"There exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that 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, First Inaugural Address, 1789
"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. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. 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 on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."
-- Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, March 6, 1775
"Ye abandoned minions of an infatuated ministry — if, peradventure, any should yet remain among us! — remember that a Warren and a Montgomery are numbered among the dead. Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, what should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough and sow and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood, and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty; the tranquillity of servitude, than the animating contest of freedom — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams, August 1, 1776
"The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom — they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords, can look up to Heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your generous enterprise, with gratitude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul, than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and a Montgomery, it is — that these American States may never cease to be free and independent!" -
- Samuel Adams, August 1, 1776
PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS TO THE PENNSYLVANIA COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
Philadelphia, July 5, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: I do myself the honour to enclose, in obedience to the commands of Congress, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which I am directed to request you will have proclaimed in your Colony in the way and manner which you shall judge best.
The American States being now forever divided from those who wished to destroy them, it has become absolutely necessary, for their security and happiness, to adopt some Government of their own. In this view of the matter, the important consequences flowing from a Declaration of Independence, considered as the ground and foundation thereof, will naturally suggest the propriety of proclaiming it in such a mode that the people may be universally informed of it.
I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
Honourable Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania
"In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America has set the example ... of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world, may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness."
-- James Madison