Morality, Religion, and Knowledge

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Morality, John Adams Pages: 3 (799 words) Published: October 26, 2013
Naomi Backes
October 14, 2013


The Father of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams, said that to change any age in which we live, "we must simply 'study and practice the exalted virtues of the Christian system.' While the people are virtuous,' he said, "they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader . . . If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great Security." (Contending for the Constitution, Beliles and Anderson, 2005, Providence Foundation).1 The group and caliber of the men, the delegates, who became the signers of the Constitution were extremely well-educated men. Twenty-nine of them were either graduates of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, or other prestigious universities. They were either lawyers, clergyman, and many were both attorneys and either clergy or heavily involved in the church. Some had fought in the War for Independence and about "three quarters of them had already served in the Continental Congress." (Id at 17). These were men for whom the love of God, the honor of country, and rule of law and principles of virtue were of utmost significance. They believed that morality, knowledge, and religion were essential to the formation of the colonies as "free and independent states." These were the tenets upon which they had built their lives, as soldiers, as barristers, as statesmen and clergymen. Descended from heavily Puritan roots, these were not liberal men; they harked back to their Puritanical roots in the way they dressed, acted, talked, and reasoned. Without the moral structure of spiritual law, the Founding Fathers knew that the newfound liberty afforded to Americans in the Constitution would be abused. That is why they repeatedly referenced religion in their letters. In 1776, the year the Declaration of...
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