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Topic: Government, Purpose, Matches 2 quotes.



Believe it or not, at one time the very notion of government had less to do with politics than with virtue. According to James Madison, often referred to as the father of the Constitution: “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of the government far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” (Russ Walton, Biblical Principles of Importance to Godly Christians [New Hampshire: Plymouth Foundation, 1984], p. 361.)

George Washington agreed with his colleague James Madison. Said Washington: “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle” (James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897, published by authority of Congress, 1899, vol. 1, p. 220).

Nearly a hundred years later, Abraham Lincoln responded to a question about which side God was on during the Civil War with his profound insight: “I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” (Abraham Lincoln’s Stories and Speeches, J. B. McClure, ed. [Chicago: Rhodes and McClure Publishing Co., 1896], pp. 185-86.)

Madison, Washington, and Lincoln all understood that democracy cannot possibly flourish in a moral vacuum, and that organized religion plays an important role in preserving and maintaining public morality. Indeed, John Adams, another of America’s founding fathers, insisted: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion” (John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles E Adams, ed., 1854).

Source: Elder M. Russell Ballard
Address given 5 July 1992 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: Government, Purpose; Morality; Virtue



The path we have to pursue is so quiet that we have nothing scarcely to propose to our Legislature (the Congress). A noiseless course not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness.

[About the number of laws added to the federal register in 1801.]

Source: Thomas Jefferson

Topics: Government, Good; Government, Purpose; Law

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