth by the Founding Fathers: “A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.” W. Cleon Skousen shared several statements by the men who fought against tyranny showing that they understood this principle (The Five Thousand Year Leap – 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World, 2009, pp. 41-46).
· “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 9:569.) (p. 41)
· “George Washington later praised the American Constitution as the ‘palladium of human rights,’ but pointed that it could survive only ‘so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.’” (Saul K. Padover, ed., The Washington Papers, Harper & Brothers, NY, 1955, p. 244.) (p. 41)
· “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical [imaginary] idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend upon their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.” (James Madison as quoted in Jonathan Elliot, ed., The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 5 vols., J. B. Lippincott Company.) (pp. 44-45)
· “Virtue is not hereditary” (Ford, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 227.) (p. 45)
· “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain 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… Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education… reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (George Washington in his Farewell Address as quoted by Padover, The Washington Papers, pp. 318-319.) (p. 45)
· “I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are in my opinion, the strength of the state; more so than riches or arms…
“I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented [in youth] than cured [in adults.] I think, moreover, that talents for the education of youth are the gift of God; and that he on whom they are bestowed, whenever a way is opened for the use of them, is as strongly called as if he heard a voice form heaven….” (Benjamin Franklin as quoted in Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment, George Braziller, New York, 1965, p. 77.) (pp. 45-46)
· “I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.” (Samuel Adams after the Revolution as quoted by Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 3:175.) (p. 46)
· “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams as quoted in John R. Howe, Jr., The Changing Political Thought of John Adams, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1966, p. 189.) (p. 46)
· “The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it, while, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.” (Samuel Adams as quoted by Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 1:22-23.) (46)
These quotes show that the Founding Fathers understood that the Constitution would
Work only for people who lived virtuous and moral lives. They must be turning over in their graves to see our nation today. The liberals/socialists who have taken over the government encourage law-breaking (shown by their treatment of the BLM rioters as opposed to the January 6th participants). We must return to law and order and teach virtue and morality because our Constitution cannot work with evil people.