Quote: John Adams on morality, religion, and the US

On October 11, 1798, President John Adams addressed the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in a letter:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

From: TheAmericanMinute


2 thoughts on “Quote: John Adams on morality, religion, and the US”

  1. “A vote withheld from both the Democrats and Republicans weakens that which is wrong, and strengthens the cause of that which is right.” – Howard Phillips, Constitution Party Founder

    Howard Phillips comment seems to tie in with John Adams warning that the passions of “avarice, ambition, revenge, [and] gallantry” are the death of our country. If these passions are the heart of American politics, whether Democrat or Republican, “conservative” or “liberal”, then the true moral battle for America does not exist within the realm of politics. Rather, the true moral battle exists within our hearts.

    Adams’ use of the word “gallantry” seems to refer to those passions he mentions masquerading as moral crusades within the political sphere. Rather than seeking after this agrandized politicization of “morality”, or “gallantry” as he puts it, Adams seems to acknowledge that we must instead seek after the virtues of the heart.

    If a people are more self-governed in their hearts, then the less they are bound to the external tyranny which surrounds them. Tyrannical governments exist to govern morally corrupt people. However, the saints of the Church are victorious even in the midst of external tryanny. They are victorious because they have identified their battle as not being against tyrannical external government per se, but rather as a battle against the internal tyranny of the passions of “avarice, ambition, revenge, [and] gallantry.”

  2. … I should probably add that my quote of Howard Phillips is not in support of the Constitution Party. I’m not in favor of that party at all, but I do think they have some interesting critiques of American politics.

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