We have quotations from the lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. In our program this Tuesday, we've combined the readings with music. To anyone who would like our script, please contact me.
Here then are some excerpts:
George Washington: (first inaugural address)
"it would be improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe...that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.....No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which we have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."
In a letter to the Jewish community of Rhode Island assuring them of their freedom to practice their faith, President George Washington wrote....."For happily the Government of the United States, which gives bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."
In a letter (he was a prodigious letter writer, though not an author of books): "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......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."
Thomas Jefferson: in describing his intent upon writing the Declaration of Independence, he wrote that the object was "not to find out new principles or new arguments, ... , but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent....neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from copied from any previous writing..."
From the Declaration of Independence:
"....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 the pursuit of Happiness.......governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed...."
Never in history before this declaration had there been a government instituted on the consent of the governed.