"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 connections 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." -- George Washington
"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue." -- John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776
"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." -- Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775
"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them." Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
�As to the position that "the people always mean well," that they always mean to say and do what they believe to be right and just - it may be popular, but it can not be true. The word people applies to all the individual inhabitants of a country. . . . That portion of them who individually mean well never was, nor until the millennium will be, considerable. Pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication and with it a thousand pranks and fooleries. I do not expect mankind will, before the millennium, be what they ought to be and therefore, in my opinion, every political theory which does not regard them as being what they are, will prove abortive. Yet I wish to see all unjust and unnecessary discriminations everywhere abolished, and that the time may come when all our inhabitants of every color and discrimination shall be free and equal partakers of our political liberties.� John Jay
�The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government.� [J. Story, III, Commentaries on the Constitution [section] 1871 (1833)
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 at its foundations. -- Joseph Story, Life and Letters of Joseph Story, William W. Story, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. II, p. 8
�We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment [in the First Amendment] to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution) At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.� [Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, and A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States]
�Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab ["Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?" 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.� -- John Jay [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]
�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, Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay
To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. All efforts made to destroy the foundations of our Holy Religion ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation�� in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom�� 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, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America, Delivered at Charlestown, April 25, 1799, The Day of the National Fast (MA: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1799), p.
Jay to Jedidiah Morse, 16 August 1809:
A proper history of the United States would have much to recommend it: in some respects it would be �� unlike all others; it would develop the great plan of Providence, for causing this extensive part of our world to be discovered, and these "uttermost parts of the earth" to be gradually filled with civilized and Christian people and nations.�� The historian, in the course of the work, is never to lose sight of that great plan.