This week, amidst the parades, fireworks, and community celebrations, it’s easy to be thankful for the amazing freedom and security that our country has provided. As Americans, we are fortunate to be among the leaders in technology, the largest economy, and the some of the best living conditions in the world. At this time of celebration for our country’s independence and amazing achievements, let us also consider the founding principles which contributed to our prosperity. Not isolated from other factors supporting America’s growth is the precedence of virtue expressed by several founding fathers as the foundation for our nation’s success.
In honor of our upcoming Independence Day, the quotes below from our founding fathers remind us of the importance of the individual and the significance of living out virtue in our daily decisions.
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom."
"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue."
"Virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”
"Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people."
"No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and ... their minds are to be informed by education what is right and what wrong; to be encouraged in habits of virtue and to be deterred from those of vice ... These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure and order of government."
"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical [imaginary] idea.”
"A vitiated [impure] state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom.”
"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."
"Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private virtue, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.”
“With respect to the vital need for virtue in order to establish and maintain a republic, the founders were in complete harmony.”
We live in a country that is unlike any other before it. As this week brings the delight of summer festivities and the roar of fireworks, let us take pride in the foundation of our country and ownership in its future – for we all contribute to the greater whole, not just in our political votes, opinions and protests, but also in the way that we choose to love and respect our family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
From all of us at Families of Character, happy 4th of July!