Best 7 quotes in «founding father quotes» category

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    Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity.

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    Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations; The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment... have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own. [Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 - Writings 26:484--89]

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    The neglected pioneer of one revolution, the honoured victim of another, brave to the point of folly, and as humane as he was brave, no man in his generation preached republican virtue in better English, nor lived it with a finer disregard of self. {On American founding father and hero, Thomas Paine}

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    Paine was a grand fellow — high—with the most splendid sense of justice. But he was a reasoner — not warm — not letting out the natural palpitating passion... which perhaps he didn't have. But I see all that and more in Ingersoll. His imagination flames and plays up, up, up. It is a grand height! And he has so sharp a blade, too; is many-sided, gifted for great effects in different spheres. I don't suppose we ever had a man here so well adapted to that work. {Whitman's thought on Thomas Paine and his good friend, Robert Ingersoll}

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    What separates history from myth is that history takes in the whole picture, whereas myth averts our eyes from the truth when it turns men into heroes and gods.

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    If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons, to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians; and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are able to find among them no such act of adoption; we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law. ['Whether Christianity is Part of the Common Law?', letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, from Monticello, February 10, 1814]

    • founding father quotes
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    There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous [founding nations upon superstition]; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history... [T]he detail of the formation of the American governments... may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven... it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses... Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. [A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America, 1787]