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Topic: America, History, Matches 40 quotes.



But everybody seems still to pin faith to economic and technological reconstructions. We hear much about elevating the standard of living of peoples. But almost exclusively those improvements seem to be conceived of as providing more things—greater physical satisfactions, greater ease, more leisure, less work, more guarantees of physical security. Long ago Jesus taught that “life consisteth not in the abundance of the things one possesseth” and that “life is more than meat and the body more than raiment.” Principles are pushed aside in the interest of immediate gain. When the American colonies were having their disputes with the mother country, the latter fixed it so that they could buy their tea and pay the tax cheaper than they could smuggle the tea in without tax. It was thought this would beguile them into yielding and paying the inconsequential tax. But the colonists were standing for a principle. If they could be subjected to a small tax, they could, when the custom was firmly established, be subjected to a larger tax. They resisted and took the consequences. That is the essence of spiritual supremacy. What is needed today in Christendom is a revived faith in the spiritual basis upon which it was built rather than more machines and things. Devotion to principle rather than victims of the bribery of easy satisfaction through immediate gain!

The war is not the cause of the world’s trouble; it is only the outward manifestation of an inner decay. When the war is over, the trouble will not be over, which is the reason for the great concern about the postwar world. The world will still have the spiritual sickness, which is the real cause of the war, to deal with. The moods and notions which have permeated the minds of men cannot be shot with bullets. They will still be rampant when the fighting is over. We may not flatter ourselves that they are confined to the aggressor countries. In one degree or another they have penetrated into all lands. They are doing their work of corroding, corrupting, undermining, destroying.

You can’t pick up peace and put it on people; it is a state of the spirit. You can’t hand over liberty or freedom as a gift to people who are not spiritually prepared to receive it. Disputes about means of accomplishing ends agreed upon are of little consequence, but when the ends themselves are in dispute you have a difference that goes right into the heart and spirit of things.

And the disputes which divide the peoples of the world today are disputes about ends, about the whole spirit that governs in human relationships. Nothing but spiritual unity will work the cure.

And that spiritual essence must rest in a power standing above all to command their allegiance. It must rest in God.

Source: Elder Albert E. Bowen
General Conference, April 1945

Topics: America, History; Christianity; Morality; Taxes



Our Country Under Divine Guidance

No nation has been more greatly blessed than has the United States. We live in a land which has been called choice above all other lands by divine pronouncement. The Lord has watched over it with a jealous care and has commanded its people to serve Him lest His wrath be kindled against them and His blessings be withdrawn. Our government came into existence through divine guidance. The inspiration of the Lord rested upon the patriots who established it, and inspired them through the dark days of their struggle for independence and through the critical period which followed that struggle when they framed our glorious Constitution which guarantees to all the self-evident truth proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is to say, it is the right of every soul to have equal and unrestricted justice before the law, equal rights to worshp according to the dictates of conscience and to labor according to the individual inclinations, independently of coercion or compulsion. That this might be, the Lord has said, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D.&C. 101:80)

The founders of this nation were men of humble faith. Many of them saw in vision a glorious destiny for our government, provided we would faithfully continue in the path of justice and right with contrite spirits and humble hearts, accepting the divine truths which are found in the Holy Scriptures. The appeal of these men has echoed down the passing years with prophetic warning to the succeeding generations, pleading with them to be true to all these standards which lay at the foundation of our government. This country was founded as a Christian nation, with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world. It was predicted by a prophet of old that this land would be a land of liberty and it would be fortified against all other nations as long as its inhabitants would serve Jesus Christ; but should they stray from the Son of God, it would cease to be a land of liberty and His anger be kindled against them.

Source: Elder Joseph Fielding Smith
General Conference, April 1943

Topics: America, Destiny; America, Heritage; America, History; Heavenly Interest in Human Events; Responsibility



A Land Of Liberty

Think of the blessings that came to America. How Columbus was inspired to go out upon the great waters and find his way to this western land. Then the settlers of Jamestown, the pilgrim fathers, and all those early pioneers who came to America because they desired to serve God according to the dictates of their conscience. The Lord blessed them and finally raised up a nation that is the wonder and the admiration of the earth. Those men who framed the Constitution of the United States were not only wise in the things of this world, but they were inspired by our Heavenly Father who raised them up for that very purpose. This marvelous government that we enjoy in this favored land of liberty, was given to man that it might be a blessing to him. Here men and women are permitted to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. Our Heavenly Father will not coerce or compel mankind, but in loving kindness has given to them from the age when the world was first peopled until now, opportunity to know the tuth.

Source: Elder George Albert Smith
General Conference, October 1928

Topics: America, History; Heavenly Interest in Human Events



Our National Inventory

We might here profitably take stock of the position of the new nation when Washington took over, which was set up to secure the blessing of its people. This will suggest how precarious was our national life.

1.       The United States was a new nation, not a change of administration in an old one. By European standards, it was an illegitimate waif, because not possessed of a dynastic ancestry. It was founded upon principles that had never before been tried out as a governmental system. It began with an all-comprehensive, written plan that bound together great common law concepts and principles, in a relationship of operation theretofore unknown to the world. That it succeeded is one of the great political miracles of all time.

2.       Territorially, we were a narrow strip, some 1500 miles long, lying along the Atlantic seaboard, with an indefinite depth of perhaps not more than 300 miles at the wider parts-sea level plains ran back to the mountains. There was almost no intercommunication by land northward and southward. The roads were primitive, and, in winter and storm, largely impassable. Only three roads led over the Allegheny Mountains. Between 400,000 and 500,000 persons had crossed the Alleghenies.

3.       The total population is given as a little under 4,000,000 (one-fifth black), with few large towns. In 1790, Philadelphia had 42,520; New York 33,131; Boston, 13,503; Richmond, 3761; Charleston, S.C., 16,359; Savannah, Ga., 5166. These statistics show how militarily weak the colonies were, and how difficult would be the mobilization of whatever armed force they had.

4.       We had no navy, our army was virtually disbanded.

5.       When Washington took the oath of office, there was no money in the treasury and no tax legislation in operation to raise money.

6.       The country owed large sums to foreign countries.

7.       There were large quantities of Continental and Colonial paper money outstanding, much of which was next to worthless.

8.       There were many people who did not approve of the Constitution and the government set up under it.

9.       There were jealousies, some of them serious, among the different states; problems of trade and commerce were numerous and trouble-breeding.

10.       The inland border perimeter of the states was the abiding place of hostile Indians. The Iroquois within their borders, though broken in strength, were pro-British and anti-colonist.

11.       There was no governmental machinery, there were no civil officers, no funds with which to pay them if they had them.

We were starting from scratch in government, in industry, in agriculture, in commerce, in national defense.

I would like here to recommend to all of you that you read the first two paragraphs and the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, for the purpose of getting a view as to why this government was set up. It was not set up as an eleemosynary government to feed and clothe and nurture all the rest of the world. It was set up for the purpose of establishing a government which should bring peace and prosperity to the people of this nation, and when you have read those paragraphs, read the Preamble to the Constitution itself.

Source: J. Reuben Clark
Stand Fast by Our Constitution

Topics: America, History



The Constitution was not the work of cloistered, fanatical theorists, but of sober, seasoned, distinguished men of affairs, drawn from various walks of life. They included students of wide reading and great learning in all matters of government. They were among those who had successfully guided the Colonists through a long Revolutionary War, beset not only with grave problems of military necessity and strategy against one of the most powerful nations of the world, but also burdened with vital local problems of co-ordination and co-operation among and between a loosely knit confederation of thirteen different political entities, each jealous beyond measure of its own political independence and sovereignty, none with great financial strength, and all hesitant, at times to the point of unwillingness, to contribute the necessary funds for the common defense and for waging their war for independence.

Source: J. Reuben Clark
Stand Fast by Our Constitution, p135-136.

Topics: America, History; US Constitution; War, Revolutionary War



4. Popular sovereignty. Perhaps the most important of the great fundamentals of the inspired Constitution is the principle of popular sovereignty: The people are the source of government power. Along with many religious people, Latter-day Saints affirm that God gave the power to the people, and the people consented to a constitution that delegated certain powers to the government. Sovereignty is not inherent in a state or nation just because it has the power that comes from force of arms. Sovereignty does not come from the divine right of a king, who grants his subjects such power as he pleases or is forced to concede, as in Magna Charta. The sovereign power is in the people. I believe this is one of the great meanings in the revelation which tells us that God established the Constitution of the United States.

That every man may act . . . according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land. (D&C 101:78-80.)

In other words, the most desirable condition for the effective exercise of God-given moral agency is a condition of maximum freedom and responsibility. In this condition men are accountable for their own sins and cannot blame their political conditions on their bondage to a king or a tyrant. This condition is achieved when the people are sovereign, as they are under the Constitution God established in the United States. From this it follows that the most important words in the United States Constitution are the words in the preamble: “We, the people of the United States . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

President Ezra Taft Benson expressed the fundamental principle of popular sovereignty when he said, “We [the people] are superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around.“12 The Book of Mormon explains that principle in these words:

An unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness . . . .

Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws . . . .

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. (Mosiah 29:23-26.)

Popular sovereignty necessarily implies popular responsibility. Instead of blaming their troubles on a king or other sovereign, all citizens must share the burdens and responsibilities of governing. As the Book of Mormon teaches, “The burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part.” (Mosiah 29:34.)

President Clark’s third great fundamental was the equality of all men before the law. I believe that to be a corollary of popular sovereignty. When power comes from the people, there is no legitimacy in legal castes or classes or in failing to provide all citizens the equal protection of the laws.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention did not originate the idea of popular sovereignty, since they lived in a century when many philosophers had argued that political power originated in a social contract. But the United States Constitution provided the first implementation of this principle. After two centuries in which Americans may have taken popular sovereignty for granted, it is helpful to be reminded of the difficulties in that pioneering effort.

To begin with, a direct democracy was impractical for a country of four million people and about a half million square miles. As a result, the delegates had to design the structure of a constitutional, representative democracy, what they called “a Republican Form of Government.“13

The delegates also had to resolve whether a constitution adopted by popular sovereignty could be amended, and if so, how.

Finally, the delegates had to decide how minority rights could be protected when the government was, by definition, controlled by the majority of the sovereign people.

A government based on popular sovereignty must be responsive to the people, but it must also be stable or it cannot govern. A constitution must therefore give government the power to withstand the cries of a majority of the people in the short run, though it must obviously be subject to their direction in the long run.

Without some government stability against an outraged majority, government could not protect minority rights. As President Clark declared: “The Constitution was framed in order to protect minorities. That is the purpose of written constitutions. In order that the minorities might be protected in the matter of amendments under our Constitution, the Lord required that the amendments should be made only through the operation of very large majorities—two-thirds for action in the Senate, and three-fourths as among the states. This is the inspired, prescribed order.“14

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention achieved the required balance between popular sovereignty and stability through a power of amendment that was ultimately available but deliberately slow. Only in this way could the government have the certainty of stability, the protection of minority rights, and the potential of change, all at the same time.

12. Benson, The Constitution, a Heavenly Banner, p. 7.

13. U.S. Constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 4.

14. J. Reuben Clark: Selected Papers on Religion, Education, and Youth, ed. David H. Yarn, Jr., Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1984, p. 165.

Source: Elder Dallin H. Oaks
The Divinely Inspired Constitution
From an address given 5 July 1987, at the Freedom Festival.

Topics: America, History; Government



The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf. And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored.

Source: George Washington

Topics: America, History; Heavenly Interest in Human Events



Of course, we continue to need the dramatic leadership of the likes of Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, and so many others. But in addition we need to show that it really works all the way down to the grass roots level. We need a real demonstration of leadership in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, our communities, and our state.

Mediation is proper between two alternatives that are both right, but compromise is totally unjustified when it is between a right and a wrong course of action. Our founding fathers were inspired to deliver to this nation a conscience, a standard of values, with which we have been richly blessed in over two hundred years of our history.

Though times and seasons do change, foundation principles do not. This season of celebration and commemoration is an ideal time to focus on our glorious history and make firm resolve that we will not be just spectators but also participants in ensuring that the foundation principles are being preserved, safeguarded, and practiced in our own lives, with leadership, enthu siasm, and spirit.

Our faith, our conscience, our integrity, our industry, our hope—these can never be allowed to erode to mediocrity. Literally, the hope of those nations with the newly found freedoms depends on our continued example that this system works even better now than it has over our two hundred years of history.

Source: Elder L. Tom Perry
Address given 23 June 1991 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: America, Destiny; America, History; Compromise



A new nation had come into being at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It had been ordained of God to accomplish his divine purposes. The past and the future met within it, for the formation of the government of the United States was an event ordered of God for the bringing in of his Kingdom upon the earth. A republic is the highest form of political institution, De Tocqueville wrote, and this we know to be true. Our government was made up of different nationalities brought under one government and one flag. Such a republic had been unknown before in history.

Source: Elder Levi Edgar Young
General Conference, April 1958

Topics: America, History

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