On the principle of “Elected Leaders seeking Divine help,” Thomas Jefferson declared in his second inaugural address in 1805: “I shall need, therefore, all the indulgence I have heretofore experienced ... I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them to a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, who has covered our infancy with His Providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils and prosper their measures that whatever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship and approbations of all nations.”
On the principle of “Gratitude,” George Washington wrote on May 5, 1778: “If having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally to raise up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty and independence upon a lasting foundation, it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the divine goodness, and celebrating the important event, which we owe to His divine interposition (intervention).” (France had joined with the colonies in its fight for freedom.)
On the principle of “Judicial Activism,” Jefferson wrote in 1821: “It has long, however, been my opinion ... that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary ... working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the states, and the government of all be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed; because when all government shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided ... and will become as venal and oppressive as the government [of George III] from which we separated.”
How right he was.
On the principle of “Self Government,” James Madison said in 1778: “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
A powerful quote by Patrick Henry on “Freedom:” on March 23, 1775 he said “... Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the Holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; ... Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Regarding “Political Parties” Washington emphatically declared in his 1796 farewell address:“And of the fatal tendency... to put, in place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of the party; often a small but artful and enterprising minority ... they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. ...”
How right he was, and still is, way back in 1796.
Perhaps we should look for those seeking public office today who clearly avow their beliefs in the almighty as did the Founders.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.