God’s People Want to Know

This 2015 survey by Dr. George Barna asked theologically conservative Christians the areas in which they felt that they needed additional teaching from the pulpit. Here are a just a few highlights:

  • Among the national sample of spiritually active Christian conservatives and moderates, only one in ten people (10%) said their church has been very involved in the election process in the last two voting cycles (2012, 2014). Four out of ten said their church was somewhat involved. The remaining one-half said their church was not involved.
  • Christian conservatives indicated they want their church to get in the game: six out of ten (58%) said they want their church to be more involved in the election process. Among the Christian conservatives, 61% want greater involvement; among the politically moderate Christians only one-quarter (23%) want heightened church engagement.
  • A majority of the survey respondents said it is “extremely important” for their pastor to preach or teach the congregation about the following issues:
      • Abortion 71%
      • Religious persecution 61%
      • Sexual identity 56%
      • Israel 54%
      • Poverty 54%
      • Cultural restoration 53%

See the complete report here.

How to Research: Know Your Sources

So, you want to take a deeper dive into an historical period, event or person. Or maybe you’ve been assigned to write a history paper for a class. In this age of abundant information even knowing where to start can be intimidating. What is true? What information can you trust? The following guidelines will help you choose the best sources and understand the benefits and potential pitfalls of each kind.


Definition A primary source is an account from someone either personally involved in an event or a witness to it, or in some way was personally acquainted with the subject. These may include first-person or eyewitness accounts like letters, essays, journals, and autobiographies. The report of a Civil War battle by an officer who fought in it would be a primary source.

Pros It’s firsthand knowledge. Primary sources will provide the truest sense of character and historical context since the author is living in the same time and environment.

Cons An author who is too close to the subject might lose some objectivity because he is emotionally colored by his personal connection. This is the case with Seward’s Life of John Quincy Adams which is a wonderful read. But because of his well-deserved admiration for Adams, Seward tends to embellish conversations and events.

Contemporary Secondary

Definition Contemporary secondary sources are items such as newspaper reports or letters from people who might not have been firsthand witnesses but nevertheless, were aware of the subject.

Pros These types of sources help provide corroboration for primary sources and also give context to the time period. For example, Bancroft’s History of the United States relies on various accounts of the same event from different sources to round out a more complete history.

Cons There may be a reliance on hearsay. Hearsay is not permissible as legal evidence and should not be relied on alone for historical narrative.

Bias and agendas have always existed. Much of what is currently wrongly believed about Thomas Jefferson’s religion and morality, is the direct result of newspaper articles printed by Federalist leaning publications that wanted to discredit him during the 1800 presidential election.1

Academic Modern

Definition Academic modern sources would include later books and journal articles by historians who have specialized in a particular subject. These works should only be referenced if they include thorough notes to primary sources, and you have researched the authors.

Pros Materials may have been discovered and/or are accessible now that haven’t been for earlier publications. For example, a biography about famous British naval captain, Edward Pellew, written one hundred years after his death, included letters from a chest full of his papers that were discovered with an acquaintance years after his contemporary biography had been written. The inclusion of these additional primary documents gave a fuller picture of his life and character.

Later sources also provide a retrospective view of an event, after the consequences are evident. For example, the popular reaction to the Missouri Compromise while it was being debated and passed, was broad dismay by Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson who thought it signaled the death of the Union. His opinion eventually cooled, taking a more hopeful, wait-and-see attitude. Looking back from two hundred years later, history has proven his first response was in fact, accurate.

Theodore Roosevelt’s The Naval War of 1812 is another example of a later work proving helpful. Written almost a century after the war, he compares and contrasts earlier narratives, pointing out the inaccuracies of both the British and the American historians, and the bias of the authors, whose patriotic zeal sometimes colored their accounts.

Cons Judgements made are necessarily subjective.

Online Sources

Definition Online sources include digital articles and content from anyone and everyone. Note: many primary and secondary sources are available in digital format online now. Here, we are distinguishing other online content from those source types mentioned above.

Pros Accessibility! Web articles may sometimes provide quick references to names and dates, and subject summaries to launch your research. It is almost never well documented, if at all.

Cons Online content can create circular referencing for which there is no true source. It is easy to find yourself on a merry-go-round of one site quoting another site, quoting another site—none of which is actually backed by primary sources. Example: several websites referenced a 1916 executive order by President Woodrow Wilson requiring the Star-Spangled Banner be played at all military ceremonies.2 Further research revealed that the websites just quoted one another. The order did not appear in any archives and even the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library was unable to confirm that it existed.

Digital sources can disappear even with archival tools such as the Wayback Machine. Always save images or pdfs of your digital sources.

Digital content can also be subtly changed and manipulated without an obvious record. This is known as stealth editing. Publications will regularly change online headlines or portions of their articles without issuing formal retractions or corrections. And online dictionaries will change or update the meanings of words to fit a current narrative, rather than providing a true standard of usage.

Bonus Tips

What do you do with sources that conflict? Go with the earlier or primary source, except in the few exceptions given above.

More is better. Look for confirmation among sources as long as they aren’t just citing one another.

Notes don’t necessarily mean authoritative – Wikipedia is “footnoted” but almost never to a primary source.

Happy hunting! (See our other “How to Research” articles here.)


1 For examples of these character attacks, see David Barton, The Jefferson Lies (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 2012) and Barton: The American Story: Building the Republic (2024), 118.

2 See, for example, “1931 ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ becomes the Official National Anthem,” This Day in History, History.com, updated March 2, 2021; Andrew Glass, “‘Star-Spangled Banner’ becomes U.S. national anthem, March 3, 1931,” Politico, March 03, 2018.

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Questions are now being raised about important laws that have been added to state codes in all 50 states over the past 25 years. These laws were deliberately designed to abrogate private property rights and could in the future be used to harm all Americans who hold investment securities, including those held in IRA and 401(k) accounts. At the state level, the concerning statutes in question are contained within the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), primarily in Article 8, which deals with securities.

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network (PFLN), and other organizations and leaders, urge state legislators to carefully consider this alarming infringement on private property.

This letter explains our concerns, summarizes the legal aspects of UCC Article 8, and outlines near-term options for state policymakers who want to take action to protect their constituents and their states. Read the full letter for additional information.

What can you do to help?

Share this Information: We encourage you to forward this to your friends, family and state legislators to help make them aware of this critical issue in your state’s uniform commercial code.

Stay Apprised of the Issue: If this issue is important to you, sign up for our Concerned Citizens legislative update email and we will keep you apprised of this issue.

Sign the Letter: If you represent an organization, or are an elected official who would like to sign this letter, please email us for consideration.

Contribute: If you would like to support this effort to help us brief more lawmakers across the country on this matter, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to WallBuilders Pro-Family Legislative Network Fund.

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authority for Violating the First Amendment

In December 2023, First Liberty, ACLU, and Steptoe filed a lawsuit on behalf of WallBuilders.

First Liberty Press Release

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authorit – First Liberty

First Liberty Article


WallBuilders Rejected Ads

WallBuilders Article

These ads would have linked to a collection of quotes by numerous Founding Fathers via our article “The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible”: https://wallbuilders.com/resource/the-founding-fathers-on-jesus-christianity-and-the-bible/

Additional Information & Questions

We have asked our attorneys to handle all media inquiries. Please contact Jeremy Dys at 304-881-5196 or [email protected]. Thank you.

How to Research: Confirming a Quote

It is so tempting to repost that witty or motivational quote on the pretty picture, only to stop and wonder, “Did Ben Franklin really say that?” We are often asked about confirming quotes attributed to historical figures. Here’s a guide to help you through the process.

  1. Start by searching on platforms like Google Books or Internet Archive, which host extensive collections of books from the last several hundred years. Keep in mind that you may need to try different combinations of words or phrases from the quote during this process.
  2. When you find a list of sources with the quote, prioritize the oldest sources. Remember, you’re looking for primary sources such as the person’s writings or autobiography.
  3. If you successfully confirm the quote using sites such as Google Books or Internet Archive, you’re done! If not, proceed to the next step.
  4. If the initial search through broad collections of books is unsuccessful, conduct a more thorough exploration of the person’s works. You can look for specific online collections or in physical works that may be available at a library. Many writings by American Founding Fathers, for example, are accessible online (refer to our Helpful Links page).
  5. If none of these searches confirm the quote, it’s advisable to refrain from using it until you can verify it at a potential future date.

We hope this information aids your investigation efforts! Explore our other How to Research articles for additional tips.

The American Story: Building the Republic Endnotes

Most Americans recognize the names George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, but few can tell you their stories—much less that of James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, or Andrew Jackson. These seven men from the Founding Ear were America’s first presidents. They established our republic on the foundation of the Constitution and its liberties.

But who were they? Were they good or bad leaders? How did they become presidents? Did they follow the Constitution or abandon its principles?

Their lives reflect the opportunities America offers. Farmers, attorneys, military veterans, and philosophers, they each rose to the highest ranks of political leadership. From very different backgrounds, all loved their nation. Each had shortcomings (some far more than others) as well as stellar shining moments. Some preserved our strong foundations and some abandoned core constitutional principles.

The stories of each of these presidents are fascinating, instructive, and compelling. And why not? After all, these are the men who built the republic.

In this document, you will see the complete endnotes for this work. Thank you!

The American Story Building the Republic_Endnotes

David Barton: A Dominionist and Reconstructionist?

Over the past several decades, numbers of my detractors have resorted to making extremist claims about me intended to create distrust or even fear in the minds of those who might hear me. By so doing, they hope potential listeners or readers will reject my message out of hand before even considering the evidence. One common ridiculous claim is that I am a Dominionist (someone who wants to reinstitute Old Testament law and establish a theocracy).

As a result, over the years, I have received questions like this one:

Does David adhere to or teach Dominion Theology or “Kingdom Now” theology? That is in part, that the Church of Jesus Christ will bring in God’s reign of righteousness rather than it happening through the physical return of Jesus Christ?

I disagree with Dominion and Kingdom Now theology and I am not a Dominionist.

Additionally, to establish a theocracy in America would require the abolition of our elective constitutional government. I have worked for decades to educate Americans about the history, excellence, and importance of the US Constitution. I am passionate about knowing and applying it and preserving its principles through the elective voting process. Since having elections precludes the possibility of a theocracy, and since I am such a strong promoter of citizen involvement in the election process, I definitely don’t seek a theocracy.

Furthermore, I am clearly on record about the definite limits of Old Testament law in modern culture. (As an example, see my commentary accompanying Exodus 20 in the very popular Founders’ Bible1.)

The evidence is abundant that their claims are wrong.

The allegations about me and Dominionism originated decades ago, almost exclusively from defamatory articles of atheist and anti-religious writers. Over subsequent years, many individuals doing casual web searches of my name found those earlier articles and innocently accepted their wild claims and then repeated or reposted them without any serious investigation of the truth. As a result, today scores of newer articles brand me as something I am not, and never have been.

Understanding the Original Claims

Examining the writings of those who originally made these errant claims two decades ago, it is clear that the issues the critics considered to be reflective of Dominionism were actually issues that were mainstream across the depth and breadth not only of the Christian community but of much of the nation. Notice the things they pointed to as evidence of Christian support for Dominionism.

According to Eric La Freniere, at the time a columnist for the Daily News Record, one of the most obvious indicators of those who seek a Theocracy is their belief that traditional marriage is to be between one man and one woman (what they often describe as following Old Testament law). He warned that to vote for any state constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage (which was extremely popular in the 2000s and the 2010s, with support up to 70% in some states2) was “to cast a vote for Dominionism….the righteous religious-political movement to reclaim America as a Christian nation.”3 If La Freniere was correct, the tens of millions of voters in the 31 states who passed a state marriage amendment4 (before the US Supreme Court redefined marriage in 20155) were all part of the Christian Dominionist movement.

Author and journalist Chip Berlet agreed, asserting that the “anti-democratic tendencies in the Christian Right6 concerning marriage amendments proved their Dominionist and Theocratic beliefs. By the way, notice his oxymoronic logic: having citizens publicly vote on marriage amendments placed on the public ballot through the elected legislative process was “anti-democratic.”

Chris Hedges in Harper’s Magazine linked such Dominionists to Adolf Hitler and fascism,7 asserting that conservative Christians were so dangerous that it was acceptable to confront and defeat them outside “the old polite rules of democracy8—that is, the normal rules of constitutional republicanism could be set aside in order to defeat Christians. So is it Christians or the Secular Left who is really anti-democratic?

The Southern Poverty Law Center similarly warned that “Dominionist” Christians “seek to impose Old Testament law on the United States,” and that this desire runs “all the way to the [George W.] Bush White House.”9 What indications did they have of this Dominionism? —what role did the George W. Bush White House have in imposing “Old Testament law on the United States”? They, too, pointed to the state marriage amendments, and the further fact that President Bush had openly endorsed a federal Marriage Amendment.10

A Michigan newspaper (Eastern Echo) likewise alerted voters that a candidate running for Governor was part of Dominionism—that he was “seek[ing] to legislate American life under an ultimate authority of a right-wing interpretation of the Bible.”11 What made him a Dominionist? He not only supported traditional marriage but even opposed embryonic stem cell research. Clearly, he was a religious extremist seeking to impose Old Testament law on Michigan.12

Political commentator and writer Kevin Phillips added that “Christian Reconstructionists” also describe the separation of church and state as a “myth.”13 During the time he made these claims, some 1,800 legal incidents related to “separation of church and state” had occurred.14 Christian attorneys argued that the proper application of the historic separation of church and state did not mean people of faith could not express their faith in public, and that they had the same right to express their beliefs that secular folks did. But for secularists, the “separation of church and state” requires full secularization; therefore, those Christians arguing for equal protection were pursuing a “myth” and attempting to establish a Theocracy. (In recent years the US Supreme Court has issued a series of landmark decisions constitutionally repudiating the extremist views of the secularists, and, according to these arguments, they, too, are apparently Dominionists.)

More Claims

Numerous books and other seemingly countless articles used similar extremist rhetoric in attacking the Christian leaders who supported what were typically mainstream public issues.15 National Jewish writer and columnist Stanley Kurtz reviewed many of those writings and sarcastically summarized the ridiculous claims about Christians he found in those attack pieces:

What is the real agenda of the religious far Right? I’ll tell you what it is. These nuts want to take over the federal government and suppress other religions through genocide and mass murder rather than through proselytizing. They want to reestablish slavery. They want to reduce women to near-slavery by making them property, first of their fathers, and then of their husbands. They want to execute anyone found guilty of pre-martial, extramaritial, or homosexual sex. They want to bring back the death penalty for witchcraft. But aren’t extremists like this far from political power? On the contrary, the political and religious movement called “Dominionism” has gained control of the Republican Party, and taken over Congress and the White House as well. Once they take over the judiciary, the conversion of America to a theocracy will be sealed. The Dominionists are very close to achieving their goal. Once they have the courts in their hands, a willing Dominionist Republican-controlled Congress can simply extend the death penalty to witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, and heresy. The courts will uphold all this once conservatives are in control, since [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia himself appears to be a Dominionist.16

Kurtz then singled out one of the voices making these ridiculous claims, Kathryn Yurica. He noted that she and her extremist accusations were actually mainstream among a considerable number of secularist groups:

Yurica’s article [“The Despoiling of America”] is so wild-eyed and strange that it would barely be worth mentioning were Yurica not a featured speaker at a recent conference called, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right.” That conference . . . was supported by the National Council of Churches, People for the American Way, The Nation, The Village Voice, and United Americans for Separation of Church and State.17

The speakers at that conference identified five congressional policies they believed provided absolute proof that America was being placed under Old Testament law by Christian Dominionists. What were those five theocratic policies?

(1) Enacting tax cuts;
(2) Funding faith-based programs;
(3) Decreasing welfare spending;
(4) Giving the Federal Communication Commission additional tools to crackdown on indecency on television; and
(5) Attempts to end judicial filibusters.18

Horrors! Once Christians begin enacting tax cuts, the next thing they’ll do is stone rebellious children and publicly pillory adulterers! Yet as Kurtz noted, most of what were labeled Dominionist views were rational positions widely embraced by a majority of the population.

Interestingly, a much later 2020 study claimed that more than half of all Americans today are Dominionists who want a Christian Nation.19 Really??? At a time when public polls show church attendance,20 Bible reading,21 and Biblical worldview22 are at record lows, more than half the nation are Christian Dominionists? This claim is just as absurd today as it has been for the past several decades. (A brilliant rebuttal of that study and its ridiculous conclusion was done by Prof. Mark David Hall in his “Tilting at Windmills: The ‘Threat’ of Christian Nationalism.”23)

Perhaps Supreme Court Attorney David French, who has handled countless federal court cases in his career, best summarized the ludicrous nature of the false call of Dominionism:

If originalist legal arguments and a call to return our country to its founding constitutional ideals constitute dominionism, which social conservatives aren’t dominionist? Is free speech a dominionist concept? What about religious liberty? How about protecting life and ensuring that it cannot be taken without due process of law? We’re all dominionists now.24

In summary, holding traditionally conservative and constitutional positions is what it meant to be a Dominionist when the term became popular some 20 years ago and when it was first applied to me. Those who used the term intended that it should scare unknowing citizens away from fearsome “Dominionist” leaders such as Justice Anthony Scalia, President George Bush, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, or me, all of whom publicly supported traditional marriage, opposed abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and thought voluntary prayer was appropriate in schools. This is how I came to be labeled a “Dominionist.”

David Barton


1 The Founders Bible (Newbury Park, CA: Shiloh Road, 2017), Exodus 20.
2 See, for example, ballot measures passed with 70% or greater approval in 2004 for Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma (“Ballot Measures,” 2004, CNN); in 2006 for South Carolina and Tennessee (“Ballot Measures,” 2006, CNN); and numerous other ballot measures throughout the early 2000s for states with a pass rating of over 50% but lower than 70% (“Ballot Measures, 2008, CNN; “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022).
3 Eric La Freniers, “You Can Vote For Dominionism,” Daily News-Record, October 31, 2006.
4 See, for example, constitutional amendments passed in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin: “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022.
5 Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015).
6 Chip Berlet, “The Christian Right & Theocracy,” Political Research Associates, accessed on March 14, 2022.
7 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
8 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
9 Mark Potok, “Democracy vs. Theocracy,” Southern Poverty Law Center, October 19, 2006.
10 George W. Bush, “Remarks on the Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage,” The White House, February 24, 2004.
11 Staff Edit / In Our Opinion, “Governor campaign fails to address issues,” Eastern Echo, October 30, 2006.
12 “Motors and Voters: Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race,” Wall Street Journal, 2006.
13 Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Viking, 2006), 233.
14 See the publication Undeniable by First Liberty, available at https://firstliberty.org/undeniable/.
15 See, for example, Tony Kiddie, Republican Jesus: How the Right Had Rewritten the Gospels (University of California Press, 2021); James C. Sanford, Blueprint for Theocracy: The Christian Right’s Vision for America (Metacomet Books, 2014); Michael L. Weinstein and Davin Seay, With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013); Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to the Faith of America (Transworld, 2011); Clyde Wilcox, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics (New York: Routledge, 2011); Michael Lerner, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right (Harper San Francisco, 2006); Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (Doubleday, 2009); Robin Rex Meyers, Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006); Phillips, American Theocracy (2006); Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (HarperCollins, 2006); Bill Press, How the Republicans Stole Christmas: the Republican Party’s Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take it Back (Crown Publishing Group, 2005); Clint Willis, Jesus is Not a Republican: the Religious Right’s War on America (De Capo Press, 2005); Philip Gold, Take Back the Right : How the Neocons and the Religious Right have Betrayed the Conservative Movement (Basic Books, 2004); Jan G. Linn, What’s Wrong with the Christian Right (Florida: Brown Walker Press, 2004); Douglas Anthony Long, Fundamentalists and Extremists (2002); Rob Boston, Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (New York: Prometheus Books, 2000); Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy (University of Michigan, 1997); William Curtis Martin, With God on Our Side: the Rise of the Religious Right in America (Broadway Books, 1996); Bruce Barron, Heaven on Earth? The Social & Political Agendas of Dominion Theology (Zondervan, 1992); Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (New York: Black Rose Books, 1989); and numerous others.
16 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
17 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
18 Jon Ward, “Left aims to smite ‘theocracy’ movement,” The Washington Times, May 1, 2005.
19 Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 25.
20 Jeffery M. Jones, “U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Times,” Gallup, March 29, 2021.
21 Alec Gallup & Wendy W. Simmons, “Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally: Percentage of frequent readers has decreased over last decade,” Gallup, October 20, 2000.
22 George Barna, “Perceptions about Biblical Worldview and Its Application,” Center for Biblical Worldview, May 2021, 6.
23 Mark David Hall, “Tilting at Windmills: The “Threat” of Christian Nationalism,” Standing for Freedom, February 8, 2022.
24 David French, “I’m a Dominionist? I Had No Idea,” National Review, September 1, 2011.

Enumerated Powers

“The powers not delegated [i.e., enumerated] to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Tenth Amendment of the Constitution

Enumerated powers are the particular powers granted to Congress (those which are specifically listed) in the US Constitution. There are seventeen such enumerated powers.

Article I, Section 8 lists the first fifteen powers enumerated to, or permissible for the federal government. Articles II-VII add no additional powers but define how to apply the powers enumerated in Article I.

For example, Article II identifies the president as Commander-in-Chief over the military, but this is not a new power since the Preamble already authorized the federal government “to provide for the common defense.” Likewise, the president’s Article II authority to “make treaties” and “appoint ambassadors” is part of the Article I provision “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.”

The Thirteenth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution added two additional federal powers. (But the other twenty-five Amendments to the Constitution added no federal powers.) With these two additional federal powers, the total number of constitutionally-authorized federal jurisdictions, or enumerated powers, is seventeen.

The Enumerated Powers Listed in the Constitution

The enumerated powers permissible to the federal government are:

  1. To raise revenue to pay off debt, protect the nation, and fulfill the specific obligations established in the enumerated powers. (“To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States”)
  2. “Borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
  3. Protect the free-enterprise system and ensure free flow of commerce. (“To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”)
  4. Establish immigration laws and processes. (“To establish an uniform rule of naturalization”)
  5. Establish the bankruptcy laws and processes. (“and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States”)
  6. Establish national currency, monitor its supply and value, and punish counterfeiters of that currency. (“To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures” and “provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States”)
  7. “Establish post offices and post roads.”
  8. Protect the private property (including the ideas, and the product of those ideas) of inventors, authors, and artists. (“To promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”)
  9. If Congress so wishes, create and regulate federal courts. (“To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court”)
  10. To enforce international laws and prosecute offenses against it: “Define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.”
  11. “Declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”
  12. To provide funding for and establish the size and operation of a national military. (“To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces”)
  13. To call forth and train state militias for national needs. (“To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”)
  14. Oversee and manage all federal property, including Washington, DC, as well as bases, federal buildings, and so forth. (“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings”)
  15. “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other owners vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”
  16. To prevent slavery. (a power added by the Thirteenth Amendment)
  17. To prevent states from violating individual constitutional freedoms and inalienable rights secured to every individual in the federal Constitution. (a power added by the Fourteenth Amendment)

Some Founding Fathers on Enumerated Powers

“The powers delegated [that is, enumerated] by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former [i.e., federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the state governments in times of peace and security.” James Madison1

“The state governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter [i.e., the federal] is no wise essential to the operation or organization of the former [i.e., the states].” James Madison2

(Warning what would eventually occur if Congress used the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution to become involved in more than its specifically enumerated powers):

“If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the ‘general welfare,’ and are the sole and supreme judges of the ‘general welfare,’ they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress, for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the ‘general welfare’.” James Madison3

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people’ [quoting the Tenth Amendment]. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” Thomas Jefferson4

“I am not a friend to a very energetic [activist] government. It is always oppressive.” Thomas Jefferson5

“What an augmentation [growth] of the field for jobbing, speculating, plundering, office-building, and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the state powers into the hands of the [federal] government. The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best: that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the [federal] government be reduced to foreign concerns only.” Thomas Jefferson6

(The Founders did not list all the powers the state possessed, but rather listed the few that the federal government was allowed to perform; all other powers belonged to the states.)

“In forming a federal constitution, which ex vi termine, supposes state governments existing, and which is only to manage a few great national concerns, we often find it easier to enumerate particularly the powers to be delegated to the federal head than to enumerate particularly the individual rights to be reserved.” Richard Henry Lee7

“[The Tenth A]mendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the Constitution. Being an instrument of limited and enumerated powers, it follows irresistibly that what is not conferred, is withheld, and belongs to the state authorities.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story8

“What is to become of constitutions of government if they are to rest not upon the plain [meaning] of their words but upon conjectural enlargements and restrictions to suit the temporary passions and interests of the day? Let us never forget that our constitutions of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the people and designed to fix and perpetuate their rights and their liberties. They are not to be frittered away to please the demagogues of the day. They are not to be violated to gratify the ambition of political leaders. They are to speak in the same voice now and forever. They are of no man’s private interpretation. They are ordained by the will of the people and can be changed only by the sovereign command of the people.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story9


1 James Madison, No. XLV, The Federalist on the New Constitution Written in the Year 1788 (Washington, DC: Jacob Gideon, 1818), 292.

2 Madison, No. XLV, The Federalist (1818), 290.

3 Madison, February 6, 1792, The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1849), 2nd Cong., 1st Sess., 388.

4 Thomas Jefferson, “Opinion against the constitutionality of a National Bank,” February 15, 1791, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington (Washington, DC: Taylor & Maury, 1854), VII:556.

5 Jefferson to Madison, December 20, 1787, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (Charlottesville: F. Carr & Co., 1829), II:276.

6 Jefferson to Gideon Granger, August 13, 1800, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, ed. Randolph (1829) III:437.

7 [Richard Henry Lee], “Letter XVI,” January 20, 1788, An Additional Number of Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican (1788), 143.

8 Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833), III:752.

9 Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833), III:754.

Lesson 5: American Republic (Early 1800s–Modern Era)

Lesson 5: American Republic (Early 1800s–Modern Era)

America holds a unique position as the most prosperous nation in the world.

Is this unprecedented prosperity the result of America’s great natural resources? Probably not, for many nations have greater natural resources than America. (America ranks only 65thin percentage of agriculturally farmable land,[1] in crude oil reserves,[2] in iron reserves,[3] in uranium reserves,[4] and so forth.) Yet despite having less key resources, America takes what it has and makes it go further than other nations.

Is our prosperity due to special qualities found in the immigrants who have come to America in such large numbers over the past four centuries, including those who originally founded our colonies and our states? No, for many of those same people had been starving in Europe (and elsewhere) before coming to America, but then prospered after arriving here.

Then perhaps America’s uniqueness stems from the fact that we work hard—a trait that has long characterized Americans. In fact, this specific virtue has been a part of the American ethos for so long that Founding Father Benjamin Franklin even forewarned immigrants about this unique characteristic they would find here when they arrived:

[M]ost people cultivate their own lands or follow some handicraft or merchandise [business]; very few [are] rich enough to live idly….People do not inquire concerning a stranger, “What is he?”but [rather], “What can he do?”If he has any useful art [skill], he is welcome and if he exercises it and behaves well, he will be respected by all that know him; but a mere “Man of Quality” who, on that account, wants to live upon the public by some office or salary will be despised and disregarded….Industry [hard work] and constant employment are great preservatives of the morals and virtue of a nation. Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents.[5]

The tendency to work hard that became so closely associated with Americans was known as the “Puritan Work Ethic”—a reference to the hard work so evident among our early religious Puritan and Pilgrim settlers, and a trait that characterized Americans for generations thereafter. But while hard work has definitely contributed to America’s prosperity and success, it was not the source of our unparalleled innovation, creativity, and stability.

So what was the key?

It was people living in an atmosphere of freedom and Christian liberty produced by having a Biblical view of man, family, education, government, law, and economics. With this freedom came a new era of liberty; and the wide-ranging and unprecedented scope of religious, civil, and economic freedom that became available in so many spheres gave rise to advancements in all areas of life. The result was an outburst of human energy and creativity that resulted in an exponential increase of innovations and inventions, which then produced widespread wealth never before seen in human history.

(Of course, creativity and innovation has certainly been demonstrated by millions of individual Bible-minded persons not in America; but never before had an entire nation made so many positive contributions. And the US Constitution helps safeguard this creativity through patent and copyright laws, which reflect the Bible’s directives for private property protection. After all, the product of a man’s brain as well as whatever he physically produces with his own hands are his own private property and therefore to be protected.)

Here are a few examples of countless inventions from Americans that changed the face of the world in their day, and also laid the groundwork for even greater discoveries to be made in our day. Each of these advances dramatically reduced the time of production required for a task, thereby increasing the efficiency and speed of service. This exponentially multiplied productivity and income creation, thereby making greater prosperity available for all.

  • Cotton gin (1793)—greatly lowered the cost (and labor) of separating cotton fibers from the seed, thus making cotton-growing (one of America’s largest agricultural products and exports at that time) many times more profitable.
  • Steamboat (1807)—made possible the mass transportation of passengers and cargo on long distances across waterways (rivers and oceans), vastly reducing the time of travel and increasing productivity.
  • Railroad (1826)—made possible the mass transportation of passengers and cargo across land.
  • Steam locomotive (1826)—greatly increased the power behind transportation, thus allowing larger loads to be moved in a shorter time.
  • McCormick reaper (1831)—did in a few hours what previously had taken days to complete, thus making agriculture more productive and profitable.
  • Telegraph (1837)—allowed almost instantaneous communication over long distances.
  • Deere plow (1837)—combined iron and steel into an agricultural plow that cut through harder ground that had long been uncultivable by wooden plows, thus opening millions of new acres to agricultural food production.
  • Goodyear vulcanized rubber (1839)—previously, rubber did not last long and would melt or crack in extreme temperatures, but vulcanization gave longevity to equipment that before had only been short-lived.
  • Sewing machine (1844)—led to quicker sewing times than what could be done by hand, increasing both productivity and profitability.
  • Washing machine (1858)—allowed easier and quicker washing of clothes.
  • Transatlantic cable (1858)—connected America with Europe, resulting in almost instant communication between the countries which before had required weeks.
  • The elevator (1854)—made vertical transportation of people and cargo quicker and safer.
  • Transcontinental railroad line (1869)—connected the east coast of America with the west coast, making it possible to travel from coast to coast in days rather than months.

These inventions all shortened the time needed to perform essential tasks. And the more time individuals had available, the more they could produce; the larger the income they could receive; and the greater the prosperity they experienced.

Thousands of other inventions produced in America also changed the world. This occurred not only in the areas of technology and industry (highlighted above) but also medicine, business, and many other arenas. Dramatic changes similarly occurred in social movements as well, including the abolition of slavery, recognition of women’s rights, and the end of industrial child labor. In short, individual freedom, coupled with the ability to benefit from one’s own ideas and hard work, caused America to become the most inventive, prosperous, and freest nation in history.

Let’s look at interesting stories behind some of the innovations that revolutionized life and uplifted mankind.

Leaders in Industry, Technology, and Science

Cyrus McCormick and His Reaper (1831)

Cyrus McCormick

Cyrus (1809-1884) was born on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Throughout his childhood, he watched his father work tirelessly but unsuccessfully to invent a reaper (a grain-harvesting machine). Inspired in part by his father’s attempts, as well as Cyrus’ own back-breaking work of harvesting grain by hand (the way it had been done for thousands of years), he became the first person to invent a working reaper.

McCormick Reaper

Cyrus’ successful test of this new machinery occurred on a small patch of wheat on the family farm in July 1831. A few days later, he gave a public demonstration, and with his reaper, drawn by two horses, he cut six acres of oats in an afternoon. Previously, it would have taken six laborers with scythes, or twenty-four laborers with sickles to achieve the same results. Thus, his reaper produced up to twenty-four times more than hand-harvesting, and in the same amount of time.

The following year, he gave another public demonstration, this time to almost a hundred spectators. They were amazed, and his father was elated, declaring “It makes me feel proud to have a son do what I could not do.”[6] (Cyrus was the 47thperson to secure a patent for a reaper, but his was the first that actually worked. He had combined seven different mechanical operations to make it function successfully.)

For thousands of years, the amount of crops that farmers planted was based upon the labor available for harvesting the fields. If there were not many workers available, not much seed was planted. And then when the crop finally ripened, it had to be gathered quickly or the grain would rot in the field and be lost. But Cyrus’ reaper made it possible to harvest many times more than ever before, and to do so much more quickly.

His reaper had the potential to revolutionize agriculture, but the problem he faced was how to publicize it. If farmers knew about the reaper and what it would do for them, it could forever change their lives and futures. Cyrus struggled to get word out about his reaper, all the time losing money. He even lost his farm to creditors.

Workshop where McCormick invented his reaper

Cyrus began to build a business of advertising the reaper. He traveled the country promoting it, becoming known as “The Reaper Man.” He actually worked harder and longer to build his business than he did to build his reaper. In fact, it was nine years after his first public demonstration before he actually sold his first reaper.

After that, word spread quickly and demand increased; so, in 1839 he opened a small factory near his father’s house. As his reapers continued to sell, he needed to expand; but he knew that his home of Virginia was not the place to do so, for most grain farming was done in the Midwest; that’s where he needed to go. So he opened a factory in Illinois in what was at that time a small town known as Chicago. His business steadily grew until it literally swept the nation and the world.

In traveling the country, Cyrus saw the best of America; but he also saw its worst. According to one of his early biographers:

In his earlier journey’s through the Middle West, McCormick was distressed at the rough immorality of the new settlements. “I see a great deal of profanity and infidelity in this country, enough to make the heart sick,” he wrote in 1845. These towns and villages needed more preachers and better preachers, he thought. Consequently, soon after he had acquired his first million dollars, he determined to establish the best possible college for the education of ministers. He almost stunned with joy the Western friends of higher education for ministers by offering them $100,000 with which to establish a school of theology in Chicago. Thus was founded the Northwest Theological Seminary, afterwards named the McCormick Theological Seminary which, in its fifty years of life, has given a Christian education to thousands of young men.[7]

Cyrus’ invention literally changed the world. And he did it by relying on the power of free market economics and its Biblical principle of serving others. He created something that blessed farmers, greatly increasing the wealth-creation potential of everyone who used his machine. And when farmers purchased his reapers, that in turn became an economic blessing back to Cyrus. This is the heart of Biblical free-market economics: create something that blesses consumers, who then reward the producer by purchasing his product.

Cyrus helped elevate millions of people out of poverty. It was noted of him that “He did more than any other member of the human race to abolish the famine of the cities and the drudgery of the farm—to feed the hungry and straighten the bent backs of the world.”[8]

Samuel F.B. Morse and the Telegraph (1832)

Samuel F.B. Morse said of his telegraph, “Not what hath man, but ‘What hath God wrought!'”

Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was a distinguished artist, painting portraits of the leading Americans in his day. But he was also a dedicated Christian who believed God led him to invent the telegraph. His discovery was one of the most revolutionary technological advances in history, ranking with the movable-type printing press in its overall impact on the world.

In 1832, Morse created the telegraph by directing a small electric current through a wire to be received on the other end.[9] Electricity had never before been harnessed in this manner, and no message had ever been transmitted over wires.

Plaque in the US Capitol commemorating Morse’s invention and the first words it transmitted-a Scripture: “What hath God wrought!”

Over the next decade, he worked to improve the telegraph, and in 1844 he sent the first inter-city message from the US Capitol Building in Washington DC to Baltimore. Since spoken words could not be electronically transmitted at that point in history, he communicated through a series of short electric signals, or pulses, which later became known as the Morse Code. (That code, heavily used over the next century, is still in use today.)

His message took only a few moments to cover the forty miles to Baltimore. Before that it would have taken a full day of riding in a stagecoach or on horseback for the same message to be delivered the same distance. The communication revolution had begun.

Significantly, the first message sent had been a Bible phrase from Numbers 23:23: “What hath God wrought!”[10] (Morse had allowed young Annie Ellsworth to choose the message. She was the daughter of the man who helped him obtain a patent for the telegraph.) Of that Bible phrase, Morse wrote:

Nothing could have been more appropriate than this devout exclamation at such an event when an invention which creates such wonder, and about which there has been so much skepticism, is taken from the land of visions and becomes a reality.[11]

Samuel F.B. Morse exhibiting the telegraph. Alexander Hamilton affirmed in the Federalist Papers that the free enterprise system encourages invention.

Morse’s remarkable invention was the result of private sector innovation without the control of government. But in Europe, it was different: the telegraph was controlled and run by government. The difference between the two approaches was evident. As a New York newspaper reported:

While England by her government has got, with great labor, 175 miles of telegraph into operation…the United Sates, with her individual enterprise, has now in successful operation 1,269 miles. This is American enterprise.[12]

Morse Telegraph 1837

This comparison reflects the difference in the freedom-centered free market philosophy of America and the government-centered socialistic philosophy of Europe. Americans remain a creative and productive people because they have the freedom to pursue their ideas and to benefit from the fruit of their own creativity; but government control, regulation, and taxes always stifle both innovation and productivity.

Under America’s free market system, improvement in the telegraph advanced rapidly. By 1858, a 2,000 mile-long telegraphic cable had been laid across the Atlantic Ocean, allowing direct telegraphic communications between the United States and Europe. And only three years later (1861), a transcontinental telegraph line had been laid across America, connecting San Francisco with the east coast. Messages that had previously taken weeks or months to deliver by boat, stage, or horseback could now arrive in only minutes. No wonder a newspaper of the day described Morse’s telegraph as “unquestionably the greatest invention of the age.”[13]

Morse was pleased with the impact his invention had, and he openly acknowledged that God gave him the idea. As he told his brother:

That sentence of Annie Ellsworth’s was Divinely indited [composed], for it is in my thoughts day and night. “What hath God wrought!” [Numbers 23:23]. It is His work, and He alone could have carried me thus far through all my trials and enabled me to triumph over the obstacles, physical and moral, which opposed me. “Not unto us, not unto us, but to Thy name, O Lord, be all the praise”[Psalm 115:1]. I begin to fear now the effects of public favor, lest it should kindle that pride of heart and self-sufficiency which dwells in my own as well as in others’ breasts, and which, alas, is so ready to be inflamed by the slightest spark of praise. I do indeed feel gratified, and it is right I should rejoice with fear [Psalm 2:11], and I desire that a sense of dependence upon and increased obligation to the Giver of every good and perfect gift [James 1:17] may keep me humble and circumspect.[14]

In a speech years later, Morse continued to acknowledge God as the Source of the idea that revolutionized the communication world, telling the crowd:

If not a sparrow falls to the ground without a definite purpose in the plans of Infinite Wisdom [Matthew 10:29], can the creation of an instrumentality so vitally affecting the interests of the whole human race [i.e., the telegraph] have an origin less humble than the Father of every good and perfect gift [James 1:17]? I am sure I have the sympathy of such an assembly as is here gathered if, in all humility and in the sincerity of a grateful heart, I use the words of inspiration in ascribing honor and praise to Him to Whom first of all and most of all it is pre-eminently due. “Not unto us, not unto us, but to God be all the glory”[Psalm 115:1]. Not what hath man, but “What hath God wrought!” [Numbers 23:23].[15]

Matthew Maury and Ocean and Air Currents (1842)

Matthew Maury

Matthew Maury (1806-1873) used the Bible as the basis of discoveries that transformed science and improved the quality of life for all mankind. Some of his contributions include:

  • Being titled “The Father of Oceanography,” “The Pathfinder of the Seas,” and “The Father of Naval Meteorology”
  • Charting ocean currents and mapping out sea and shipping routes for steamers in the North Atlantic
  • Serving as a key consultant in laying the transatlantic telegraph cable
  • Charting wind currents, developing the Naval Observatory (1833), and proposing the National Weather Bureau
Maury Monument statue in Richmond
  • Being instrumental in founding the US Naval Academy and inventing military weapons such as the first floating mines and first electric torpedoes
  • Writing many influential science books

Maury loved the oceans and spent his early life at sea. But while ashore between voyages, he was seriously injured in a freak stagecoach accident, crushing his leg and causing a permanent lameness. Unable to return to the sea, he focused his attention on things related to it. His discoveries forever changed both oceanography and meteorology, and he openly acknowledged the Bible as the source of his inspiration in the areas where he made his greatest contributions.

For example, he affirmed that what he found in Psalm 8:8 opened his understanding to new realms in oceanography. That Bible verse says:

Lord, Thou madest man to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet—all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

Matthew Maury said concerning Psalm 8:8, “If God says there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them!”

The phrase “paths of the seas” particularly struck Maury. He reasoned that if God said there were paths in the sea, then there definitely were; and he was going to find them—and he did. He discovered “pathways” in the ocean—places where sea currents in certain locations moved much faster than the waters around them. If ships sailed in these “pathways of the seas,” then their sailing time was significantly reduced, thus making more trips possible in less time and greatly increasing the efficiency and profitability of shipping. Maury charted these “pathways of the seas,” and his maps showing these pathways revolutionized both naval travel and commercial shipping.

Another Bible verse that struck Maury (and that also resulted in a major scientific discovery) was Ecclesiastes 1:6: “The wind goes toward the south and turns around to the north;the wind whirls about continually and comes again on its circuit.”Seeing this verse, and believing what it said about the wind moving in set patterns, Maury investigated and found pathways in the air—what are now known as jet streams. By learning the circuits of these air currents, weather was better understood and more accurate predictions therefore became possible, thus birthing modern meteorology.

That the Bible was central to Maury’s scientific work is affirmed by multiple memorials and sculptures erected to honor him. For example, when a monument to him was dedicated in 1929 in Richmond, Virginia, the newspaper noted that “Against his chair is the Bible, from which he drew inspiration for his explorations. The sculptor has caught amazingly the spirit of the man.”[16] And a 1923 monument erected to him in Goshen Pass, Virginia, includes a bronze plaque declaring: “His Inspiration, Holy Writ: Psalms 8 & 107, verses 8, 23, & 24; Ecclesiastes Chap. 1, verse 8.”[17]

Today, many deny that the Bible can be used for scientific purposes; and interestingly, that same objection was also present in Maury’s day. As Maury affirmed:

I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes and is therefore of no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon! The Bible is authority for everything it touches….The Bible is true, and science is true….They are both true; and when your men of science, with vain and hasty conceit, announce the discovery of disagreement between them, rely upon it: the fault is not with the Witness or His records, but with the “worm” [sinful human] who essays [attempts] to interpret evidence which he does not understand.[18]

Countless tens of millions of people across the world—including those alive today—have benefited from Maury’s Bible-based discoveries; and even in his day he heard from many grateful individuals—including a ship captain, who wrote thanking him…

not only for pointing out the most speedy route for ships to follow over the ocean but also teaching us sailors to look about us and recognize the wonderful manifestations of the wisdom and goodness of the great God, by which we are constantly surrounded. For myself, I am free to confess that for many years I commanded a ship; and although never insensible of the beauties of nature upon sea and land, I yet feel that until I took up your work I had been traversing the ocean blindfold[ed]. I did not think on—I did not know—the amazing combinations of all the works of Him Whom you so beautifully term “The First Great Thought.” I feel that aside from any pecuniary [monetary] profit to myself from your labors [by reducing my sailing times], you have done me good as a man. You have taught me to look above, around, and beneath me, and to recognize God’s hand in every element by which I am surrounded. I am grateful—most grateful—for this personal benefit.[19]

Maury’s Bible-based scientific discoveries revolutionized science and blessed all mankind.

George Washington Carver and the Peanut

George W. Carver (1860s-1943) was born into slavery just before the close of the Civil War. His mother, after being freed from slavery, chose to stay in Missouri with the Moses Carver family who had owned them. But raiders kidnapped and carried off both she and baby George. Moses, having no cash, offered a man 40 acres and a horse if he would find the mother and child. The man brought back baby George but was unable to find his mother. George grew up on the Carver farm, and like many in the South he grew up in poverty.

As a child he loved the forests, plants, and all things related to botany. He was observant of nature and very inquisitive, asking many questions. When he was about ten, he left the farm and worked his way through high school, saving money for college. But sadly, when the college discovered he was black, they did not admit him. A kind couple helped him go to a school for artists, but he later could find no jobs for an artist. Carver eventually ended up at Iowa State Agricultural College, where he studied his first love: agriculture.

After obtaining his degree, he was invited by Booker T. Washington to teach at his newly formed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He accepted, and the discoveries he made over subsequent years not only transformed the South but many other nations as well.

George Washington Carver said the secret of his success came from the Bible.

Much of the economy of the southeastern United States was based on cotton production, but centuries of growing cotton had depleted the soil, causing an inferior crop. And the invasion of the boll weevil (an insect that devours cotton) further decreased productivity. The South needed something else—a different crop. Carver changed the economy of the South by championing the peanut. In fact, he discovered over 300 uses for it.

From the peanut he made many other foods, including soups, beverages, mixed pickles, sauces, ground meal, and both instant and dry coffee. From the peanut he also made linoleum, metal polish, salve, plastics, bleach, tan remover, wood filler, washing powder, paper, ink, shaving cream, rubbing oil, shampoo, axle grease, and synthetic rubber. And from it he produced milk that would not curdle in cooking and from which long-lasting cream and cheese could be made. All of this from the tiny peanut! (He also worked with many other plants as well, even making more than 100 different products from sweet potatoes.)

Carver related how he came to focus on the peanut:

I asked the Great Creator what the universe was made for. “Ask for something more in keeping with that little mind of yours,” He replied. [So I asked] “What was man made for?”

“Little man, you still want to know too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.”

Then I told the Creator I wanted to know all about the peanut. He replied that my mind was too small to know all about the peanut, but He said He would give me a handful of peanuts. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth…to you it shall be for meat….I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. [Genesis 1:29-30]”

I carried the peanuts into my laboratory and the Creator told me to take them apart and resolve them into their elements. With such knowledge as I had of chemistry and physics, I set to work to take them apart. I separated the water, the fats, the oils, the gums, the resins, sugars, starches, pectoses, pentosans, amino acids. There! I had the parts of the peanuts all spread out before me.[20]

I looked at Him [God], and He looked at me. “Now, you know what the peanut is.”

“Why did You make the peanut?”

The Creator said, “I have given you three laws; namely, compatibility, temperature, and pressure. All you have to do is take these constituents and put them together, observing these laws, and I will show you why I made the peanut.”

I therefore went on to try different combinations of the parts under different conditions of temperature and pressure, and the result was what you see.[21]

Carver stated: “My purpose alone must be God’s purpose-to increase the welfare and happiness of His people.”

For his amazing work, Carver received numerous awards and became advisor to many world leaders, including President Franklin Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, and Thomas Edison. In all his work, he never failed to acknowledge God. Significantly, Carver’s many discoveries were the result of hard work and prayer. He would rise every morning at 4:00AM, begin the day by reading the Bible, and seek God concerning what He wanted him to do that day. He explained:

I discover nothing in my laboratory. If I come here of myself I am lost. But I can do all things through Christ [Philippians 4:13]. I am God’s servant—His agent, for here God and I are alone. I am just the instrument through which He speaks, and I would be able to do more if I were to stay in closer touch with Him. With my prayers I mix my labors, and sometimes God is pleased to bless the results.[22]

Carver sought to serve God and bless other people. In fact, when Thomas Edison offered him a job with a very large salary, Carver turned it down so he could continue his agricultural work in his laboratory, which he called “God’s little workshop.”

Toward the end of his long life, he summarized his achievements by explaining: “The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths’ [Proverbs 3:6].”[23]

— — — ⧫ ⧫ ⧫ — — —

The contributions of individuals such as Cyrus McCormick, Samuel F.B. Morse, Matthew Maury, and George Washington Carver are just a few from the many who made significant technological and scientific advances within the atmosphere of Christian liberty that permeated the American republic. But Christians were prominent leaders not only in science and technology but also in business.

Leaders in Business

John Wanamaker and the Department Store

John Wanamaker

John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was a business pioneer who founded the modern department store. He developed the customer-centered, service-oriented business model that has become so common today. Interestingly, the business path he took was shaped by an experience he had in early life.

One Christmas Eve while a young boy, he went to a jewelry store in Philadelphia to buy his mother a gift. He recalled:

I had only a few dollars saved up for the purpose. I wanted to buy the best thing these dollars would buy. I guess I took a long time to look at the things in the jewelry cases. The jeweler was growing impatient. Finally I said, “I’ll take that,” indicating a piece. Just what it was I do not recall.

The jeweler began wrapping it up. Suddenly I saw another piece that I thought would better please my mother. “Excuse me, sir,” I said, “but I have changed my mind. I’ll take this piece instead of the one you are wrapping.”

You can imagine my surprise and chagrin when the jeweler answered, “It’s too late now. You’ve bought the first piece and you must keep it.” I was too abashed to protest. I took what I had first bought, but as I went out of the store I said to myself:

“When I have a store of my own, the people shall have what they want…and what they ought to have.”[24]

This incident demonstrating business’s general lack of concern for the wishes of the customer, and its absence of flexibility and service, shaped his thinking for the successful business he would later create.

When Wanamaker eventually introduced his new philosophy of business in Philadelphia, it was based upon the Bible’s Golden Rule. (The Golden Rule is found in Matthew 7:12, when Jesus said: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”)

Sometimes he was mockingly called “Pious John” by those who thought religion had no place in business. Nevertheless, he ran his business and treated others the way he would want to be treated as a customer. The result was that he built one of the most successful businesses in history by serving people and blessing others.

Among the revolutionary new things Wanamaker introduced was the one-price system. Before this, there were no fixed prices, so customers would haggle and bargain with the salespeople for lower prices, but he began the practice of having a price tag that gave the actual selling price. He also marked the quality of the goods he was selling, labeling them as high, medium, or poor so that the customer would know exactly what he was buying. And he offered a money-back guarantee. In short, John birthed the service-oriented store. It had a unique spirit—a distinctive personality; and people who visited the store, regardless of whether or not they bought items, felt refreshed from their visits.

John applied the Golden Rule not only to his customers but also to his employees. He offered them better working conditions, vacation time, fewer work hours per week, retirement plans, medical plans, paid educational opportunities, and a better overall work environment (including lockers, cafeterias, and recreation clubs). He also pioneered store comforts such as a restaurant inside the store, storewide heating and ventilation, elevators, electric lights, and ease of access, which blessed both his customers and his employees. And his employees were service-oriented—they worked to please the customer and keep his or her well-being in mind.

Wanamaker’s Philadelphia store

Wanamaker’s Philadelphia store steadily grew, and he eventually built a newer, larger one—in fact, it was the largest store in the world. He saw it as a new kind of store—something completely different in business—and it was dedicated by President William Howard Taft, who called John “the greatest merchant in America.”[25] Thirty thousand people attended the grand opening, and President Taft told the crowd that John’s department store was “one of the most important instrumentalities in modern life for the promotion of comfort among the people.” He predicted it would be “a model for all other stores of the same kind throughout the country and throughout the world.”[26]

Wanamaker, in addition to his pioneer work in business, is also called the “Father of Modern Advertising.” He placed daily ads about his products and their prices in newspapers to let consumers know what he had and what it cost. Other merchants began to follow his lead, and the result was an influx of advertising money into newspapers that actually allowed them to lower their prices. This gave birth to the modern newspaper and magazine, making them affordable and available to all.

Others began to study Wannamaker’s stores to learn successful economic principles. But the secret was simple: a dedication tablet placed on his store testified that his success was due to “Freedom of competition and the blessing of God.”[27] He believed strongly in individual enterprise and the free market system, affirming that “Business thrives on competition….and [the] people’s interests in getting better merchandise and lower prices are always improved when competition is unstifled!”[28]

Because Wannamaker followed Biblical teachings not only in his business but also in his personal life, he therefore worked hard six days a week, just as the Bible directed (Exodus 20:9), and likewise did notwork on the Sabbath (Exodus 34:21). Instead, each Sabbath he taught in Sunday School and church—a practice he followed for seventy years.

Wanamaker, a strong Christian, was a world leader in business, introducing many practices that today have become commonplace across the globe.

Leaders in Education

As noted in the previous lesson, education for every child was a Biblical idea. It motivated the early colonists to start schools and colleges and is why the Bible was their central textbook. Their Bible-centered approach to education predominated well into the twentieth century, and some of the greatest and most influential educators in American history were dedicated Christians.

Noah Webster 

Noah Webster

One of the most notable educators of the nineteenth century was Noah Webster (1758-1843), known as “The Schoolmaster to America.”[29] He served as a soldier during the American War for Independence, and then as a judge and legislator afterwards. He was one of the first Americans to call for a Constitution Convention and was active in helping ratify the Constitution once it was written.

Prior to the war, Americans had been heavily dependent on British textbooks, which, of course, were filled with British thinking and philosophy. After the war ended, Webster wisely recognized that for America to continue to exist as the independent nation she had become, her schools needed textbooks that reflected our own unique American way of thinking and governing. He therefore began writing and publishing purely American texts for the classroom, including works on spelling, grammar, literature, agriculture, banking, history, government, manners, medicine, and numerous other subjects.

Webster’s first textbook was his speller, published in 1783. It standardized spelling in America and introduced purely American spellings, such as “labor,” “honor,” and “public” to replace the British spellings of “labour,” “honour,” and “publick.” This speller dominated education for the next century and a half, eventually becoming known as the “Blue-Back Speller” because of the distinctive blue color of its cover. Selling an astounding 100 million copies (and this was at a time when the population of America was much smaller than today),[30] its premise was that “God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”[31]

Webster repeatedly stressed that the basis of American education in all subjects must rest upon Christianity:

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed….No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.[32]

In addition to his textbooks, Webster also recognized that we needed an American dictionary, so he began working on one. His would have full definitions of words (something not common to dictionaries at that time) and include many purely American words found in no other dictionary (such as “skunk,” “hickory,” “chowder,” and thousands more). For twenty years, Webster kept a list of words for which he could find no definition—words that he would include in his dictionary.

As he began to define each word, he found he needed to know its origin—where it came from and how it had been used in previous ages. Seeking to understand the original language from which a particular word was derived, Webster personally learned twenty-eight languages.[33]

When his An American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in 1828, it contained 70,000 words, with 12,000 words and 40,000 definitions not found in any previous dictionary.[34]

To illustrate the context of the words he was defining, Webster provided sentences within the definition to show how that word was used. Significantly, a high percentage of the sentences he provided as examples were Bible verses.

For example, after defining the word “man,” examples he gave to illustrate its usage included:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion. Genesis 1.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. Job 14.

My spirit will not always strive with man. Genesis 6.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. 1 Corinthians 10.

It is written, man shall not live by bread alone. Matthew 4.[35]

Similarly, after defining “heart,” his examples were:

Webster’s definition of immoral reflects the Biblical worldview of early America.

The heart is deceitful above all things [Jeremiah 17:9]. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is evil continually [Genesis 6:5]. We read of an honest and good heart [Luke 8:15], and an evil heart of unbelief [Hebrews 3:12], a willing heart [Exodus 35:5, 22], a heavy heart [Proverbs 25:20], sorrow of heart [Nehemiah 2:2], a hard heart [Exodus 7:14], a proud heart [Proverbs 16:5], a pure heart [Matthew 5:8]. The heart faints in adversity [Isaiah 1:5, Proverbs 24:10; Deuteronomy 20:8], or under discouragement, that is, courage fails [Joshua 2:11]; the heart is deceived [Isaiah 44:20], enlarged [2 Corinthians 6:11], reproved, lifted up [2 Chronicles 26:16], fixed [Psalm 57:7], established [Psalm 112:8], moved, &c.[36]

Webster was so committed to doing everything for the Lord (including even his massive dictionary) that in the preface to that famous work, he openly dedicated it to God.[37]

(By the way, since its original publication in 1828, Webster’s dictionary has undergone extensive censorship to remove its Christian content; so although the most popular dictionary in America continues to bear his name, it no longer reflects the spirit of the original. Fortunately, reprints and online copies of his original 1828 dictionary are still readily accessible for use today and are highly recommended for those who wish to retain and promote a Biblical view of the English language and its usage.)

In addition to the many texts Webster penned, he also was largely responsible for the copyright and patent clause in the US Constitution,[38] which protects the creativity and innovation of individuals in the arts and sciences as well as in technology, literature, music, and all other areas. He also published magazines and newspapers (including the American Minerva, Commercial Advertiser, The Herald, and The New York Spectator), founded a college (Amherst), published the first modern-language version of the English Bible (1833), and raised seven children.

As one textbook later noted of Webster, he was one of the most influential men in American history:

Only two [other] men have stood on the New World whose fame is so sure to last: Columbus, its discover and Washington, its savior. Webster is, and will be its great teacher; and these three make our trinity of fame.[39]

Another work declared of him:

Who taught millions to read but not one to sin.[40]

Noah Webster educated generations of Americans in the same Biblical worldview that caused America to become the most free and prosperous nation the world has seen.

William McGuffey 

William McGuffey

Another of America’s most famous educators was William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873), a Presbyterian minister, author, and university professor. For his significant impact on education, he has been titled “The Schoolmaster of the Nation”[41] — a title very similar to that of Webster, which is not surprising since he, too, had such a significant influence on American education. He is best known for his McGuffey Readers, which sold an amazing 122 million copies in its first 75 years.[42] For nearly a century, those readers were standard throughout the country, and even more than 120 years later in the 1960s, they were still selling 30,000 copies a year.[43]

McGuffey openly acknowledged the Bible as a significant influence on his readers. For example, in the Preface to the Fourth Reader, he wrote:

From no Source has the author drawn more copiously in his selections, than from the sacred Scriptures. For this he certainly apprehends no censure. In a Christian country, that man is to be pitied who at this day can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.[44]

Professor John Westerhoff of Duke University described the overall content of McGuffey’s works:

From the First to the Fourth Reader, belief in the God of the Old and New Testaments is assumed. When not mentioned directly, God is implied: “You cannot steal the smallest pin…without being seen by the eye that never sleeps.” More typically, however, lessons make direct references to the Almighty: “God makes the little lambs bring forth wool, that we may have clothes to keep us warm….All that live get life from God….The humble child went to God in penitence and prayer….All who take care of you and help you were sent by God. He sent his Son to show you His will, and to die for your sake.”[45]

So William McGuffey and Noah Webster—perhaps the two most significant influences on public education in the nineteenth century—were both open and dedicated Christians, as was the content of the famous textbooks they produced.

Westward Expansion
Gail Borden was the first person baptized west of the Mississippi River.

At the time America achieved her independence from Great Britain, most Americans lived along the eastern coast near the Atlantic Ocean. But as Americans began moving west, many new states were added, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Louisiana. Expansion steadily continued ever further westward until reaching the Pacific Ocean.

A significant part of westward expansion was President Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, which nearly doubled the size of the United States. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first explored the region, and many other famous explorers followed them, including Jedidiah Smith, the first to find an overland route to California from the east. Smith was a courageous frontiersman who always carried his Bible with him, sharing God with other trappers and pioneers.

Another notable leader in westward expansion was Daniel Boone. He blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and then opened other trails heading even farther west. And there was also John Chapman (known as Johnny Appleseed). He was a missionary explorer who worked his way westward, sowing the Word of God to the pioneers he encountered as well as providing them both spiritual and physical sustenance.

Texas (after it achieved independence from Mexico) became another western addition to the United States. One of the leaders in Texas independence was Gail Borden, a newspaper publisher who also printed important papers for the Texas government. In 1840, a Baptist minister arrived in Galveston (the first Baptist minister in that part of Texas), where Gail and his wife Penelope lived. Gail was baptized in the Gulf of Mexico—reportedly the first baptism west of the Mississippi River.[46] He later became famous for inventing condensed milk—an important food supply for those moving west.

Many other Christians were among the famous western trailblazers.


Significantly, every American president has self-identified as a Christian and referenced God in his inaugural addresses and speeches.Additionally, the majority of governmental leaders in the nineteenth century were also professing Christians, just as they had been in the Founding Era.

US Senator Daniel Webster

Daniel Webster

One of the many notable Christian statesmen was Daniel Webster. He served almost a decade in the US House, nearly two decades in the US Senate, and was the Secretary of State for three different presidents. Webster was considered the greatest attorney in his generation and personally argued and won numerous cases before the US Supreme Court. In fact, it is reported that opposing attorneys, when learning they would be facing Webster, would sometimes withdraw from a case rather than face his genius.[47]

Webster is also considered the greatest orator in the history of the US Senate. Significantly, he believed that to become a great orator, one must study the Word of God and read the Bible aloud.[48] One of his friends and associates testified:

[H]e loved and he read that priceless volume [the Bible] as it ought to be loved and read….He read it aloud to his family every Sunday morning, and often delivered extempore sermons of great power and eloquence. He never made a journey without carrying a copy with him; and [I] testify that [I] never listened to the story of the Savior or heard one of the prophecies of Isaiah when it sounded so superbly eloquent as when coming from his lips.[49]

Webster’s old Senate desk is still in use today in the current Senate Chamber. He inscribed his name in the bottom of that desk with a penknife (and other Senators followed his example). Interestingly, Webster developed a love for penknives at an early age. In fact, one of his first school teachers, Master James Tappan, told the story of how Daniel got his first penknife (at around age 6-8):

Daniel was always the brightest boy in the school….He would learn more in five minutes than any boy in five hours….One Saturday, I remember, I held up a handsome new jack-knife to the scholars and said the boy who would commit to memory the greatest number of verses in the Bible by Monday morning should have it. Many of the boys did well; but when it came to Daniel’s turn to recite, I found that he had committed so much [to memory] that after hearing him repeat some sixty or seventy verses, I was obliged to give up, he telling me that there were several chapters yet that he had learned. Daniel got that jack-knife.[50]

Webster’s love for the Bible remained with him throughout his life and is often seen in his political speeches as well as his legal works. (For example, he argued a Supreme Court case that resulted in a unanimous ruling that American public schools would definitely teach the Bible.[51]) He understood that obedience to God’s truth produces great blessings for a nation, pointing out that “Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.”[52]

James Garfield 

James Garfield

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) was born in Ohio in 1831—the last president to be born in a log cabin. He grew up working on the family farm, was self-taught in law, became a university president, served as a Union military general in the Civil War, and after the war was a Congressman (where he was a key leader in passing numerous civil rights bills to secure racial equality). He also served as an ordained minister during the Second Great Awakening.

On March 4, 1881, James Garfield was inaugurated 20thPresident of the United States, but only four months later was shot by an assassin. The doctors were unable to find and remove the bullet, and on September 19,1881, he finally succumbed to the complications related to their medical treatment of his wound. But had it not been for God’s Providence, he would have died many years earlier while a young boy and not have accomplished all he did.

Early in his life, Garfield worked on a canal boat, but he was unable to swim—which almost proved fatal one dark night when he fell into the water. The rest of the crew was asleep and unaware of what had happened. While gasping for breath and trying to stay above water, Garfield grabbed hold of a tow rope that had accidentally fallen into the water. As he was sinking, he somehow managed to throw a loop in the rope around a fixture on the deck of the barge above him. He then pulled himself to safety, being saved from certain drowning.

Once on deck, for the next three hours Garfield attempted to throw the same rope around the same fixture, but was unable to duplicate the feat that had saved his life. He concluded that God had intervened and spared him and as a result he gave himself wholly to God. He went on to attend seminary[53] and became a minister for the Disciples of Christ denomination, leading people to Christ[54] and publically debating God’s creation against evolutionists.[55] He influenced the public sector in many different ways, including being elected to Congress and eventually the presidency.

Garfield wisely reminded Americans to remember their civil responsibilities as stewards of the nation, telling them:

[N]ow, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in national legislature….[I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation, with a great and worthy Congress, it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.[56]

William McKinley

William McKinley (1843-1901) was born in Ohio in 1843 and raised by devoutly Christian parents.

William McKinley

In the mid-nineteenth century, many people were being converted to the fast-growing Methodist revivalist movement, and William was one of them. He became a Christian at a camp meeting when he was ten, and in 1859, after attending another series of camp meetings, he was baptized and became a full member of the Methodist Church. He intended to pursue becoming a Christian minister, but the Civil War intervened.

McKinley joined the Twenty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was so devout that it was called “the psalm-singers of the Western Reserve” (the Western Reserve was the northeastern region of Ohio).[57] McKinley reported that there were “religious exercises in the company twice a day, prayer meetings twice a week, and preaching in the regiment once on a Sabbath.”[58] He even called himself a soldier of Jesus.[59]

In 1897, McKinley was elected the 25thPresident of the United States, and his strong Christian faith was apparent in his speeches. For example, in his First Inaugural Address (1897), he said: “Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.[60] Midway through his first term, he declared: “My belief embraces the Divinity of Christ and a recognition of Christianity as the mightiest factor in the world’s civilization.[61]

As president, he regularly read the Bible and often hosted “hymn sings” (a type of worship service) in the White House. One biographer stated, “His evenings were spent with Mrs. McKinley and friends, often reading the Bible aloud until ten.”[62]

Numerous friends affirmed his strong Christian faith, including his pastor, Methodist Bishop Edward Andrews, who said of him: “He believed in God and in Jesus Christ, through Whom God was revealed. He accepted the Divine law of the Scripture; he based his hope on Jesus Christ, the appointed and only Redeemer of men.”[63]

In 1901, during the first year of his second term, McKinley was assassinated. At that tragic moment, his lifelong Christian faith once again became evident: after being shot, he immediately forgave his assassin, blurting out, “Don’t let them hurt him!”[64] A week later he died, softly singing the words of his favorite hymn, “Nearer, My God to Thee.” As he passed into eternity, his last words were, “His will be done.”[65]

The Second Great Awakening

The Founders of America believed that liberty could not be maintained without Godly character in both citizens and leaders. Without such character, a free society will become immoral and depraved, for the government will become more hard-fisted and tyrannical in order to combat the bad behavior resulting from the lack of morality. Thus, a loss of liberty, freedom, and prosperity always begins with a decay of morality.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century (that is, in the early 1800s), the War for Independence and the positive influence of religion and morality that had been so apparent during the American Founding was waning. This noticeable decline was affirmed even by the public prayer proclamations of that period, which called for true religion to be rekindled and spread across the land.[66] Those prayers were eventually answered in a national revival historians now call the Second Great Awakening.

That Awakening spanned the decades preceding the Civil War, having first begun in Kentucky before spreading to other states. In that revival, many people were converted or came back to the Christian faith, and many new churches and Christian denominations were started.

Leaders in the Second Great Awakening included notables such as Barton Stone, James McGready, John McGee, Harry Hoosier, Lorenzo Dow, Charles Clay, and Peter Cartwright. Numerous circuit-riding preachers traveled throughout the frontier of America, setting it aflame with the Gospel. In fact, legendary Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury (1745-1816) spent 45 years spreading the Gospel and founding schools, largely from horseback.

Perhaps the best-known name of that national revival was the Rev. Charles Finney (1792-1875). At least a hundred-thousand Americans became Christians under his ministry,[67] and he further transformed the culture by his extensive influence on thousands of other pastors.

Interestingly, Finney believed that specific things could be done to create a revival, and so he taught the science of revival in his famous Lectures on Revival of Religion.[68]

The personal story of Finney is very unusual, for he became a Christian by studying to become an attorney. This seems implausible today, but not then. While studying his legal textbooks, Finney was struck by their constant references to the Bible as the basis of all civil and moral law. As a result, he began to seriously study the Bible, which eventually led to his conversion.[69] He then became a minister, helping bring both religious and moral reformation to the nation.

Finney was an ardent abolitionist and led churches and clergy across the country to boldly speak out on that issue. In fact, his abolition work was an important factor in ending slavery in America. He also became president of a college, and his school was one of the first in America to treat blacks and whites, men and women, as equals.

The Rev. Richard Allen (1760-1831) was another significant figure in the Awakening, especially in its early years. In 1816, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination (the first black denomination in America), but his personal story began much earlier.

Statue of Marcus Whitman in the US Capitol with his bible in one hand and medical bag in the other.

While a slave in Maryland, Allen became a Christian after a traveling circuit-riding Methodist minister preached on the plantation where he lived. Allen later influenced his master to become a Christian, and was able to purchase his freedom, after which he moved to Philadelphia and became a minister, preaching to both black and white congregations. He also served in the American War for Independence and over subsequent years built many churches, often helped by his friend, signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush.

Just as many notable spiritual leaders stepped to the forefront during the Second Great Awakening, many Christian organizations were also started in that time, including numerous Bible societies. In fact, Founding Father Benjamin Rush helped organize the first one in 1809,[70] and over the next eight years, 120 additional ones were birthed.[71]

In 1816, the American Bible Society (the first national Bible Society) was formed, and dozens of local, state, and regional Bible societies linked arms with them. Its national officers included notables such as Elias Boudinot (president of the Continental Congress and a framer of the Bill of Rights), John Jay (the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court), John Quincy Adams (President of the US), John Marshall (Supreme Court Chief Justice), John Langdon and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (signers of the Constitution), Smith Thompson (Secretary of the Navy), William Wirt (US Attorney General), and many other distinguished historical figures.

In addition to Bible societies, the revival also gave impetus for the founding of numerous abolition societies, philanthropic organizations, the American Tract Society, the American Sunday School Union, the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), and other such national Christian groups that helped change the spiritual and cultural direction of America.

Missionaries and Mission Movements
In the winter of 1842-43, Marcus Whitman made a daring trip over the Rocky Mountains and then returned and traveled to Washington DC to meet with President John Tyler and Secretary of State Daniel Webster (above), urging them to not give away the Oregon Territory to Great Britain in exchange for Northern Canada.

The work of sending Christian missionaries to teach the Bible in remote locations around the country and the world expanded greatly in the eighteenth century. As seen in Lessons 1 and 2, a central motivation for the colonization of the original thirteen colonies had been the desire to propagate the Gospel. This same motive continued to influence the establishment of later states as well.

For example, the Rev. Jason Lee was a principal force in founding the state of Oregon,[72] and missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were key in establishing the states of Washington and Idaho.[73] In fact, the Whitmans were instrumental in opening the West to settlers, blazing what became known as the Oregon Trail.[74]

In 1836, on their original westward trek, when their small party reached the Continental Divide (the mountain ridge that divides the eastern from the western United States) on July 4, 1836, a member of their expedition, the Rev. Henry Harmon Spalding, reported: “They alighted from their horses and kneeling on the other half of the continent, with the Bible in one hand and the American flag in the other, took possession of it as the home of American mothers and of the Church of Christ.”[75] After successfully completing the journey, the Whitmans returned east and led other settlers in the first great emigration to Oregon in 1843. They are just another in the long line of Christians who helped establish the entirety of what has become the continental United States.

The End of Slavery

At the time the early colonists came to America, slavery existed across the world. Initially, it was forbidden in the American colonies, but by the middle of the 17thcentury (the mid-1600s), that prohibition had sadly changed and slavery instead began to be protected by law. There were attempts to restrict and stop its expansion in the colonies, but such laws had limited success, so slavery steadily grew across America, just as it had elsewhere on the globe. (In the three-and-a-half centuries of the African slave trade, some 10.7 million Africans were captured and taken as slaves to other nations, of which 42 percent were taken to Brazil, 10 percent to Jamaica, and so forth, with 3.6 percent being taken to North America.[76]

The American War for Independence was a turning point in the national attitude against slavery, and it was the Founding Fathers who contributed greatly to that change. Many of them denounced Great Britain for imposing upon the colonies the evil of slavery, and then not allowing America to end the slave trade. For example, in the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson had vigorously complained:

Thomas Jefferson

He [King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither….Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [that is, he has opposed efforts to prohibit the slave trade].[77]

(Regrettably, the pro-slavery states of South Carolina and Georgia successfully demanded the removal of this denunciation of the slave trade.[78] The reason they won on this issue was that nothing could appear in the Declaration unless it had complete agreement from all thirteen states—as the Declaration itself attested, what was in that document was only the “unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”)

Benjamin Franklin, echoing what Jefferson had said, likewise affirmed that whenever the Americans had attempted to end slavery, the British government thwarted those attempts. He explained that…

Benjamin Franklin

a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the King for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed [by the king].[79]

For many of the Founders, their feelings against slavery went beyond words. For example, in 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded in Pennsylvania the first anti-slavery society in America.[80] John Jay (original Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court) was president of a similar society in New York;[81] and when William Livingston (a signer of the Constitution and the Governor of New Jersey) heard of that New York society, he wrote them, offering:

I would most ardently wish to become a member of it [the society in New York] and…I can safely promise them that neither my tongue, nor my pen, nor purse shall be wanting to promote the abolition of what to me appears so inconsistent with humanity and Christianity….May the great and the equal Father of the human race, Who has expressly declared His abhorrence of oppression, [Proverbs 14:31, 22:16], and that He is no respecter of persons [Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11], succeed a design so laudably calculated to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke [Isaiah 58:6].[82]

Other prominent Founding Fathers who were members of societies for ending slavery included Gunning Bedford Jr, Richard Bassett, James Madison, James Monroe, Francis Scott Key, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, William Few, John Marshall, Richard Stockton, Zephaniah Swift, and many more. In fact, based in part on the efforts of such Founders, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts began abolishing slavery in 1780;[83] Connecticut and Rhode Island did so in 1784;[84] Vermont in 1786;[85] New Hampshire in 1792;[86] New York in 1799;[87] and New Jersey in 1804.[88]

The rapid anti-slavery progress during this period of American history was not surprising since the majority of the Founding Fathers were anti-slavery.

Interestingly, extensive research has been conducted to determine individual Founder’s views on the issue of slavery. Almost a hundred individuals comprise the group of Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration or the Constitution. Of that group, some have no recorded position on the subject; but of those who did express a view on slavery, over two-thirds opposed it, freed their own slaves, or belonged to anti-slavery societies.

Somewhere less than one-third of the Founders were pro-slavery, and there is no justification for their view. It is wrong. (Not surprisingly, these pro-slavery Founders came largely from Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina—the same three states that had vociferously objected to Jefferson’s denunciation of the slave trade in the Declaration of Independence.) Openly pro-slavery Founders included William Hooper and Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina, Charles Pinckney and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, and Abraham Baldwin of Georgia.

The anti-slavery Founders (who far outnumber the pro-slavery Founders) can be divided into three general categories.

The first includes those Founders who never owned a slave, such as John Adams, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, and Samuel Adams.

The second includes Founders who owned slaves before America became independent (during the time the king was vetoing American anti-slavery laws), but who freed their slaves after separating from Great Britain. Among this group are Founders such as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Benjamin Rush, William Whipple, and John Dickinson. (Ironically, even though this group includes some of the nation’s most outspoken advocates against slavery, many critics today nonetheless wrongly characterize the Founders in this group as pro-slavery slave-holders.[89])

The third group includes Founders who owned slaves throughout their lives but spoke openly against slavery, and sometimes even became part of anti-slavery organizations and movements. This situation confuses many today, for how can one own slaves and at the same time be anti-slavery? Because most of the Founders in this third category lived in the state of Virginia, where the laws made it very difficult, and in some cases impossible for them to free their own slaves.

For a modern parallel to perhaps better understand the unique situation in Virginia, consider a pro-life mother in China. Despite how much she might personally object to abortion, for decades China maintained a coercive one-child policy, forcibly requiring the abortion of any second child.[90] So how could a mother possibly have an abortion (or even multiple abortions) and still be pro-life? Because she lived in a country where the laws not only prevented but also made illegal what she desperately wanted. While this is an imperfect comparison, it nevertheless suggests the difficulty faced by some of the slave-owning Founders from Virginia who had inherited their slaves (often at a young age) and were not at liberty under state law to set them free.

The restrictiveness of Virginia’s laws on slavery is illustrated by the case of Robert Carter. In 1791, he freed his 500 slaves, but because Virginia law was so restrictive, over sixty years later in 1852 (and long after Carter’s death) his heirs were still working to free his slaves.[91] Facing such difficulties, some Virginians simply packed up and left their homes, moving all their possessions and slaves to a different state where the law permitted them to be freed.[92] Understandably, however, many Virginians did not abandon their family and ancestral homes; they were thus required to live under the onerous state slave laws.

Significantly, a number of the Founders from Virginia, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, openly opposed slavery and even worked to change the laws at the state level (where their efforts were routinely defeated) as well as the federal level (where they were sometimes successful).

George Washington

For example, George Washington (who inherited slaves when he was only eleven years old[93]) declared that “there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].” In fact, he promised that his efforts to achieve full freedom for slaves “shall never be wanting[lacking].”[94] He was never successful in advancing this objective in his home state of Virginia, but he was more successful at the national level.

For example, as president in 1789, he signed a federal law that prohibited slavery in any federal territories that would become states in the United States.[95] As a result, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and other states entered the union as anti-slavery states. In 1794, he signed another federal anti-slavery law, this one banning any exportation of slaves, thus preventing America from contributing to the growth of the slave trade.[96] Such federal efforts were also made by slave-owning President Thomas Jefferson (also of Virginia, who inherited slaves when he was twenty-one years old[97]). The Constitution had specifically given Congress the power to end the slave trade in 1808. (No nation in Europe or elsewhere had agreed to such strong political action at that time in world history.) When the specified time arrived, President Thomas Jefferson eagerly signed the federal law banning the importation of slaves into America.[98] He also personally organized anti-slavery activities in federal territories (including Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois) to ensure that they remained slave-free when they became states.[99] Multiple times over previous decades Jefferson had pressed for the abolition of slavery at both the state and national levels, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Despite this, he openly declared:

[T]here is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity [i.e. slavery].[100]

For the two-thirds of the Founders included in one of the three anti-slavery categories, most of their opposition to slavery stemmed from the Bible. As signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush affirmed:

Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity….It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father—it is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior—it is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe, Who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.[101]

Frederick Douglass

Despite the fact that at least two-thirds of the Founders opposed slavery and spoke or worked against it, many critics today wrongly claim that they were a collective group of slave-holders and racists.[102] In their attempts to denigrate and dismiss the American Founding, they even assert that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document.

To prove this, they often point to the Three-Fifths Clause in the Constitution, claiming that it says blacks are only three-fifths of a person.[103] But this is wrong. The three-fifths clause was an actually an anti-slavery clause in the Constitution designed to limit pro-slavery representation in Congress. It had nothing to do with the worth of any individual.

One of the earliest black Americans to investigate the claim that the Constitution was pro-slavery was famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery in 1818, he escaped to New York in 1838. He was later hired to work for the Massachusetts anti-slavery society, and also served as a preacher for Zion African Methodist denomination.[104]

During Douglass’s first years of freedom, he studied at the feet of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who wrongly taught him that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document.[105] Douglass accepted this claim, and his early speeches and writings reflected this belief. However, he began to research the subject for himself: he read the Constitution as well as the writings of those who wrote it. What he found revolutionized his thinking: he concluded that the Constitution was not a pro-slavery but rather an anti-slavery document.[106]

He explained:

I was, on the anti-slavery question.…fully committed to [the] doctrine touching the pro-slavery character of the Constitution….I advocated it with pen and tongue, according to the best of my ability….[U]pon a reconsideration of the whole subject, I became convinced…that the Constitution of the United States not only contained no guarantees in favor of slavery but on the contrary, it is in its letter and spirit an anti-slavery instrument, demanding the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence as the supreme law of the land. Here was a radical change in my opinions….[107]

Douglass therefore concluded:

[I]f the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither “slavery,” “slaveholding,” nor “slave” can anywhere be found in it?…Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.[108]

By the 1830s, many citizens had come to reject the original view of most Founding Fathers that slavery was an evil to be abolished. Even many churches began wrongly attempting to justify slavery. In fact, three major Protestant denominations (Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists) actually split over the issue of slavery; and once the churches had divided over slavery, it was almost certain that the nation would as well.


Significantly, the greatest force for abolition in America was Bible-based Christianity. By 1827, 130 different abolition societies had been formed,[109] and in 1833, the National American Anti-Slavery Society was founded, with one-third of its leaders being clergyman.[110] They announced:

With entire confidence in the overruling justice of God, we plant ourselves upon the Declaration of Independence and the truths of Divine revelation as upon the everlasting rock. We shall organize anti-slavery societies, if possible, in every city, town, and village in our land. We shall send forth agents to lift up the voice of remonstrance [protest], of warning, of entreaty [pleading] and rebuke. We shall circulate unsparingly and extensively anti-slavery tracts and periodicals. We shall enlist the pulpit and the press in the cause of the suffering.…We shall spare no exertions nor means to bring the whole nation to speedy repentance.[111]

Underground Railroad

While many Christians were working to abolish slavery by changing the law, others were helping slaves escape from slavery in the South to freedom in the North (and also into Canada) through a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Some of the more notable conductors on the Underground Railroad included former slave and devout Christian Harriet Tubman, who led so many slaves to freedom that she was given the name “Moses of Her People,” in reference to Moses of the Bible, the great Hebrew deliverer. And Levi and Catherine Coffin, motivated by their Quaker faith, helped about 3,000 slaves escape to freedom. When asked why he aided fugitive slaves, Levi said: “The Bible, in bidding us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, said nothing about color, and I should try to follow out the teachings of that Good Book.”[112] And Oberlin University, where the Rev. Charles Finney was president, was a very active center on the Underground Railroad.[113]

Ministers Encourage Lincoln toward Emancipation
Levi Coffin

President Abraham Lincoln believed that God called him to be an instrument to help end slavery.[114] To him, slavery violated the ideal stated in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” On January 1, 1863, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves in the southern states—an action that reflected God’s principles of racial equality.

Significantly, Lincoln had received much encouragement from ministers in his efforts against slavery. In fact, between 1861 and 1863, various associations of clergymen (representing the Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Quakers, Congregationalists, and United Brethren) as well as missions boards from all over the North sent dozens of official condemnations of slavery to President Lincoln, announcing their support of the anti-slavery stance taken by the federal government.[115]

Clergyman were also active in contacting other national political leaders. In fact, over the period of only a few months, 125 different remonstrances supported by New England clergymen poured into Congress.[116] One such document, signed by 3,050 New England clergymen, was 200 feet long.[117] US Senator Charles Sumner (one of the anti-slavery Democrats who founded the Republican Party) thanked the ministers, saying, “In the days of the Revolution, John Adams, yearning for Independence, said, ‘Let the pulpits thunder against oppression; and the pulpits thundered. The time has come for them to thunder again.”[118]

Lincoln attempted to view the events of the Civil War from a Biblical perspective. Perhaps more than any other president, he included Bible verses and principles throughout his speeches and policies—a fact especially apparent in his Second Inaugural Address:

Abraham Lincoln

Both [North and South] read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces [that is, in having slaves], but let us judge not that we be not judged [Matthew 7:1]. The prayer of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes [Matthew 18:7]. If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the Providence of God, must needs come, but which having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern there any departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s [slave owner’s] two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, that the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether [Psalm 19:9]. [119]

Significantly, only two months before Lincoln gave this address, the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery had been passed. And only five weeks after this address, Lincoln was assassinated. A month after that, the Civil War finally came to an end.Abolition had prevailed—the principles of the Declaration were recognized in American law: the idea that all men are created free and have equal rights before the Creator, including a right to life, liberty, and property became fully secured in the Constitution.

— — — ⧫ ⧫ ⧫ — — —

Letter from President Woodrow Wilson placed inside Bibles given to soldiers in WWI.

There is much else that can be pointed to throughout the nineteenth century to illustrate the positive influence of the Bible and Christianity on America, its leaders, and the culture, but to do so would require volumes more space. Nonetheless, just from the little that has been presented here, it is clear that America’s Christian history is inseparable from American history in general.

The Christian Influence in the Wars against Evil in the 20th Century

In the 20thcentury, America fought two world wars, and the root of the conflict in each was, in simplest terms, good versus evil—liberty versus oppression—God-given rights versus government tyranny and oppression. The attempt to preserve Christian and Biblical principles for others in the world was a major cause of our involvement in both wars, and the Christian faith supported many of those who fought and died to secure liberty for America and other allied nations.

Gen. John Pershing

In each war, care was taken to meet the spiritual needs of American GIs on land, sea, and air. One indication of this was that Bibles were distributed to these warriors, and those Bibles often included messages from national leaders on the importance of Bible reading.

For example, some World War I Bibles included a letter from General John Pershing, military commander of American forces, telling them:

To The American Soldier:

Aroused against a nation waging war in violation of all Christian principles, our people are fighting in the cause of liberty.

Hardship will be your lot, but trust in God will give you comfort; temptation will befall you, but the teachings of our Savior will give you strength.

Let your valor as a soldier and your conduct as a man be an inspiration to your comrades and an honor to your country.[120]

Other World War I Bibles included a letter from President Woodrow Wilson, which declared:

This book speaks both the voice of God and the voice of humanity, for there is told in it the most convincing story of human experience that has ever been written, take it all in all, and those who heed that story will know that strength and happiness and success are all summed up in the exhortation, “Fear God and keep his commandments.”[121]

America’s leaders understood the importance of the Bible to those on the frontlines of preserving America’s freedom and form of government.

Sgt. Alvin York

Alvin York (1887-1964) was the most decorated American soldier of World War I. He was raised in a Christian home in eastern Tennessee but lived as “a real hellraiser”[122] until he was converted to Christ (due, in part, to years of prayer by his mother). He then devoted himself to pursuing God, studying the Bible, and fulfilling his family responsibilities. He also helped start a new church in his community, serving as an elder, Sunday school teacher, and song leader.

Sgt. Alvin York

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, York was one of many who was drafted to fight. However, as a new Christian, he believed that he should be a peacemaker and that killing of any kind and for any reason was always wrong (he did not yet know the Bible’s teachings on just war, self-defense, military service, and so forth). He therefore registered as a conscientious objector, seeking to avoid personally fighting. But the military denied his exemption because his church had no written doctrine on that issue. He was therefore enlisted as a fighting soldier.

Before being deployed to Europe, he discussed with his commander the issue of whether Christians should use force. His commander reasoned with him from the Bible, sharing some Bible verses to think about, and then gave York time to travel home and resolve the conflict in his mind. When York returned to camp, it was with the new revelation that, “If a man can make peace by fighting, he is a peacemaker.”[123] When asked by his commanding officer if he still had any objections to fighting he replied, “No, sir, I do not.”[124]

One of the many war bond posters with a religious theme.

During the battle of the Argonne Forest in France on October 8, 1917, Corporal York’s company came under intense fire, and all but eight of his group were shot. With the higher ranking officers out of commission, York took command, and through his leadership, his small band of soldiers captured 132 German soldiers and officers (all behind enemy lines), with York personally killing 25 others and putting 35 machine guns out of commission.[125] The small group of Americans marched their large group of German captives from behind German lines to an American encampment, where they turned their prisoners over for military confinement.

Of that memorable day, York wrote in his diary, “So you can see here in this case of mine where God helped me out. I had been living for God and working in the church some time before I came to the army. So I am a witness to the fact that God did help me out of that hard battle, for the bushes were shot up all around me and I never got a scratch.”[126]

On November 11, 1917, the peace treaty ending the Great War (World War I) was signed. Sergeant York headed home to a hero’s welcome, and he received the Medal of Honor from President Woodrow Wilson.

Everyone in the country knew of York’s amazing feat and wanted to see him and hear him speak. Flooded with invitations, at first he was very reluctant to respond, but then he realized he could use these various opportunities to help provide education for poor children from the backwoods rural area from which he had come. He therefore agreed to those invitations, explaining:

Educating the boys and girls of the mountain districts and telling the Gospel of Jesus Christ are far more important to me than reciting my experiences in France….When I die, I had rather it be said about me that I gave my life toward aiding my fellow man than for it to be said that I became a millionaire through capitalizing on my fame as a fighter. I do not care to be remembered as a warrior but as one who helped others to Christ.”[127]

York went on to start various schools and institutes, including in 1939 the Alvin C. York Bible School in order to“give instruction in the Holy Bible and to teach the fundamental Christian religion as contained therein [that would] prepare its pupils and students to live and practice a full Christian life.”[128]

World War II
This poster, produced by the US government to help sell war bonds during WWII, reveals the Nazi’s opposition to, and America’s strong support for Biblical faith.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, precipitated America’s entry into World War II. The conflict truly was a global war, and from the American perspective it was fought on two fronts: the European, against Germany and her allies; and the Pacific, against the Japanese.

Fighting to preserve the principles of the Christian faith was a central motivation behind America’s entry into the conflict. As President Franklin Roosevelt affirmed in his State of the Union address on January 6, 1942 (only a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor):

The world is too small…for both Hitler and God.…The Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their new German pagan religion all over the world—a plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword.[129]

A government poster was issued reflecting the elements of Roosevelt’s speech (pictured at right), affirming America’s devotion to the Bible and the Nazis’ desire to eliminate it. Significantly, many of the official posters used to raise money for the War had similarly strong religious themes.

During the war, many of the troops were sustained by their Christian faith; others were converted to Christ, including even some Americans being held in enemy prison camps. In fact, two of the captured Doolittle Raiders, Bob Hite and Jacob DeShazer, became Christians in a Japanese prison after obtaining and reading a Bible. (In April 1942, Col. Jimmy Doolittle led sixteen planes and eighty men in a surprise bombing raid on Japan in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Several of those Americans were captured or killed.) Hite and DeShazer both testified that their miraculous transformation to becoming a Christian is what kept them alive during their intense suffering and brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese.[130]

Mitsuo Fuchida and Jake DeShazer

After the war, DeShazer forgave those who had so abused him, and he and his wife even became missionaries to Japan, serving there for thirty years. Through their ministry, many Japanese became Christians, including two of the prison guards who had tortured him. Perhaps his most visible convert was Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese officer and pilot who led the air attack on Pearl Harbor that began World War II for the Americans. Significantly, DeShazer and Fuchida worked together to start many new churches and help rebuild the nation of Japan.

When Japan finally surrendered, General Douglas MacArthur was placed in charge of occupation, tasked with transforming Japan from a tyrannical nation to a civilized one. (As a reflection of the Japanese barbarity at the time, they had killed over 10 million Chinese and slaughtered countless more from other Pacific nations). MacArthur believed that the introduction of Christianity into Japan was a crucial step for rebuilding that nation, so he called for Christian missionaries and Bibles to be sent. Bibles poured into the country, 5,000 missionaries arrived, and the Bible became a best-seller in Japan.[131]

MacArthur brought transformational reforms in military, political, economic, and social areas. Not only were Japanese war crimes and war criminals punished (as had been done in Germany in the Nuremburg trials), but military Shintoism was abolished, the power of the elite class was broken, and control over the military, politics, land, and business was decentralized. Under American leadership, the people were lifted up, women were elevated, the economy was rebuilt, and the country became democratic. The transformation was so complete that by 1952, Japan was openly accepted back into the world community of nations.

Significantly, MacArthur saw the positive changes in Japan as being a direct result of the positive influences of Christianity. In fact, he openly affirmed:

[N]o phase of the occupation….has left me with a greater sense of personal satisfaction than my spiritual stewardship.[132]

The national motto, “In God We Trust,” above the Speaker’s Rostrum in the US House Chamber.
“In God We Trust”

From the nation’s beginning, the nation’s central theme (and its unofficial motto) had been “In God We Trust.” Variants of that phrase appeared on flags during the American War for Independence[133] as well as in the correspondence of that era.[134] It was part of the state mottos,[135] and the phrase also appeared in the National Anthem,[136] penned in 1814. It was then imprinted on specific coins during the Civil War,[137] and in 1955, “In God We Trust” was added to all of our coins and currency.[138] In 1956, that phrase became the nation’s official national motto when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into federal law.[139] Consistent with the spirit of that motto, official government publications often openly invoked God and Biblical principles.

One such example is the pamphlet “Forest and Flame in the Bible” (pictured below), produced in 1961 by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service as part of a nationwide conservation movement. The Foreword stated:

There are many passages in the Bible that tell how our forests serve us and how we should protect them….The Bible urges us to the protection and wise use of our forests, range, and woodlands….As the Bible foretells, destruction of our natural resources will bring us punishment in the form of loss and misery….In this booklet we selected Biblical passages of great wisdom and beauty. [140]

Some of those verses can be seen in the pages below.


There is so much more that could be shown, but what has been presented in these five lessons clearly demonstrates that throughout America’s four centuries of existence, Christianity and the Bible have exerted a significant positive influence on America’s institutions and culture.The Christian faith was a key force in the birth, growth, and development of the United States, and was also the source of the ideas and principles that produced American Exceptionalism. In the words of the Rev. Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826), an early American educator who wrote one of the first histories of the American War for Independence:

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy.[141]

Across the generations, Americans have understood that a rejection of these principles would lead to the nation’s downfall. As early statesman Daniel Webster warned:

If we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion—if we and they shall live always in the fear of God and shall respect His Commandments—we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country.…But if we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity. [142]

Understanding and applying the Christian principles presented from these lessons on Christian Heritage Week is not just interesting but is also vital for the future well-being of the nation. ■


[1] “Field Listing: Land Use,” Central Intelligence Agency (at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/288.html) (accessed on May 16, 2019).

[2] “Country Comparison: Crude Oil—Proved Reserves,” Central Intelligence Agency (at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2244rank.html) (accessed on May 16, 2019).

[3] “Iron Ore,” U.S. Geological Survey, February 2019 (at: https://prd-wret.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/atoms/files/mcs-2019-feore.pdf).

[4] “The 16 Biggest Uranium Reserves in the World,” world atlas, November 16, 2018 (at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-largest-uranium-reserves-in-the-world.html).

[5] Benjamin Franklin, Two Tracts: Information to Those Who Would Remove to America and Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (London: John Stockdale, 1784), p. 24.

[6] Herbert N. Casson, Cyrus Hall McCormick: His Life and Work (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1909), p. 40.

[7] Herbert N. Casson, Cyrus Hall McCormick: His Life and Work (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1909), pp. 161-162.

[8] Herbert N. Casson, Cyrus Hall McCormick: His Life and Work (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1909), p. 47.

[9] “Invention of the Telegraph,” Library of Congress  (at: https://www.loc.gov/collections/samuel-morse-papers/articles-and-essays/invention-of-the-telegraph/) (accessed on October 25, 2018).

[10] Samuel Irenaeus Prime, The Life of Samuel F.B. Morse, LL.D., Inventor of the Electro-Magnetic Recording Telegraph (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1875), p. 493.

[11] Carleton Mabee, The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), p. 276.

[12] Carleton Mabee, The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), p. 294.

[13] Carleton Mabee, The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), p. 279.

[14] Samuel Morse, Samuel F.B. Morse: His Letters and Journals, Edward Lind Morse, editor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914), Vol. II, pp. 223-224, to Sidney Morse on May 31, 1844.

[15] Samuel Morse, Samuel F.B. Morse: His Letters and Journals, Edward Lind Morse, editor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914), Vol. II, p. 472, speech given in New York, December 30, 1868.

[16] Charles Lee Lewis, Matthew Fontaine Maury: The Pathfinder of the Seas (Annapolis: The United States Naval Institute, 1927), pp. 251-252.

[17] Charles Lee Lewis, Matthew Fontaine Maury: The Pathfinder of the Seas (Annapolis: The United States Naval Institute, 1927), pp. 240a-240b.

[18] A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Diana Fontaine (Maury) Corbin, editor (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1888), p. 178, “Maury’s Address at the Laying of the Corner-stone of the University of the South, on the Sewanee Mountains in East Tennessee, was delivered at the request of Bishop Otey on Nov. 30th, 1860.”

[19] A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Diana Fontaine (Maury) Corbin, editor (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1888), p. 54, from Captain Phinny to Matthew Maury in January 1855.

[20] Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver: An American Biography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., Inc., 1943), pp. 226-227.

[21] Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver: An American Biography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., Inc., 1943), p. 227.

[22] Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver: An American Biography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., Inc., 1943), p. 220.

[23] George Washington Carver, Bless Your Heart (Eden Prairie, MN: Heartland Samplers, Inc., 1990), Vol. 7, p. 12.

[24] Joseph Herbert Appel, The Business Biography of John Wanamaker, Founder and Builder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930), p. 55, account by John Wanamaker, 1919.

[25] Joseph Herbert Appel, The Business Biography of John Wanamaker, Founder and Builder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930), p. 208, address of William Taft at the dedicated of Wanamaker’s Philadelphia store, December 30, 1911.

[26] Joseph H. Appel, The Business Biography of John Wanamaker: Founder and Builder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930), pp. 205-206, address of William Taft at the dedicated of Wanamaker’s Philadelphia store, December 30, 1911.

[27] Joseph Herbert Appel, The Business Biography of John Wanamaker, Founder and Builder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930), p. 208, dedication tablet placed at Wanamaker’s Philadelphia store, December 30, 1911.

[28] Joseph Herbert Appel, The Business Biography of John Wanamaker, Founder and Builder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930), p. 291, John Wanamaker’s address to the press, September 28, 1921.

[29] H.R. Warfel, Noah Webster, Schoolmaster to America (New York: MacMillan Co, 1936). See also reprints of Webster’s works such as William Webster, A Sequel to Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1845), “Webster the Schoolmaster of Our Republic” from Glance at the Metropolis.

[30] Richard M. Rollins, The Long Journey of Noah Webster (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1980), p. 35.

[31] Noah Webster, The American Spelling Book (Boston: 1806), p. 156, “A Moral Catechism.”

[32] Noah Webster, A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects (New York: Webster & Clark, 1843), p. 291, to David McClure on October 25, 1836.

[33] Annals of the Early Settlers Association of Cuyahoga County Ohio (Cleveland: 1895), Vol. III, No. V, p. 126.

[34] Encyclopaedia Britannica (New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1911), Vol. XXVIII, p. 463, s.v. “Webster, Noah,”; and John S. Morgan, Noah Webster (New York: Mason/Charter, 1975), p. 183.

[35] Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828), Vol. II, s.v. “man”

[36] Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828), Vol. I, s.v. “heart.”

[37] Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828), Vol. I, “Author’s Preface.”

[38] Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936), Vol. 19, pp. 594-597, s.v. “Webster, Noah.”

[39] William Webster, A Sequel to Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1845), “Webster the Schoolmaster of Our Republic” from Glance at the Metropolis.

[40] William Webster, A Sequel to Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1845), inside front cover.

[41] See, for example, Benjamin Franklin Crawford, William Holmes McGuffey: The Schoolmaster to Our Nation (Delaware, OH: Carnegie Church Press, 1963); etc.

[42] “McGuffey, William Holmes,” The Columbia Encyclopedia (at: https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/social-sciences-and-law/education-biographies/william-holmes-mcguffey); William H. McGuffey, The First Reader For Young Children (Cincinnati: Truman and Smith, 1983 reprint of original published in 1836), Introduction.

[43] “William Holmes McGuffey and his Readers,” Museum Gazette (National Park Service, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: January 1993) (at: https://www.nps.gov/jeff/learn/historyculture/upload/mcguffey.pdf).

[44] William McGuffey, The Eclectic Fourth Reader (Cincinnati: Truman and Smith, 1838), p. vii, “Preface.”

[45] John H. Westerhoff, McGuffey and His Readers: Piety, Morality, and Education in Nineteenth-Century America (Michigan: Mott Media, 1982), p. 76.

[46] Joe B. Frantz, Gail Borden, Dairyman to a Nation (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951), pp. 164-166. See also Minutes of the Texas State Teachers Association. Eleventh Annual Session (Austin: State Printing Office, 1890), p. 44, address by Dr. Burleson on June 26, 1890.

[47] Joseph Banvard, Daniel Webster, His Life and Public Services (Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1875), pp. 132-133.

[48] Charles Lanman, The Private Life of Daniel Webster (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1852), pp. 100, 103.

[49] Charles Lanman, The Private Life of Daniel Webster (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1852), p. 100.

[50] Joseph Banyard, Daniel Webster, His Life and Public Services (Chicago: Werner Company, 1875), pp. 30-31.

[51] Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 43 U. S. 126 (1844).

[52] Daniel Webster, A Discourse Delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1820. In Commemoration of the First Settlement of New-England (Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1821), p. 90.

[53] James S. Brisbin, The Early Life and Public Career of James A. Garfield (Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros., 1880), pp. 66-67.

[54] See, for example, a handwritten letter from James Garfield dated February 16, 1858 from WallBuilders’ collection (online at: https://wallbuilders.com/james-garfield-letter/).

[55] F.H. Mason, The Life and Public Services of James A. Garfield: Twentieth President of the United States (London: Trubner & Co., 1881), pp. 33-34.

[56] The Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics (Boston: H.O. Houghton and Company, 1877), Vol. XL, pp. 63-64, James Garfield, “A Century of Congress,” July 1877.

[57] Elliot G. Storke and L.P. Brockett, A Complete History of the Great American Rebellion, Embracing Its Causes, Events, and Consequences (Auburn, NY: The Auburn Publishing Company, 1885), Vol. I, p. 667.

[58] Kevin Phillips, The American Presidents: William McKinley, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., editor (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2003), p. 16.

[59] Kevin Phillips, The American Presidents: William McKinley, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., editor (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2003), p. 16.

[60] William McKinley, Speeches and Addresses of William McKinley, From March 1, 1897, to May 30, 1900, (New York: Doubleday & McClure Co., 1900), p. 2, “Inaugural Address, Delivered from East Front of the Capitol, Washington, March 4, 1897.”

[61] Charles Sumner Olcott, The Life of William McKinley (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1916), Vol. 2, p. 368.

[62] Lewis L. Gould, The Presidency of William McKinley (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1980), p. 242.

[63] John W. Tyler, The Life of William McKinley: Soldier, Statesman and President (Philadelphia: P.W. Ziegler & Co., 1901), p. 351, eulogy by Bishop Edward G. Andrews.

[64] Col. G.W. Townsend, Memorial Life of William McKinley, Our Martyred President (D.Z. Howell, 1902), p. 406.

[65] John W. Tyler, The Life of William McKinley: Soldier, Statesman and President (Philadelphia: P.W. Ziegler & Co., 1901), pp. 250-251, 266.

[66] See, for example, these proclamations from WallBuilders’ Collection. Christopher Gore (Governor of Massachusetts), “A Proclamation for a Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer,” printed in the Columbia Centinel (March 7, 1810), issued February 27, 1810, to be observed on April 5, 1810, “that He would advance all means used for propagating true Religion, and promote the pious purposes of those who endeavor to disseminate a Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures—that all may learn his Will and obey His Commandments”; Caleb Strong (Governor of Massachusetts), “A Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving,” printed in the Columbian Centinel (October 4, 1800), issued September 26, 1800 for November 27, 1800, “To promote a spirit of industry, sobriety, and frugality, and the belief and practice of true religion, that we may have the blessedness of the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance”; and numerous others praying for a return to the practice of “true religion.”

[67] J. Gilchrist Lawson, Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians, Gleaned from Their Biographies, Autobiographies, and Writings (Anderson, IN: The Warner Press, 1911), p. 243: “It is estimated that during the year 1857-58 over a hundred thousand persons were led to Christ as the direct or indirect result of Finney’s labors, while five hundred thousand persons professed conversion to Christ in the great revival which began in his meetings.”

[68] Charles Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Leavitt, Lord, and Co., 1835).

[69] Richard Ellsworth Day, Man of Like Passions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1942), pp. 35-37.

[70] Address of the Bible Society Established at Philadelphia to the Public: to which is Subjoined the Constitution of said Society and the Names of the Managers (Philadelphia: Fry and Kammerer, 1809).

[71] The Eighth Report of the Bible Society of Philadelphia; Read Before the Society, May 1, 1816 (Philadelphia: Printed by Order of the Society; Will Fry, 1816), pp. 44-52.

[72] Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936), Vol. 11, s.v. “Lee, Jason.”

[73] Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936), Vol. 20, s.v., “Whitman, Marcus.”

[74] Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936), Vol. 20, s.v., “Whitman, Marcus”; and “Marcus Whitman, Narcissa Whitman,” PBS, 2011 (at: http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/s_z/whitman.htm).

[75] William A. Mowry, Marcus Whitman and the Early Days of Oregon (New York: Silver, Burdett, and Company, 1901), p. 72, quoted from the Chicago Advance, December 1, 1872.

[76] The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, “The Abolition of the Slave Trade: Introduction,” The New York Public Library (at: http://abolition.nypl.org/essays/us_slave_trade/) (accessed on May 22, 2019).

[77] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. I, p. 34, from Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence.

[78] Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1829), Vol. I, p. 16, from his Autobiography.

[79] Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1839), Vol. VIII, p. 42, to the Rev. Dean Woodward on April 10, 1773.

[80] Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the 23rd of April, 1787 (Philadelphia: Joseph James, 1787), p. 8.

[81] “Race and Antebellum New York City: The New York Manumission Society,” New York Historical Society (at: https://www.nyhistory.org/web/africanfreeschool/history/manumission-society.html) (accessed on October 29, 2018); and The Works of Samuel Hopkins (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1854), Vol. II, p. 548, Advertisement page for “A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans.”

[82] Theodore Sedgwick, Jr., A Memoir of the Life of William Livingston (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), p. 400, to the New York Manumission Society on June 26, 1786.

[83] A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes and Sons, 1780), p. 7, Article I, “Declaration of Rights”; and An Abridgement of the Laws of Pennsylvania, Collinson Read, editor, (Philadelphia: 1801), pp. 264-266, Act of March 1, 1780.

[84] The Public Statue Laws of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1808), Book I, pp. 623-625, Act passed in October 1777; and Rhode Island Session Laws (Providence: Wheeler, 1784), pp. 7-8, Act of February 27, 1784.

[85] The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), p. 249, Vermont, 1786, Article I, “Declaration of Rights.”

[86] The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), p. 50, New Hampshire, 1792, Article I, “Bill of Rights.”

[87] Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Session, Second Meeting of the Legislature (Albany: Loring Andrew, 1798), pp. 721-723, Act passed on March 29, 1799.

[88] Laws of the State of New Jersey Compiled and Published Under the Authority of the Legislature, Joseph Bloomfield, editor (Trenton: James J. Wilson, 1811), pp. 103-105, Act passed February 15, 1804.

[89] See, for example, Conor Cruise O’Brien, “Thomas Jefferson: Radical and Racist,” The Atlantic, October 1996 (at: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/10/thomas-jefferson-radical-and-racist/376685/); Stephen E. Ambrose, “Founding Fathers and Slaveholders,” Smithsonian, November 2002 (at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/founding-fathers-and-slaveholders-72262393/); Charles W. Cooke, “No, Bernie, America Was Not Actually Founded ‘on Racist Principles’,” National Review, September 15, 2015 (at: https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/09/bernie-sanders-american-founding-principles-racist/); Bob Eschliman, “Hillary Clinton: The Founding Fathers Were Racist Misogynists,”Charisma News, November 7, 2016 (at: https://www.charismanews.com/politics/elections/61112-hillary-clinton-the-founding-fathers-were-racist-misogynists); and many others.

[90] “One-child policy: Chinese Government Program,” Encyclopedia Britannica (at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/one-child-policy) (accessed on May 22, 2019).

[91] Andrew Levy, The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves (New York: Random House, 2005), 169. See also “Robert Carter III,” Nomini Hall (at: http://nominihallslavelegacy.com/history-of-the-carter-family/robert-carter-iii/) (accessed on May 22, 2019); and “Robert Carter (1728-1804),” Encyclopedia Virginia, 2010 (at: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Carter_Robert_1728-1804).

[92] See, for example, Edward Coles who was a Virginia planter and private secretary to James Madison. In 1819 Coles moved to Illinois and emancipated his slaves. (See Edward Coles, Governor Edward Coles, Clarence Walworth Alvord, editor (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1920), p. 28; W. T. Norton, Edward Coles, Second Governor of Illinois (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1911), pp. 12, 24.)

[93] Mary V. Thompson, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret,” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 1999 (at: https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/slavery/the-only-unavoidable-subject-of-regret/).

[94] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1938), Vol. 28, p. 408, to Robert Morris on April 12, 1786.

[95] Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States of America Begun and Held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the Fourth of March, in the Year 1789 (Harford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1791), pp. 178-179, May 26, 1790.

[96] The Public States at Large of the United States of America, Richard Peters, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1845), Vol. I, pp. 347-349, “An Act to Prohibit the Carrying on the Slave Trade from the United States to any Foreign Place or Country,” March 22, 1794.

[97] Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time: Jefferson the Virginian (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1948), Vol. One, p. 440.

[98] The Public States at Large of the United States of America, Richard Peters, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1850), Vol. II, pp. 426-430, “An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight,” March 2, 1807.

[99] See, for example, Willard Carey MacNaul, The Jefferson-Lemen Compact (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1915), p. 10, Lemen’s records on December 11, 1782 and May, 1784, show Jefferson’s encouragement to Lemen to go to Illinois for anti-slavery purposes, and Lemen’s decision to go.

[100] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, H. A. Washington, editor (New York: Riker, Thorne, & Co., 1855), Vol. VI, p. 378, to Thomas Cooper on September 10, 1814.

[101] Benjamin Rush, Minutes of the Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates from the Abolition Societies Established in Different Parts of the Unites States Assembled at Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, 1794), p. 24.

[102] For representative examples see Patrick Rael, “Racist Principles: Slavery and the Constitution”, We’re History, September 21, 2015 (at: http://werehistory.org/racist-principles/); and Jude Sheerin, BBC News, Washington. August 18, 2017 (at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40978515); and others.

[103] For representative examples see Noah Feldman, “James Madison’s Lessons in Racism,” The New York Times, October 28, 2017 (at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/28/opinion/sunday/james-madison-racism.html); and Andrew Joyce, “The secret racist history of the Electoral College,” Splinter News, November 10, 2016 (at: https://splinternews.com/the-secret-racist-history-of-the-electoral-college-1793863667); and others.

[104] Dictionary of American Negro Biography, s.v. “Douglass, Frederick;” Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), p. 353.

[105] Dictionary of American Negro Biography, s.v. “Douglass, Frederick;” Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), p. 395.

[106] Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), p. 396.

[107] Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), pp. 395-396.

[108] Frederick Douglass, Oration Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester (Rochester: Lee, Mann & Co., 1852), pp. 36-37.

[109] J. P. Dunn, Jr., American Commonwealths: Indiana A Redemption from Slavery (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1888), p. 190.

[110] Daniel Dorchester, Christianity in the United States (New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1895), p. 457.

[111] American Anti-Slavery Society, The Declaration of Sentiments and Constitution of the American Anti-Slavery Society: Together with All Those Parts of the Constitution of the United States which are Supposed to Have Any Relation to Slavery (New York, American Anti-Slavery Society, 1835), p. 6, “Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention, Assembled at Philadelphia,” December 4, 1833.

[112] Levi Coffin, The Reminiscences of Levi Coffin—The Reputed President of the Underground Railroad (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1880), p. 108.

[113] Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio…an Encyclopedia of the State: History Both General and Local, Geography with Descriptions of Its Counties, Cities and Villages, Its Agricultural, Manufacturing, Mining and Business Development, Sketches of Eminent and Interesting Characters, Etc., with Notes of a Tour Over it in 1886. Illustrated by about 700 Engravings. Contrasting the Ohio of 1816 with 1886-90 (Cincinnati: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., 1907) Vol. 2, p. 128.

[114] John Wesley Hill, Abraham Lincoln Man of God (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1922), pp. 50-53, 85, passim.

[115] B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), pp. 683-777.

[116] Charles Sumner, Speech of Hon. Charles Sumner on the Night of the Passage the Kansas and Nebraska Bill (Washington, D.C., Buell & Blanchard, 1854), p. 4.

[117] Michael W. Cluskey, The Political Text-Book, or Encyclopedia: Containing Everything Necessary for the Reference of the Politicians and Statesmen of the United States (Washington: Cornelius Wendell, 1857), p. 373; The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates, Proceedings, and Laws of the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: John C. Rives, 1854), Vol. XXVIII, p. 617, Senator Everett’s presentation of a memorial by “three thousand and fifty clergymen of all denominations and sects in the different states of New England,” March 14, 1854.

[118] Charles Sumner, Speech of Hon. Charles Sumner on the Night of the Passage the Kansas and Nebraska Bill (Washington, D.C., Buell & Blanchard, 1854), p. 5.

[119] Henry J. Raymond, The Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln  (New York: Derby and Miller, 1865), p. 671, Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.

[120] The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (New York: American Bible Society, 1917), note on inner cover by General John J. Pershing.

[121] The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (New York: American Bible Society, 1917), note on inner cover by Woodrow Wilson.

[122] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 35.

[123] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 32.

[124] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 32.

[125] “Conscience Plus Red Hair Are Bad For Germans,” from The Literary Digest, June 14, 1919 (at: http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/text/ww1/sgtyork.html).

[126] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy  (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 15.

[127] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 169.

[128] John Perry, Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1997), p. 230.

[129] Franklin Roosevelt, “State of the Union Address,” The American Presidency Project, January 6, 1942 (at: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/state-the-union-address-1).

[130] Craig Nelson, The First Heroes, the Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid—America’s First World War II Victory (Penguin Book, 2003), pp. 303-305, 342, 347 ff

[131] “Is it a Scandal that Gen. MacArthur Thought Christianity Would Help Japan?” BeliefNet (at: https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/on_the_front_lines_of_the_culture_wars/2011/06/scandal-general-douglas-macarthur-thought-christianity-would-help-japan.html) (accessed on May 24, 2019).

[132] General MacArthur. Speeches and Reports: 1908-1964, Edward T. Imparato, editor (Turner Publishing Company, 2000), p. 222, address given in California on January 26, 1955.

[133] Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, 1776 (Watertown, MA: 1776; reprinted Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1984), Vol. 51, Part III, pp. 196-197, April 29, 1776.

[134] See, for example, Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), Vol. II, p. 393, the Committee of Correspondence of Boston to the Committee of Correspondence of Cambridge, December 29, 1772.

[135] “Florida State Motto,” Florida Department of State (at: https://dos.myflorida.com/florida-facts/florida-state-symbols/state-motto/) (accessed on May 24, 2019). See also “Arizona Facts,” Officer of the Governor (at: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/arizona-facts) (accessed on November 6, 2018); “Ohio’s State Motto,” Ohio History Central (at: http://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio’s_State_Motto?rec=1885) (accessed on November 6, 2018); “South Dakota State Motto,” StateSymbolsUSA (at: https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/south-dakota/state-motto/under-god-people-rule) (accessed on November 6, 2018).

[136] The Analectic Magazine (Philadelphia: Moses Thomas, 1814), Vol. IV, p. 434, “Defence of Fort McHenry.”

[137] The Statutes at Large and Proclamations of the United States of America, George P. Sanger, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1866), Vol. XIII, pp. 54-55, “An Act in Amendment of an Act Entitled ‘An Act Relating to Foreign Coins and the Coinage at the Mint of the United States,’ Approved February Twenty-One, Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-Seven,” April 22, 1864; Vol. XIII, pp. 517-518, “An Act to Authorize the Coinage of Three-Cent Pieces, and for Other Purposes,” March 3, 1865, Sec. 5; (1873), Vol. XVII, p. 427, “An Act Raising and Amending the Laws Relative to the Mints, Assay Offices, and Coinage of the United States,” February 12, 1873, Sec. 18; see current 31 USC §5112(d)(1)(2000) (at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5112).

[138] Law passed on July 11, 1955; 31 U.S.C. §5114(b) (at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/pdf/uscode31/lii_usc_TI_31_CH_51_SC_II_SE_5114.pdf).

[139] Law passed on July 30, 1956; 36 U.S.C. §302 (at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36/302).

[140] Forest and Flame in the Bible (Washington DC: US Departure of Agriculture, 1964), p. 3.

[141] 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 (Charlestown: Hudson and Goodwin, 1799), p. 9.

[142] Daniel Webster, An Address Delivered before the New York Historical Society, February 23, 1852 (New York, Press of the Historical Society, 1852), p. 47.

Lesson 4: American Founding and Federal Era (1785-early 1800s)

Lesson 4: American Founding and Federal Era (1785-early 1800s)

Words such as “virtue,” “piety” and “learning” are emphasized in the writings of our Founding Fathers and therefore appear in many of our governmental documents. In fact, when modern political scientists examined seventy-six of the most representative pamphlets and essays written by our Founders, they found the word “virtue” stressed over 300 times.[1] Additionally, various synonyms meaning the same thing (such as “religion,” “morality,” and “knowledge”) also frequently appear in official writings (such as in the famous Northwest Ordinance, by which territories become states). [2] Significantly, to our Founders, “religion” meant Christianity; “morality” or “virtue” meant Biblical character; and “knowledge” meant information or skills acquired within the framework of a Biblical worldview.

The Founders consistently emphasized the elements of religion and morality (or piety and virtue) as the indispensable foundation and supports of our American system of government. They believed that if these pillars were lost, then our nation would eventually collapse. Notice some of their representative declarations affirming this:

[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. [3] [R]eligion and virtue are the only foundations…of republicanism and of all free governments. [4] Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. [5] John Adams, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

Samuel Adams

[R]eligion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness. [6] While the people are virtuous, 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. [7] Samuel Adams, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

[A] free government….can only be happy when the public principles and opinions are properly directed….by religion and education. It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality. [8] Abraham Baldwin, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

Charles Carroll

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion (whose morality is so sublime and pure)… are undermining the solid foundation of morals– the best security for the duration of free governments. [9] Charles Carroll, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement….Manners, by which not only the freedom but the very existence of the republics are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions of religion. [10] John Hancock, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

[T]he great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. [11] Patrick Henry

[F]or avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy…the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people.[12]I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. [13] [T]herefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God. [14] Gouverneur Morris, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

Religion and morality…[are] necessary to good government, good order, and good laws. [15] William Paterson, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

Benjamin Rush

Without [religion] there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. [16] Benjamin Rush, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

George Washington

The practice of morality being necessary for the well-being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. [17] [T]he studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make [us] better citizens. [18] Thomas Jefferson,SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

Purity of morals [is] the only sure foundation of public happiness in any country. [19] [R]eligion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society. [20] George Washington, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

[T]he primary objects of government are the peace, order, and prosperity of society….To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential. Institutions for the promotion of good morals are therefore objects of legislative provision and support, and among these…religious institutions are eminently useful and important. [21] Oliver Ellsworth, DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT

[G]overnment…is a firm compact sanctified from violation by all the ties of personal honor, morality, and religion. [22] Fisher Ames, FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS

[T]he cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness…inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric. [23] Moral habits…cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits….Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. [24] Daniel Webster, “DEFENDER OF THE CONSTITUTION”

Noah Webster

Republican government loses half of its value where the moral and social duties are…negligently practiced. To exterminate our popular vices is a work of far more importance to the character and happiness of our citizens, than any other improvements in our system of education. [25] [T]he moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws….All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. [26] Noah Webster, “SCHOOLMASTER TO AMERICA”

There are many additional examples affirming the Founders’ belief that Biblical morality and Biblical faith were vital for the proper operation of both society and civil government. But the Founders did more than just hold these convictions, they also acted on them. This is apparent in the very first governments they created.

Significantly, America’s separation from Great Britain had wiped out all state and colonial governments, for each had been British authorized and operated. New purely American governments were needed, so many of the Founders who signed the Declaration returned home to assist in drafting their state’s first constitution and establishing its new government. They took deliberate steps to ensure that both Biblical religion and morality were directly incorporated into government from the beginning.

For example, Declaration signers George Read and Thomas McKean helped draft [27] Delaware’s 1776 constitution, which required:

Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust…shall…make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: “I, _________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and the Holy Ghost, one God – blessed forevermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.” [28]

Massachusetts’ 1780 constitution (written with the help of Declaration signers Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, and John Adams, [29] as well as Constitution signer Nathaniel Gorham [30]) similarly required:

Any person chosen governor, lieutenant-governor, counselor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall—before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office – make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. “I, ___________, do declare, that I believe the Christian religion and have a firm persuasion of its truth.” [31]

Declaration signers Benjamin Franklin and James Smith of Pennsylvania helped write its 1776 Constitution, [32] which likewise stipulated:

And each member [of the legislature] before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: “I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the universe, the Rewarder of the good, and the Punisher of the wicked; and I acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by Divine inspiration.” [33]

Other constitutions contained similar clauses. [34] The Christian spirit undergirding America was so readily apparent even to the British that in England…

Sir Richard Sutton read a copy of a letter…from a governor in America to the Board of Trade showing that….”If you ask an American, ‘Who is his master?’ he will tell you he has none—nor any governor but Jesus Christ.” [35]

Another reflection of the Founder’s insistence that Biblical principles be part of public affairs is seen in the fact that all the states had Sabbath laws, requiring rest and abstinence from work on that day. In some cases, these laws continued for centuries; in fact, even today some states still use parts of those Sabbath laws.

Across the years, there were attempts to secularize the government and repeal these Sabbath laws and (until recent years) those efforts were largely rejected. For example, in 1838, the Legislature of New York received a petition seeking “the repeal of the laws for the observance of the Sabbath.”[36] They refused that call in a nearly unanimous vote, explaining:

With us it is wisely ordered that no one religion shall be established by law but that all persons shall be left free in their choice and in their mode of worship. Still, this is a Christian nation. Ninety-nine hundredths, if not a larger proportion of our whole population, believe in the general doctrines of the Christian religion. Our government depends for its being on the virtue of the people—on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion and that religion is the common and prevailing faith of the people. There are, it is true, exceptions to this belief; but general laws are not made for excepted cases. [37]

The Articles of Confederation 
George Washington, President of the Constitutional Convention, declared of the Convention, “The event is in the hands of God.”

Just as the Founders created new state governments after their separation from Great Britain, so, too, they also created a national government. In 1777, they penned the Articles of Confederation, under which Congress governed itself throughout the remainder of the War for American Independence. But their experience over that time demonstrated that it had three major weaknesses:

  1. Congress had no power to raise the money needed to fund its appropriate activities, such as national defense and operating the Continental Army.
  2. Congress had no power to enforce any of its decisions.
  3. There was no clear national leader—that is, no single executive head. Congress, as a body, had been the governing entity, but it was bulky, slow, and inefficient when it came to making important and timely decisions.

These flaws caused the government to be weak and inept, resulting in almost fatal problems. For example, because of these shortcomings, many times during the war the army lacked supplies and received no pay, which not only contributed to the suffering of the troops in places such as Valley Forge in 1777 but also caused some officers and men to threaten a military coup in 1783. It was evident that something must be done to correct these glaring weaknesses. Some proposed amending the Articles of Confederation; others, including James Madison, George Washington, and Noah Webster, felt that an entirely new system was needed.

The Constitutional Convention, 1787

In an attempt to solve the problems in the national government, in the spring of 1787 delegates from across the country met together at the State House in Philadelphia (also known as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed). Most came prepared to keep (but amend) the Articles of Confederation; but the Virginia delegates proposed an entirely new and different governing document. The initial reaction by the other delegates was hesitancy and doubt, believing any dramatic change would be opposed by the people and would fail; they felt that half-measures would be far more acceptable.

George Washington (who had been chosen by the other delegates to preside over this assembly) then arose and addressed the Convention in a brief but immortal speech. He agreed that it was indeed “probable that no plan we propose will be adopted,” but warned that if this occurred, then it was entirely possible that we would have to endure another dreadful war. [38] He therefore challenged the delegates to be bold, telling them, “If—to please the people—we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work?”[39] He concluded by urging the delegates to “raise a standard” of the best government they could possibly devise, no matter how much change it required, and then trust in the fact that “The event is in the hands of God.”[40] They accepted his challenge, but their way forward was neither easy nor smooth.

In fact, after only a few weeks of deliberations, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of collapsing. For more than a month the delegates had been deadlocked on different issues, such as that of fair representation between the small and large states. With this impasse, and no forward progress, patience was wearing thin and emotions were on edge. A somber George Washington began to despair of seeing success.

At this point, Benjamin Franklin, the oldest delegate (he was then 81-years-old at a time when the average lifespan in America was only about thirty-three [41]), asked for permission to speak. On previous occasions, he had always written his remarks and had someone else read them to the Convention, but this time Franklin was stirred to personally address the delegates, telling them:

Benjamin Franklin

In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor….And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel…and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages.I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of the city be requested to officiate in that service. [42]

Most modern observers, even critics, would certainly concede that these eleven sentences spoken by Franklin carry a general religious overtone, but they likely would not admit much more. However, there is much more. Unrealized by most today is that in those eleven sentences, Franklin had specifically referenced or quoted by memory eight different Bible phrases that appear in thirteen different Bible verses:

  1. “groping in the dark” (Job 12:25)
  2. “the Father of Lights” (James 1:17)
  3. “illuminate our understanding” (James 1:5)
  4. “a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice” (Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:6)
  5. “can an empire rise without His aid” (Daniel 4:17, Psalm 75:7)
  6. “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1)
  7. “the builders of Babel” (Genesis 11:1-9)
  8. “a reproach and a byword” (Deuteronomy 28:37, 2 Chronicles 7:20, 1 Kings 9:7, Psalm 44:14)

Many Americans now know so little of the Bible that they no longer recognize these Bible references and phrases. In fact, unless speakers today announce they are citing a specific Bible verse, people listening usually don’t recognize Bible quotations or references. But in the Founders’ day, they didn’t need to call attention to which Bible verses they were quoting, for nearly all Americans had learned to read from the Bible and studied it in school and therefore knew and recognized its phrases.

Roger Sherman of Connecticut seconded Franklin’s motion for prayer, but then Hugh Williamson of North Carolina pointed out that they had no funds to pay the salary of a full-time chaplain. [43] Edmund Randolph of Virginia then proposed “that a sermon be preached, at the request of the Convention, on the Fourth of July, the anniversary of Independence” and that “thenceforward prayers to be read in the Convention every morning.”[44]

The Constitutional Convention therefore recessed for three days, attended church, and listened to patriotic orations. [45] They gathered at the Calvinist Reformed Church in Philadelphia, and the Rev. William Rogers prayed a special prayer over them:

[W]e fervently recommend to Thy fatherly notice…our Federal Convention….[F]avor them from day to day with Thy immediate presence; be Thou their wisdom and their strength! Enable them to devise such measures as may prove happily instrumental for healing all divisions and promoting the good of the great whole…that the United States of America may furnish the world with one example of a free and permanent government….May we….continue, under the influence of republican virtue, to partake of all the blessings of cultivated and civilized society. [46]

Calvin Coolidge

After those three days off, with attending church, listening to orations, and having special prayer, there was an apparent change in atmosphere: the delegates slowly began making progress and were gradually able to reach a solution on major problematic issues. This resulted in the best form of government ever devised by man, and the US Constitution has proven to be the most valuable and stable civil document in history. [47]

As President Calvin Coolidge affirmed, “no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. The good it has wrought can never be measured.”[48] He correctly concluded that “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”[49] The finished Constitution was signed by thirty-nine delegates on September 17, 1787 (which is why September 17 is annually celebrated nationally as “Constitution Day”), and then sent to the states for approval. The ratification debates in several of the state conventions were heated, and in many states the votes were close.

Significantly, some forty-four clergy from various denominations had been elected by their states as delegates to the state ratification conventions, [50] and in states such as Connecticut, North Carolina, and Massachusetts, the ratification conventions for the Constitution were actually held in churches. [51] Many of those clergy delegates (especially in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New Hampshire) played key roles in securing approval for the Constitution.

For example, twenty clergy in Massachusetts served in that state’s convention, and their support was crucial since the Constitution was ratified in that state by a margin of only nineteen votes (187 to 168). Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts (one of George Washington’s most trusted generals during the final campaigns of the War for Independence) reported to his former Commander-in-Chief: “It is very fortunate for us that the clergy are pretty generally with us.”[52]

In South Carolina, celebration broke out after the successful ratification vote was announced. When order was restored, elder statesman Christopher Gadsden addressed the convention. Acknowledging his advanced age, he said that he would probably not live long enough to see the happy results of the final adoption of the Constitution by the entire nation, but for his own part, he declared: “I shall say with good old Simeon [when he saw the Christ child brought into the Temple] ‘Lord, now let Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen the salvation of my country [Luke 2:29]’”[53]

He believed the new Constitution would be a significant force for good in the nation, and was grateful to have lived long enough to see it approved before he died.

Despite sometimes vigorous debates, state after state continued approving the Constitution. New Hampshire became key; if it ratified, it would be the ninth state to do so, which meant that the necessary threshold had been reached for the Constitution to officially become the new governing document for America. Just prior to that vote, George Washington told American hero Marquis de Lafayette:

Should everything proceed with harmony and consent according to our actual wishes and expectations, it will be so much beyond anything we had a right to imagine or expect eighteen months ago that it will, as visibly as any possible event in the course of human affairs, demonstrate the finger of Providence. [54]

The Constitution was indeed ratified by New Hampshire; and all of the remaining states also eventually approved it.

Significantly, numerous Framers of the Constitution openly avowed that the final document reflected God’s hand and providence. For example, signer William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut declared that the finished Constitution was the result of “a signal [obvious]intervention of Divine providence.”[55]

Alexander Hamilton similarly affirmed:

For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests. [56]

James Madison

James Madison agreed, and reported:

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution. [57]

According to these delegates (and others), the finger of God—that is, His Divine power (specifically referenced in Bible passages such as Exodus 8:19, Exodus 31:18, Deuteronomy 9:10, Luke 11:20)—had guided their writing of the Constitution. Benjamin Franklin certainly believed this to be the case, explaining:

[I] beg I may not be understood to infer that our general Convention was Divinely inspired when it formed the new federal Constitution…[yet] I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing (and to exist in the posterity of a great nation) should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler in Whom all inferior spirits “live and move and have their being” [Acts 17:28]. [58]

George Washington (president of the Convention) similarly attested:

As to my sentiments with respect to the merits of the new Constitution…It appears to me then little short of a miracle that the delegates from so many different states…should unite in forming a system of national government. [59]

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration from Philadelphia (and a ratifier of the Constitution), closely monitored the proceedings and openly testified:

I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of [Divine] inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the states in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of a Divine power. [60]

Clearly, many of the Founding Fathers involved with writing and approving the US Constitution believed that God had been a direct force in its creation.

The US Constitution

Sadly, despite the abundant historical evidence, numerous modern jurists, academics, and others today wrongly claim the US Constitution is a Godless document. In fact, in the book Godless Constitution, two professors firmly assert the Constitution was completely secular and not influenced by religious principles.On what authoritative historical sources do those professors rely to prove this errant claim? Significantly, in their “Note on Sources” at the end of the book, they candidly admit: “we have dispensed with the usual scholarly apparatus of footnotes.”[61]

There are no footnotes—they use no original historical documentation to prove their “historical” claims. What a startling admission, but this is reflective of what often occurs in far too much of academia and media today.

For several reasons, the truth is actually the opposite of what they claim.

First, many of the specific ideas presented in the Constitution were developed from the Christian culture of the preceding two centuries. This is confirmed by the extensive work of political scientists who embarked on an ambitious ten-year project to analyze writings from the Founding Era (1760-1805) with the goal of isolating and identifying the specific political authorities quoted during in those writings. If the sources of the specific quotes in those writings could be identified, then the origin of the Founders’ political ideas could be documented.

Selecting some 15,000 representative writings, the researchers isolated 3,154 direct quotations, and then documented the origin of those quotations. [62]

Their research revealed the single most cited authority in the writings of the Founding Era was the Bible: thirty-four percent of the documented quotes were taken from the Bible—a percentage almost four times higher than the second most-quoted source. [63]

A second proof that the Constitution is not secular or Godless is that it was deliberately designed to be utilized alongside the Declaration of Independence—a document that explicitly refers to God multiple times. The Declaration is the foundation upon which first our nation and then our Constitution were built, and the Declaration and the Constitution were intended to be used side-by-side—hand-in-hand; one will not work properly if separated from the other. As the US Supreme Court attested (1897):

[T]he latter [Constitution] is but the body and the letter of which the former [Declaration of Independence] is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. [64]

This reality was also affirmed by John Quincy Adams in his famous oration, “The Jubilee [that is, the fiftieth anniversary] of the Constitution,” in which he explained:

John Quincy Adams

[T]he virtue which had been infused into the Constitution of the United States…was no other than the concretion of those abstract principles which had been first proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence….This was the platform upon which the Constitution of the United States had been erected. Its virtues, its republican character, consisted in its conformity to the principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and as its administration…[and] was to depend upon the…virtue, or in other words, of those principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution of the United States. [65]

From the beginning, the interdependent relationship between these two documents was clear: together, both of them form our founding charter; and the entire framework of our government as expressed in both documents is built upon the Christian idea of man and government.

A third proof that the Constitution is not a Godless secular document is found in its internal content. Several of its specific clauses actually incorporate specifically recognizable Biblical provisions and rhetoric. Here are a few examples.

Sundays Excepted

The Constitution recognizes and sets apart Sunday from governmental work. Article II of the Constitution stipulates that when Congress passes a bill, for that bill to become law the president has ten days to sign it—not counting Sundays, or as the Constitution says, “Sundays excepted.”

Significantly, Christianity is the only major religion in the world that has a Sunday Sabbath. As the Supreme Court of California observed (1858), the Sabbaths observed by various religions included “the Friday of the Mohammedan, the Saturday of the Israelite, or the Sunday of the Christian.”[66] The South Carolina Supreme Court (1846) similarly noted the fact that the US Constitution officially recognized and set apart the Christian Sabbath:

Christianity is a part of the common law of the land, with liberty of conscience to all. It has always been so recognized….The US Constitution allows it as a part of the common law. The President is allowed ten days [to sign a bill], with the exception of Sunday. The Legislature does not sit; public offices are closed; and the government recognizes the day in all things….The observance of Sunday is one of the usages of the common law recognized by our US and state governments….Christianity is part and parcel of the common law. [67]

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary similarly commented (in 1853) on this constitutional provision, reaching the same obvious conclusion:

In the law, Sunday is a “dies non” [a day on which no legal business can be conducted]. It cannot be used for the services of legal process, the return of writs, or other judicial purposes. The executive department, the public establishments—are all closed on Sundays; on that day neither House of Congress sits….Here is a recognition by law and by universal usage not only of a Sabbath but of the Christian Sabbath, in exclusion of the Jewish or Mahammedan Sabbath….The recognition of the Christian Sabbath [by the Constitution] is complete and perfect. [68]

For decades, the specific recognition of the Christian Sabbath in the Constitution was cited by state and federal courts as proof of the Christian nature of our Constitution (and many other governing documents contain the same recognition of the Christian Sabbath).


The five oath-taking clauses in the Constitution also demonstrate its religious nature, for the Founders universally affirmed oath-taking to be a singularly religious activity. For example, James Madison called an oath “the strongest of religious ties”[69]; John Adams said oaths were sacred obligations”[70]; Declaration signer John Witherspoon said taking an oath “indeed is an act of worship[71]; Declaration signer Oliver Wolcott said that an oath “is a direct appeal to…God[72]; US Supreme Court Justice James Iredell said it was a “solemn appeal to the Supreme Being[73]; and George Washington warned to never let oath-taking become a secular activity.a href=”#_edn74″ name=”_ednref74″>[74] For the Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution, the oath-taking clauses were overtly religious.

Rufus King

In fact, Constitution signer Rufus King declared that oaths were a “principle which is proclaimed in the Christian system.”[75] Consider how this is “principle” from the “Christian system” is reflected in our American oath-taking process even today.

Traditionally, in taking an oath an individual raises their right hand, places the other on the Bible, takes the oath, and concludes with “So help me God.” Notice how the elements in this sequence directly parallels specific verses in the Bible.

For example, in Genesis 26:2-3, God told Isaac “I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father”—so God Himself swore an oath. Concerning the oath, God declared: “i raised my hand in an oath. . .” (Ezekiel 20:15, 23; 36:7; Psalm 106:26). The Scripture further tells us that “The Lord has sworn by His right hand” (Isaiah 62:8). And when God’s people were instructed about how to take an oath, they were told: “You shall . . . take oaths in his name” (Deuteronomy 10:20), which is what we do today when we use the phrase “So help me God.”

Clearly, the oath-taking clauses of the Constitution reflect specific Biblical practices.

Attestation Clause

The Constitution declares in Article VII that it was written “in the year of our Lord” 1787. Most legal documents of that day gave only the year; a few added “in the year of the Lord”; but the drafters of the Constitution personalized that phrase, making it “in the year of our Lord.” Our Founders deliberately dated the Constitution in a way that recognized the birth of Christ.

Other Clauses

Notice the extremely close parallels between the explicit wording of the Bible and the almost identical wording of that unique thought or idea in the Constitution. For instance:

The Natural-Born Citizen Presidential Requirement 
  • Concerning the selection of a national executive leader, the Bible says “One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother” (Deuteronomy 17:15, ESV). The national leader cannot be an immigrant but must be native-born.
  • Reflecting this same requirement, the Constitution stipulates: “No person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President” (Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5). The Constitution allows a US Senator or Representative to be an immigrant, but it requires that the national leader—the President—must be native-born (or as the Bible specified, “one from among your brethren” who is “not a foreigner”).
Capital Punishment 
  • Concerning the death penalty, the Bible says: “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Deuteronomy 17:6, NKJV)
  • Concerning treason (a death penalty offense specifically named in the Constitution), the Constitution likewise requires: “No person shall be convicted of treason [and put to death], unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act” (Article, Section 3, Paragraph 3).
  • The Bible says: “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20, NKJV). The family is not to be punished for the wrongdoing of a single member of the family.
  • Attainder (common in European governments at the time) punishes an entire family for the wrongdoing of one member of the family. For example, if one person in the family commits treason, then the bloodline of the entire family becomes “corrupt” and for generations thereafter no member of the family can own property or enjoy other rights. But the Constitution, echoing the Bible’s teaching, says: “No attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attained” (Art. III, Sec. 3, Clause 2).

And notice also the three branches of government—the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive—is set forth in Isaiah 33:22 (“The Lord is our judge [the judicial] , the Lord is our lawgiver [the legislative] , the Lord is our king [the executive]). And the type of tax exemptions the Founders gave to churches (tax exemptions that still exist today) is found in Ezra 7:24: “You have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.”

And the mandate of republicanism set forth in the Constitution in Art. IV, Sec. 4 (that is, of selecting our leaders at the local, county, state, and federal levels) has its origins in Exodus 18:21(“select capable men from all the people…as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens”) and also Deuteronomy 1:13. In fact, Noah Webster (the Founder personally responsible for Art. I, Sec 8, ¶8 of the Constitution) specifically cites Exodus 18:21, [76] as do Declaration signers John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush. [77]

Further demonstrating the Constitution’s reliance on and incorporation of Biblical precepts, on multiple occasions John Adams directly affirmed that the principle undergirding the constitutional separation of powers was specifically taken from the Bible is teaching in Jeremiah 17:9. Adams explained:

John Adams

To expect self-denial from men when they have a majority in their favor (and consequently power to gratify themselves) is to disbelieve all history and universal experience—it is to disbelieve [Divine] Revelation and the Word of God, which informs us, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” [Jeremiah 17:9]….There is no man so blind as not to see that to talk of founding a government upon a supposition that nations and great bodies of men, left to themselves, will practice a course of self-denial is either to babble like a new-born infant, or to deceive like an unprincipled impostor.[78]

To understand Adams’ reference to Jeremiah 17:9, recall that the Founders largely viewed man from a Christian perspective. As such, they believed in what Christian theologians call “the depravity of man.” This meant that man is in a fallen state; consequently, doing the wrong thing comes naturally to him—unless he has chosen to live by God’s principles and the uplifting standards of the Bible. Because of man’s sinful proclivity to do what is wrong, it was not likely that governments formed by men will automatically be inherently good and always serve the people. In fact, the record of countless governments across history repeatedly proves just the opposite—that nearly all governments which do not have internal safeguards and restraints that account for the inherent “depravity of man” will eventually become corrupt, selfish, oppressive, and tyrannical.

The Founders believed that the branches of government therefore needed to be separated from, and able to check and balance each other so that perhaps all might not go wicked at the same time. Thus, if the Judiciary became selfish and corrupt, then perhaps the Legislative and Executive could negate that influence; and the same was true with the other branches. So, using their Biblical understanding of the general fallen nature of man, the Founders were careful to construct a form of government that would not entrust any man or branch with too much power, knowing that sinful man tends to abuse that power.

Not only did John Adams cite Jeremiah 17:9 (on multiple occasions) to explain separation of powers, but the same point was similarly made by signers of the Constitution George Washington [79] and Alexander Hamilton. [80] And James Madison, affirming the same Biblical view of the fallen and sinful nature of man, in Federalist 51 affirmed:

What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige it to control itself.[81]

The Preamble to the Constitution

Significantly, the Preamble (that is, the introduction) to the Constitution set the tone for the limited nature of that document. It identifies five basic functions of civil government, and each reflects Biblical precepts. Those five enumerated purposes of America’s federal government are to:

  1. Establish justice.” Dozens of Bible verses specifically address this as being a proper and primary object of government. For example:
  • Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Execute true justice.” (Zechariah 7:9)
  • All His ways are justice—a God of truth and without injustice. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne. (Psalm 89:14)

Government must administer God’s justice.

  1. “Insure domestic tranquility.” In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, the Bible urges Christians to pray for civil rulers “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity.” God wants His people to seek and enjoy, and the government to produce domestic tranquility.
  2. Provide for the common defense.” In Romans 13:4, the Bible affirms that civil government “does not bear the sword in vain.” The “sword” is a military weapon, and even Jesus Christ taught His disciples the legitimacy of being armed, telling them in Luke 22:36, “Now…let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.” Protecting innocent human life is a primary purpose of government (cf. Romans 13:1-5 and 1 Peter 2:13-14), and to fulfill this purpose, governments organize armies to protect citizens from international threats, and establish police forces to protect citizens from domestic threats.
  3. “Promote the general welfare.” Romans 13:4 says that civil leaders are to be servants “to you for good”—they are to serve and seek the common good of all classes of citizens. God wants government to reflect equality in the same way He does; after all, God uses the same standards for all (see Matthew 5:45), and all were created equal by and before God. As the Bible affirms:
  • Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? (Malachi 2:10)
  • God does not show favoritism. (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11)
  • For the Lord your God…shows no partiality. (Deuteronomy 10:17)

By the way, notice that the Preamble says that government is to promote the general welfare,” not provide for the general welfare.” Numerous Scriptures make clear that needy individuals are to be cared for by private acts of charity from individuals, churches, and families, but not from government. The Framers of our government frequently reiterated the same point about promoting welfare.[82]

  1. The fifth purpose of American government set forth in the preamble is to “Secure the blessings of liberty.” “Blessings” means “God’s favor and protection” and liberty is one of God’s blessings for all the people.
  • Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. (Leviticus 25:10)
  • Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  • You have been called unto liberty. (Galatians 5:13)
The US Constitution contains many Biblical ideas and principles.

Significantly, the most basic of our Creator-endowed blessings are identified in the Declaration of Independence as well as in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution as “life, liberty, [and] private property.” Just as God is the source of liberty, the Scriptures also identify Him as the source of life (Genesis 1:27, “And God created man…” and Acts 17:28 “In Him we live, move, and have our being”). God is also the source of private property (Ecclesiastes 5:19 states, “For every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them…and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God”; and 1 Chronicles 29:12, likewise affirms: “Both riches and honor come from Thee.”)

The purpose for which American government exists and the Constitution was written is set forth in the five clauses of the Preamble, and all five are firmly rooted in Bible teachings.

The First Inauguration, 1789
Washington took the Presidential oath of office with his hand on the Bible.

By June 1788, the Constitution had been ratified. Electors from the states then unanimously chose George Washington as the first president. He was the only president in US history to be elected with no opposition.[83]

Constitutional experts abounded at that first presidential inauguration in March 1789. Not only did George Washington help create the Constitution that was now to govern the nation but one fourth of the members of the Congress that organized and directed his inauguration had been delegates with him in writing that Constitution.[84]

Furthermore, this very same Congress also penned the First Amendment to the Constitution with its religion clauses. Clearly, therefore, this Congress definitely knew what was and was not constitutional; so the religious activities that were part of the first inauguration may well be said to have had the approval of the greatest congressional collection of constitutional experts America has ever known.

That inauguration occurred in New York City, which served as the nation’s capital during the first year of the new federal government. The preparations had been extensive; everything had been well planned; and religious activities abounded.

The newspapers reported on the very first activity of the inauguration:

[O]n the morning of the day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the Most High. An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion and…is designed wholly for prayer. [85]

As the parade carrying Washington by horse-drawn carriage to the swearing-in was nearing Federal Hall, it was realized that no Bible had been obtained for administering the oath, and New York state law required that a Bible be part of the ceremony.[86] Parade Marshal Jacob Morton therefore hurried off and soon returned with a large 1767 Bible.

The inauguration ceremony was conducted on the balcony at Federal Hall; and with a huge crowd gathered below watching the proceedings, the Bible was laid upon a crimson velvet cushion and the oath of office was administered. The Bible was opened (at random) to Genesis 49;[87] Washington placed his left hand upon the open Bible, raised his right, took the oath of office, then bent over and reverently kissed the Bible.[88] Washington and the other officials then departed the balcony and went inside Federal Hall to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered his Inaugural Address.

In that first-ever presidential speech, Washington opened with his own heartfelt prayer. [89] He then called on his listeners to remember and acknowledge God.[90] Finishing his address, Washington offered his closing prayer.[91]

Moving on to the next inaugural activity, the Senate directed:

That after the oath shall have been administered to the President, he—attended by the Vice-President and members of the Senate and House of Representatives—proceed to St. Paul’s Chapel to hear Divine service.[92]

The House approved the same resolution, [93] so the president and Congress thus went en masse to church as an official body. As affirmed by congressional records:

The President, the Vice-President, the Senate, and House of Representatives, &c., then proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel, where Divine Service was performed by the chaplain of Congress.[94]

There were thus at least seven distinctly religious activities included in this first presidential inauguration, and those activities have been repeated in whole or part in every inauguration since: (1) the use of the Bible to administer the oath; (2) solemnifying the oath with multiple religious expressions (placing a hand on the Bible, saying “So help me God,” and then kissing the Bible); (3) prayers offered by the president himself; (4) religious content in the inaugural address; (5) the president calling on the people to pray or acknowledge God; (6) church inaugural worship services; and (7) clergy-led prayers.

Christianity and the Congress

The Continental Congress had passed an important act known as “The Northwest Ordinance.” President Washington and Congress passed a federal law to ensure that this Ordinance would be in effect under the new Constitution.[95]

It is so important that even today, it is still considered one of the four organic, or fundamental American laws on which all others are to be based.[96] It not only declared that “civil and religious liberty…form the basis whereon these republics, their laws, and constitutions are erected,”[97] but it was also the first federal law to address education. Article III of that national law directly linked religion and public education together, declaring:

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. [98]

(Across history, numerous state constitutions, complying with this provision, likewise declared that religion, morality, and knowledge were to be part of public education, and many state constitutions today still retain this requirement.[99])

Some six weeks later on September 25, 1789, Congress finished framing the Bill of Rights (the first Ten Amendments, setting forth the God-given inalienable rights that belong to every individual). The Bill of Rights was the Capstone of the Constitution. Significantly, 165 years later, US Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren declared:

I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people….I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country. [100]

On that notable day in 1789 on which the Bill of Rights was completed, the Journals of Congress record that:

Ten of the twelve originally proposed amendments to the Constitution were ratified by the states, and those then are now known as the Bill of Rights.

Mr. [Roger] Sherman [the only Founding Father to sign all four founding documents] justified the practice of thanksgiving on any signal [important] event not only as a laudable one in itself but as warranted by precedents in Holy Writ [i.e., the Scriptures]: for instance, the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of Solomon after the building of the temple was a case in point [1 Kings 8, 2 Chronicles 5-7]. This example he thought worthy of Christian imitation on the present occasion. [101]

Congress therefore unanimously requested that President Washington issue a proclamation for the people of the United States to thank Almighty God for the “opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”[102] Washington happily complied with that request, affirming that it is “the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”[103]

Notice that George Washington said nations—not just individuals, but nations—have four distinct duties: (1) to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, (2) to obey His will, (3) to be grateful for His benefits, and (4) humbly to implore His protection and favor. Our Congress and our presidents have fulfilled this duty hundreds of times in our nation’s history.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights passed by the Congress) is misunderstood by many people today, including numerous courts. Concerning religion, the Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Many today claim that this Amendment mandates a “separation of church and state,” which to them means that government can have nothing to do with religion in general, or Christianity in particular. But our Founders wrote this clause only to ensure that Congress could not establish a national church, or give official preference to a particular religious denomination, as had been the centuries-long practice for many European governments at that time.

The Founders considered the idea of separating God from government, or making government purely secular, a ridiculous notion. They repeatedly affirmed that God was Supreme over all earthly governments; to them, any attempt to separate government from Godly principles would mean the death of the nation. As George Washington openly reminded Americans:

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. [104]

According to Washington, anyone who sought to remove religion or morality from government could not be considered a patriot—he was not a friend to or supporter of America. Founding Father John Witherspoon likewise declared:

[H]e is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every king. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country. [105]

The Founders were adamantly opposed to any notion of a secular society or a Godless public square.

The proper view of the meaning of the First Amendment was accurately set forth by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (called a “Father of American Jurisprudence,” placed on the Court by President James Madison). Story authored the famous Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833), considered one of the most respected American legal works. Concerning the First Amendment, he explained:

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….An 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….The real object of the [First] Amendment was not to countenance [approve], much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government [i.e., establish an official national church or denomination, such as Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, or any other].[106]

Justice Story further explained:

In some of the states, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect [denomination]; in others, Presbyterians; in other, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects [denominations]. It was impossible that there should not arise perpetual strife and jealousy…if the national government were left free to create a [national] religious establishment….Thus the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments.[107]

Significantly, even Thomas Jefferson (the man often credited today with being the originator of the phrase “separation of church and state”) adamantly opposed the concept of a secular nation, or Godless public square. In fact, he frequently introduced religious activities directly into the public arena.

For example, in 1774 while serving in the Virginia state legislature, he introduced a resolution for a colony-wide day of fasting and prayer. And in 1779 as governor of Virginia, he issued a proclamation calling for a statewide day of prayer and thanksgiving.[108]

In 1789, he began serving in the federal government as Secretary of State for President George Washington where he was placed in charge of laying out the city of Washington DC, including building the White House and the US Capitol. He then became Vice President under President John Adams, and during this time,on November 22, 1800, Congress moved into the newly constructed US Capitol building.

Two weeks later on December 4, 1800, with Theodore Sedgwick presiding over the House and Thomas Jefferson over the Senate, a plan was approved whereby Christian church services would be held every Sunday in the Hall of the House of Representatives[109] —the largest room in the Capitol building. The spiritual leadership for each Sunday’s service would alternate between the chaplain of the House and the chaplain of the Senate, each of whom would either personally conduct the service or invite some other minister to preach.

It was in this most recognizable of all government buildings that Vice President Jefferson attended church[110] —a practice he continued throughout his two terms as president.[111] In fact, US congressman Manasseh Cutler, who also attended church at the Capitol, affirmed that “He [Jefferson] and his family have constantly attended public worship in the Hall.”[112] Mary Bayard Smith, another attendee at the Capitol services, confirmed, “Mr. Jefferson, during his whole administration, was a most regular attendant.”[113] She even noted that Jefferson had a designated seat at the Capitol church: “The seat he chose the first Sabbath, and the adjoining one, which his private secretary occupied, were ever afterwards by the courtesy of the congregation left for him and his secretary.”[114]

Each Sunday, Jefferson rode his horse from the White House to the church at the Capitol, [115] a distance of 1.6 miles and a trip of about thirty minutes. He made this ride regardless of weather conditions. In fact, among Representative Cutler’s entries is one noting that “[i]t was very rainy, but his [Jefferson’s] ardent zeal brought him through the rain and on horseback to the Hall.”[116] Other diary entries similarly confirm Jefferson’s faithful attendance despite unfavorable weather.[117]

Interestingly, the Marine Corps band, now known as the President’s Own Band, played worship services at the Capitol. [118] According to attendee Margaret Bayard Smith, the band, clad in their scarlet uniforms, made a “dazzling appearance” as they played from the gallery, providing instrumental accompaniment for the singing. [119] However, good as they were, they seemed too showy for the services and “the attendance of the Marine Band was soon discontinued.”[120]

Under President Jefferson, Sunday church services were also started at the War Department and the Treasury Department[121] —government buildings of the Executive Branch under Jefferson’s direct control. If Jefferson thought such religious services in government buildings and government settings were unconstitutional or improper, he certainly had the power to stop them; but he did not. To the contrary, he helped start them and encouraged their use. Therefore, on any given Sunday, worshippers could choose between attending church at the US Capitol, the War Department, or the Treasury Department—all with the blessing of Jefferson. (By 1867, the church in the Capitol that Jefferson helped start had become the largest church in Washington, DC.[122])

When Jefferson was asked why he attended church at the Capitol, he answered:

No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion—nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example. [123]

Additionally, while serving as President of the United States, Jefferson authored the original plan of education for the public schools of Washington, DC. He used the Bible and Watt’s Hymnal (one of the greatest doctrinal hymnals in Christendom) as the primary reading texts.[124] In 1803, he signed a federal act renewing provisions related to propagating the Gospel among the Delaware Indian tribe[125] and also approved a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe to provide them Christian ministry and teaching.[126] And in 1804 he signed a federal act related to the propagation of the Gospel among Indians on federal land trusts.[127] President Jefferson not only personally undertook federal initiatives to help propagate Christianity and Christian teachings among native peoples, he also praised others who did the same.[128]

After he left the presidency, Jefferson established the University of Virginia, where he encouraged the teaching of religion and set apart space in the Rotunda for chapel services.[129] He also praised the use of the local courthouse in his home town for religious services.[130]

Congressional Actions

Many significant acts of Congress in promoting religion and Biblical Christianity have already been noted, but there are many more. For example, between 1836 and 1847, Congress commissioned four massive paintings to be hung in the Rotunda of the US Capitol for public viewing. They were designed to depict events reflecting the Christian heritage of the nation, and among the four paintings are featured three Christian prayer services, a Christian Bible study, and a Christian baptism. [131]

A few years later in 1852-1853, a group petitioned Congress for a complete secularization of the public square and a cessation of all religious activities by government. But Congress rejected that request, instead making unambiguous declarations about America as a God-centered and Christian nation:

House Judiciary Committee: Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect [denomination]….In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity. That [Christianity], in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions.[132]

Senate Judiciary Committee: We are Christians, not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected—what desired—but that we shall pay a due regard to Christianity? [133]

In 1856, the House of Representatives likewise declared:

[T]he great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and Divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. [134]

There are countless other examples from congressional records that could similarly be cited to affirm that America’s culture and institutions, including that of civil government, were shaped by Christianity.

American Courts

The Christian presence so visible across America and throughout government was also openly acknowledged in the Judicial Branch. For example, in a unanimous decision in 1844, the US Supreme Court affirmed that America was “a Christian country.”[135] Then in 1892, after having reviewed scores of historical documents, the Court again delivered a unanimous ruling, declaring:

[N]o purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national because this is a religious people….[T]his is a Christian nation. [136]

In 1931, the Court rearticulated the same message:

We are a Christian people…according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God. [137]

These “Christian country,” “Christian nation,” and “Christian people” declarations were subsequently cited by numerous lower federal courts for decades, including well into the modern era.[138] And because the Supreme Court viewed America as a Christian nation, it is not surprising that it regularly invoked Christian principles as the basis of its rulings on marriage,[139] citizenship,[140] foreign affairs, [141] domestic treaties,[142] and other issues.

(By the way, these decisions about America as a “Christian nation” were not issued because only Christians inhabited America, for such was never the case—not ever, not at any time. These decisions were rendered because the Court rightly recognized that Christianity had indeed shaped America’s institutions and formed the basis of its unique culture, and that those principles provided freedom and liberty for all citizens, regardless of whether or not they happened to be Christians. Thus, being a Christian nation did not exclude anyone from participation in or protection by American government.)

Significantly, state courts were just as forthright in their declarations on this subject as the federal courts had been. For example:

[O]ur laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. And in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian. [143] Illinois Supreme Court, 1883

Democracy is the outgrowth of Christianity. Although the constitutional decree of freedom of religion and worship embraces any faith…ours is a Christian nation.[144]Kentucky Court of Appeals, 1945

Our great country is denominated a Christian nation….We imprint “In God We Trust” on our currency. Our state has even sometimes been referred to by cynics as being in the “Bible Belt.” It cannot be denied that much of the legislative philosophy of this state and nation has been inspired by the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount and other portions of the Holy Scriptures.[145] Mississippi Supreme Court, 1950

[I]t is well settled and understood that ours is a Christian Nation, holding the Almighty God in dutiful reverence. It is so noted in our Declaration of Independence and in the constitution of every state of the Union. Since George Washington’s first presidential proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, each such annual proclamation reiterates the principles that we are such a Christian Nation….At public expenditure we engrave on our coins, “In God We Trust” and print the same on currency. Our National Motto adopted by joint resolution of Congress is “In God We Trust.” Our National Anthem closes with these words “In God is Our Trust.”…[W]e consider the language used in our Declaration of Independence, and in our national Constitution, and in our Constitution of Oklahoma, wherein those documents recognize the existence of God, and that we are a Christian Nation and a Christian State. [146]Oklahoma Supreme Court, 1959

Numerous other courts made similarly succinct pronouncements.

The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were clearly founded upon Christian ideas of man and government. Our Founders were the first civil leaders to (as the Declaration of Independence announced) “hold these truths” and establish a nation upon them. Without Christianity, there never would have been the US Constitution that has caused America to become the longest on-going constitutional republic in the history of the world. As Noah Webster (father of the American dictionary and a key individual in the passage of the Constitution) affirmed:

The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government. [147]

[1] Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz, American Political Writing during the Founding Era 1760-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983), see listing for “virtue” in the index.

[2] The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, & c.(Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1787), Vol. II, p. 191, “An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio,” July 30, 1787, Article III.

[3] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1850),Vol. IX p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.

[4] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1850), Vol. IX p. 636, to Benjamin Rush on August 28, 1811.

[5] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1854), Vol. IX, pp. 228-229, “A Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, October 11, 1798.”

[6] Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), Vol. IV, p. 74, to John Trumbull on October 16, 1778.

[7] Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams,Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), Vol. IV, p. 124, to James Warren on February 12, 1779.

[8] Charles C. Jones, Biographical Sketches of the Delegates from Georgia to the Continental Congress (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891), pp. 6-7.

[9] Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers Company, 1907), p. 475, Charles Carroll to James McHenry on November 4, 1800.

[10] The Independent Chronicle(Boston: Nathaniel Willis) on November 4, 1780, Vol. XIII, p. 4, from John Hancock’s Inaugural Address as Governor of Massachusetts. See also Abram English Brown, John Hancock, His Book (Boston: Lee and Shepard Publishers, 1898), p. 269.

[11] Patrick Henry,Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. II, p. 592, to Archibald Blair on January 8, 1799.

[12] Gouverneur Morris, A Diary of the French Revolution (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939), Vol. II, p. 172, April 29, 1791.

[13] Gouverneur Morris, A Diary of the French Revolution (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939), Vol. II, p. 452, to Lord George Gordon, June 28, 1792.

[14] Jared Sparks, The Life of Gouverneur Morris (Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1832), Vol. III, p. 483, from his “Notes on the Form of a Constitution for France.”

[15] United States Oracle(Portsmouth, NH), May 24, 1800. See also The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, Maeva Marcus, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), Vol. III, p. 436.

[16] Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and Samuel Bradford, 1798), p. 8, “On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic.”

[17] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XII, p. 315, to James Fishback on September 27, 1809.

[18] Daniel Webster, The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster Hitherto Uncollected (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1903), Vol. IV, pp. 657, to Professor Pease on June 15, 1852.

[19] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1936), Vol. XIII, p. 118, from General Orders, October 21, 1778.

[20] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1838), Vol. XII, p. 245, to the Clergy of Different Denominations Residing in and Near the City of Philadelphia, on March 3, 1797.

[21] Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1802, p. 3.

[22] Independent Chronicle(Boston), February 22, 1787, Fisher Ames writing as Camillus. See also Fisher Ames, The Works of Fisher Ames, Seth Ames, editor (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1983), Vol. I, p. 67.

[23] Daniel Webster, Mr. Webster’s Address at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the Addition to the Capitol; July 4th, 1851 (Washington: Gideon and Co., 1851), p. 23.

[24] Daniel Webster, A Discourse Delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1820. In Commemoration of the First Settlement of New England (Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1821), pp. 49-50.

[25] Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 6.

[26] Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 339, ¶ 53.

[27] Proceedings of the Convention of the Delaware State Held at New-Castle on Tuesday the Twenty-Seventh of August, 1776 (Wimington: Star Publishing, 1927; reprint of Wilmington: James Adams, 1776), pp. 12 & 15.

[28] The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of the America (Boston: Norman and Bowen, 1785), pp. 99-100, Delaware, 1776, Article 22.

[29] Samuel Adams, Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), Vol. III, pp. 84-85.

[30] Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, editors (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), s.v. “Nathaniel Gorham.”

[31] A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes & Sons, 1780), p. 44, Chap. VI, Art. I.

[32] The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Francis Bailey, 1784), pp. 32, 34.

[33] The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of the America (Boston: Norman and Bowen, 1785), p. 81, Pennsylvania, 1776, Article II, Section 10.

[34] See, for example, The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of the America (Boston: Norman and Bowen, 1785), p. 108, Maryland, 1776, Declaration of Rights, Section 35; p. 4, New Hampshire, 1783, Bill of Rights, Article I, Section 6; etc.

[35] Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America (Baltimore: William Ogden Niles, 1822), p. 198, debate on the bill for regulating the civil government of Massachusetts Bay, April 26, 1774.

[36] Documents of the Assembly of the State of New-York, Sixty-First Session. 1838 (Albany: E. Croswell, 1838), Vol. V, p. 1, “No. 262: Report of the committee on the judiciary on the petition of Joseph Frost, Joseph Sibley, and others, praying the repeal of the laws for the observance of the Sabbath & c.,” March 13, 1838.

[37] Documents of the Assembly of the State of New-York, Sixty-First Session. 1838 (Albany: E. Croswell, 1838), Vol. V, p. 6, “No. 262: Report of the committee on the judiciary on the petition of Joseph Frost, Joseph Sibley, and others, praying the repeal of the laws for the observance of the Sabbath & c.,” March 13, 1838.

[38] Gouverneur Morris, An Oration Upon the Death of General Washington by Gouverneur Morris. Delivered at the Request of the Corporation of the City of New York, On the 31stday of December 1799 (New York: John Furman, 1800), p. 21. Evans #38002.

[39] Gouverneur Morris, An Oration Upon the Death of General Washington by Gouverneur Morris. Delivered at the Request of the Corporation of the City of New York, On the 31stday of December 1799 (New York: John Furman, 1800), p. 21. Evans #38002.

[40] Gouverneur Morris, An Oration Upon the Death of General Washington by Gouverneur Morris. Delivered at the Request of the Corporation of the City of New York, On the 31stday of December 1799 (New York: John Furman, 1800), p. 21. Evans #38002.

[41] “The Changes in American Lifestyle: 1776 vs. 2005,” Mineral Information Institute (at: https://mineralseducationcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/minerals1776vstoday.pdf), p. 1.

[42] James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, pp. 984-985, Benjamin Franklin on June 28, 1787.

[43] James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 986, June 28, 1787.

[44] James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 986, June 28, 1787. Hamilton opposed the resolution, saying such an action at that time might communicate to the populace (who knew nothing of the events in the closed convention) they were having troubles and, hence, undermine the people’s support. Mr. Sherman from Connecticut pointed out they would have greater troubles if they neglected this important duty. It was also proposed to have a sermon preached on July 4th at the request of the convention. Dayton records the motion appointing a chaplain was seconded and carried. Madison records they did not vote on the issue. If this were so, it was because they had no funds to officially invite a chaplain, as pointed out by Delegate Williamson. (See James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 986, June 28, 1787.) However, chaplains were certainly obtained in some manner as they opened future daily sessions with prayer. (See Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. III, p. 472, from William Steele to Jonathan Steele, September 1825 recounting a conversation with Jonathan Dayton.)

[45] James Madison’s records for Monday, July 2, 1787 notes, “That time might be given to the Committee, and to such as chose to attend to the celebration on the anniversary of Independence, the Convention adjourned till Thursday.” (James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, pp. 1023-1024.) George Washington’s notes on July 4, 1787, “and (the Convention having adjourned for that purpose), [he] went to hear an Oration on the anniversary of Independence.” (Worthington Chauncy Ford, George Washington (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1900), Vol. II, p. 132.)

[46] The Massachusetts Centinel, August 15, 1787, p. 1.

[47] See The North American Review (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, January 1867), Vol. 104, p. 249: “Mr. [J. Arthur] Partridge…“the American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit.” This is true—true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”; Daniel Webster, An Anniversary Address, Delivered Before the Federal Gentlemen of Concord and Its Vicinity, July 4th, 1806 (Concord, NH: George Hough, 1806), p. 6: “We live under the only government that ever existed, which was formed by the deliberate consultations of the people. Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in six thousand years, cannot be expected to happen often. Such a government, once destroyed, would have a void to be filled, perhaps for centuries, with evolution and tumult, riot and despotism.”

[48] Calvin Coolidge, The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2004; originally printed in 1929), p. 40.

[49] James M. Beck, The Constitution of the United States, 1787-1927, Edwin L. Miller, C. C. Barnes, editors (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1927), p. viii, a letter from the White House by Calvin Coolidge, December 12, 1924.

[50] John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), p. 352, n. 15.

[51] The Debates in the Several Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Jonathan Elliot, editor (Washington, DC: 1836), Vol. II, p. 2-3, Massachusetts Convention, January 10, 1788; Vol. IV, p. 1, North Carolina Convention, July 21, 1788; Mark David Hall, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 118-119, n75.

[52] George Washington, The Papers of George Washington, Dorothy Twohig, editor (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997), Vol. 6, pp. 104-105, from Benjamin Lincoln on February 9, 1788.

[53] George Bancroft, History of the United States of America (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882), Vol. VI, p. 420, address by Christopher Gadsden originally reported in the Pennsylvania Packet, June 14, 1788.

[54] George Bancroft, History of the United States of America (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882), Vol. VI, p. 414, George Washington to Marquis de la Fayette on May 28, 1788.

[55] George Bancroft, History of the Formation of the Constitution of the United States of America (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882), Vol. II, p. 257, address by William Samuel Johnson originally reported in the Pennsylvania Packet, January 24, 1788.

[56] Essays on the Constitution of the United States, Published During its Discussion by the People, 1787-1788, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (Brooklyn: Historical Printing Co. 1892), p. 288, Caesar to Mr. Childs, October 17, 1787, originally printed in The Daily Advertiser. (This was written under his pseudonym Ceasar.)

[57] Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, & James Madison, The Federalist on the New Consitution; Written in 1788 (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), p. 194, James Madison, Federalist #37.

[58] Benjamin Franklin,The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1840), Vol. V, p. 162, from “A Comparison of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews and of the Anti-Federalists in the United States of America,” no date.

[59] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Russell, Odiorne, and Metcalf, 1835), Vol. IX, p. 317, to Marquis de Lafayette on February 7, 1788.

[60] Benjamin Rush,Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton, New Jersey: American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 475, to Elias Boudinot on July 9, 1788.

[61] Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution (New York: W.W. Nortion & Company, 1996) p. 179.

[62] Donald S. Lutz, “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth Century American Political Thought,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 78, Issue 1, March 1984, p. 191.

[63] Donald S. Lutz, “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth Century American Political Thought,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 78, Issue 1, March 1984, pp. 192-193. See also Donald Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988), pp. 141-142.

[64] Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company v. Ellis, 165 U. S. 150, 160 (1897).

[65] John Quincy Adams, The Jubilee of the Constitution. A Discourse Delivered at the Request of the New York Historical Society, in the City of New York, On Tuesday the 30thof April, 1839; Being the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States, on Thursday, the 30thof April, 1789 (New York: Samuel Colman, 1839), p. 54.

[66] Ex parte Newman, 9 Cal. 502, 509 (1858).

[67] City Council of Charleston v. S. A. Benjamin, 2 Strob. 508, 518-521 (Sup. Ct. S.C. 1846)

[68] The Reports of Committees of the Senate of the United States For the Second Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852-53 (Washington: Robert Armstrong, 1853), pp. 3, “Rep. Com. No. 376,” January 21, 1853.

[69] James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, Gaillard Hunt, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), Vol. V, p. 30, to Thomas Jefferson on October 24, 1787.

[70] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor(Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798.

[71] John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. VII, p. 139, from his “Lectures on Moral Philosophy,” Lecture 16 on Oaths and Vows.

[72] Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington: Printed for the Editor, 1836), Vol. II, p. 202, Oliver Wolcott on January 9, 1788.

[73] Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington: Printed for the Editor, 1836), Vol. IV, p. 196, James Iredell on July 30, 1788.

[74] George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, and Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: Christopher Jackson, 1796), p. 23.

[75] Reports of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1821, Assembled for the Purpose of Amending The Constitution of the State of New York (Albany: E. and E. Hosford, 1821), p. 575, Rufus King, October 30, 1821.

[76] Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), pp. 18-19, Letter 1. See also a similar comment in Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, ¶ 49, although the Scripture citation in this work is closer to 2 Samuel 23:3 than Exodus 18:21.

[77] John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1804), Vol. V, pp. 266-267, from “A Sermon Delivered at a Public Thanksgiving after Peace”; and a handwritten manuscript of Dr. Benjamin Rush in the private collection of David Barton. In that work, Dr. Rush lists several headings, and under the heading, verses that he believed pertained to that subject. Under the heading, “Government” in his manuscript, Dr. Rush lists Exodus 18:21 as an applicable verse.

[78] John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (London: C. Dilly, 1788), Vol. III, p. 289.

[79] George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, and Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: Christopher Jackson, 1796), p. 13.

[80] Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, & James Madison, The Federalist on the New Constitution; Written in 1788 (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), p. 85, Federalist #16 by Alexander Hamilton.

[81] Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, & James Madison, The Federalist on the New Constitution; Written in 1788 (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), p. 281, Federalist #51 by James Madison.

[82] See The Founders Bible (Newbury Park, CA: Shiloh Road, 2017), articles relating to Deutereonmy 15:11 (p. 311) and Deutereonmy 24 (p. 337).

[83] For George Washington’s unanimous vote, see:  Journal of the First Session of the Senate of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New York, March 4, 1789 (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), Vol. 1, p. 8, Senate vote of April 6, 1789, and p. 9, John Langdon’s letter to George Washington on April 6, 1789.

[84] Significantly, many of the US Senators at the first Inauguration had been delegates to the Constitutional Convention that framed the Constitution including William Samuel Johnson, Oliver Ellsworth, George Read, Richard Bassett, William Few, Caleb Strong, John Langdon, William Paterson, Robert Morris, and Pierce Butler; and many members of the House had been delegates to the Constitutional Convention, including Roger Sherman, Abraham Baldwin, Daniel Carroll, Elbridge Gerry, Nicholas Gilman, Hugh Williamson, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimmons, and James Madison.

[85] The Daily Advertiser, New York, Thursday, April 23, 1789, p. 2.

[86] Laws of the State of New York(New York: Thomas Greenleaf, 1798), p. 21, “Chap. XXV: An Act to dispense with the usual mode of administering oaths, in favor of persons having conscientious scruples respecting the same, Passed 1stof April, 1778”; and James Parker, Conductor Generalis: Or the Office, Duty and Authority of the Justices of the Peace (New York: John Patterson, 1788), pp. 302-304, “Of oaths in general.”

[87] Clarence W. Bowen, The History of the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington (New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1892), p. 52, Illustration.

[88] Gazette of the United States(May 9-13, 1789), p. 3, “Extract of a letter from New-York, May 3.” See alsoThe American Museum: Or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, & c. Prose and Poetical (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1789), Vol. V, p. 505.

[89] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 27. See also George Washington, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Washington, D.C.: 1899), Vol. 1, pp. 44-45, April 30, 1789, Inaugural Address.

[90] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, pp. 27-29, April 30, 1789.

[91] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, pp. 27-29, April 30, 1789.

[92] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 25, April 27, 1789.

[93] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 241, April 29, 1789.

[94] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 29, April 30, 1789.

[95] The Constitutions of the United States of America With the Latest Amendments (Philadelphia: Robert Campbell, 1800), p. 272, “An Act to Provide for the Government of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio,” August 7, 1789.

[96] United States Code Annotated (St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1987), “The Organic Laws of the United States of America,” p. 1. This work lists America’s four fundamental laws as the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance.

[97] The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, & c. (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1787), Vol. II, p. 190, “An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio,” July 30, 1787.

[98] The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, & c. (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1787), Vol. II, p. 191, “An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio,” July 30, 1787, Article III.

[99] The Constitutions of the United States of America With the Latest Amendments(New York: Evert Duygkinck, 1820), p. 409, Mississippi, 1817, Article 6, §16; House of Representatives, Mis. Doc. No. 44, 35th Congress, 2nd Session, February 2, 1859, pp. 3-4, Article 1, §7, of the KansasConstitution; The Constitution of North Carolina (Raleigh: Rufus L. Edmisten, 1989), p. 42, Article 9, §1; Constitution of the State of Nebraska (Lincoln: Allen J. Beermann, 1992), pp. 1-2, Article 1, §4; Page’s OhioRevised Code Annotated (Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co., 1994), p. 24, Article 1, §7; The Constitution of Michigan, Article VII, §1; and so forth.

[100] “Breakfast in Washington,” Time Magazine, February 15, 1954 (at: https://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,936197,00.html).

[101] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor(Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1834) Vol. I, pp. 949-950, September 25, 1789.

[102] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor(Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1834) Vol. I, pp. 949-950, September 25, 1789.

[103] The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (Providence: October 17, 1789), p. 1. George Washington, “A Proclamation,” issued on October 3, 1789, observance date November 26, 1789.

[104] George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, and Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: Christopher Jackson, 1796), pp. 22-23.

[105] John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Philadelphia: William Woodward), Vol. III, p. 42, from “The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men,” May 17, 1776.

[106] Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833), Vol. III, pp. 726, 726, §1868 & §1871.

[107] Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833), Vol. III, p. 731, §1873.

[108] Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, H. R. McIlwaine, editor (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1928), Vol. II, p. 65, Thomas Jefferson, “Proclamation,” November 11, 1779.

[109] Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1851), 6th Cong., p. 797, December 4, 1800.

[110] Bishop Claggett’s letter of February 18, 1801, attests that while Vice-President, Jefferson attended church services in the House. Available in the Maryland Diocesan Archives.

[111] Margaret Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 13.

[112] Rev. Manasseh Cutler, Life, Journal, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, editors (Cincinnati: Colin Robert Clarke & Co., 1888), Vol. II, p. 119, to Joseph Torrey on January 3, 1803.

[113] Margaret Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 13.

[114] Margaret Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 13.

[115] See, for example, Rev. Manasseh Cutler, Life, Journal, and Correspondence, William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, editors (Cincinnati: Colin Robert Clarke & Co., 1888), Vol. II, p. 119, to Dr. Joseph Torrey on January 3, 1803.

[116] Rev. Manasseh Cutler, Life, Journal, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, editors (Cincinnati: Colin Robert Clarke & Co., 1888), Vol. II, p. 119, to Joseph Torrey on January 3, 1803.

[117] Rev. Manasseh Cutler, Life, Journal, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, editors (Cincinnati: Colin Robert Clarke & Co., 1888), Vol. II, p. 114, diary entry for December 26, 1802.

[118] James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 89.

[119] Margaret Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 14.

[120] Margaret Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 16.

[121] John Quincy Adams, Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1874), Vol. I, p. 265, diary entry for October 23, 1803; and Vol. I, p. 268, diary entry for October 30, 1803; National Intelligencer, December 9, 1820, p. 3. See also James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 89.

[122] James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 91.

[123] James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 96, quoting from a handwritten history in possession of the Library of Congress, “Washington Parish, Washington City,” by Rev. Ethan Allen.

[124] Records of the Columbia Historical Society (Washington, D. C.: Columbia Historical Society, 1897), Vol. 1, pp. 122-123, 127, from the report by Mr. Henry Ould on February 10, 1813. See also National Intelligencer, March 20, 1817, p. 2.

[125] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1851), 7th Cong., 2nd Sess., p. 1602, “An Act to Revive and Continue in Force An Act in Addition to an Act, Entitled, ‘An Act in Addition to an Act Regulating the Grants of Land Appropriated for Military Services, and for the Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen,’ and for Other Purposes,” March 3, 1803.

[126] American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of the United States, Walter Lowrie and Matthew St. Claire Clarke, editors (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1832), Vol. IV, p. 687, “The Kaskaskia and Other Tribes,” October 31, 1803.

[127] The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, Richard Peters, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1845), Vol. II, pp. 271-272, “An Act Granting Further Time for Locating Military Land Warrants, and for Other Purposes,” March 19, 1804.

[128] See, for example, Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XVI, p. 289, to Thomas, Ellicot, and Others on November 13, 1807.

[129] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIX, pp. 449-450, “A Meeting of the Visitors of the University of Virginia on Monday the 4th of October, 1824.”

[130] Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (Charlottesville: F. Carr and Co., 1829), Vol. IV, p. 358, to Doctor Thomas Cooper on November 2, 1822.

[131] See information about all the painting in the US Capitol Rotunda from Architect of the Capitol (at: https://www.aoc.gov/artwork/type/historic-rotunda-paintings). These paintings include: “Landing of Columbus,” Architect of the Capitol (at: https://www.aoc.gov/art/historic-rotunda-paintings/landing-columbus), showing some of the members of Columbus’ landing party kneeling in prayer; “Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto,” Architect of the Capitol(at: https://www.aoc.gov/art/historic-rotunda-paintings/discovery-mississippi-by-de-soto), depicting “a monk pray[ing] as men set a newly constructed crucifix in the ground”; “Baptism of Pocahontas,” Architect of the Capitol (at: https://www.aoc.gov/art/historic-rotunda-paintings/baptism-pocahontas), showing Pocahontas kneeling as the minister rests his hand on the “baptismal font”; “Embarkation of the Pilgrims,” Architect of the Capitol (at: https://www.aoc.gov/art/historic-rotunda-paintings/embarkation-pilgrims), “The group appears solemn and contemplative of what they are about to undertake as they pray for Divine protection through their voyage.”

[132] Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), pp. 6, 8, “Rep. No. 124,” March 27, 1854.

[133] The Reports of Committees of the Senate of the United States for the Second Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852-53 (Washington: Robert Armstrong, 1853), p. 3, “Rep. Com. No. 376,” January 21, 1853.

[134] Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States: Being the First Session of the Thirty-Fourth Congress (Washington: Cornelius Wendell, 1855), p. 354, January 23, 1856.

[135] Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 43 U. S. 126, 198 (1844).

[136] Church of the Holy Trinity v. U. S., 143 U. S. 457, 465, 471 (1892).

[137] United States v. Macintosh, 283 U. S. 605, 625 (1931).

[138] See for example, Warren v. United States, 177 F.2d 596 (10thCir. Ct. of App., 1949); United States v. Girouard, 149 F.2d 760 (1stCir. Ct. of App., 1945); Steiner v. Darby, 88 Cal. App. 2d 481 (1948); Vogel v. County of Los Angeles, 68 Cal. 2d 18(Ca. Sup. Ct., 1967); and many others.

[139] See, for example, Davis v. Beason, 133 U. S. 333, 341-344, 348 n (1890); The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States,136 U. S. 1, 49 (1890); and many others.

[140] See, for example, U. S. v. Macintosh, 283 U. S. 605, 625 (1931); and many others.

[141] See, for example, Ross v. McIntyre, 140 U. S. 453, 463 (1891); Kinsella v. Krueger, 351 U. S. 470 (1956); Reid v. Covert, 354 U. S. 1 (1957); and many others.

[142] See, for example, Beecher v. Wetherby, 95 U. S. 517, 525 (1877); Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U. S. 553, 565 (1903); Yankton Sioux Tribe of Indians v. U. S., 272 U. S. 351 (1926); U. S. v. Choctaw Nation, 179 U. S. 494 (1900); Atlantic & P R Co v. Mingus, 165 U. S. 413 (1897); Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company v. Roberts, 152 U. S. 114 (1894); Buttz v. Northern Pac. R. Co., 119 U. S. 55 (1886); Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States, 348 U. S. 272 (1955); and many others.

[143] Richmond v. Moore, 107 Ill. 429 (Ill. Sup. Ct.,1883).

[144] Mordecai F. Ham Evangelistic Ass’n v. Matthews, 30 Ky. 402, 189 S.W. 2d. 524 (Ky. Ct. of Ap., 1945).

[145] Paramount-Richards Theatres v. City of Hattiesburg, 210 Miss. 271 (Miss. Sup. Ct., 1950).

[146] Town of Pryor v. Williamson, 374 P.2d 204, 207 (Ok. Sup. Ct. 1959).

[147] Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 300.