Founding Fathers on Freedom, Liberty and American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism

Don't Tread On Me - Gadsden flagOur Founding Fathers risked everything they had to create a new nation, the United States of America, and that attribute that has come to be known as American Exceptionalism.

Had the American Revolution failed, each of them would have faced execution – and the loss of all their property, which would have condemned their wives and children to a life of poverty. It was a remarkable gamble, because most of the Founding Fathers were already wealthy, successful men. They didn’t rebel against England for personal enrichment; they rebelled because they truly believed that the loss of freedom was worse than death.

There are lots of “freedom quotes” on the Internet from all kinds of world leaders, philosophers and theologians, but we firmly believe the freedom quotes from our Founding Fathers are infinitely more powerful – because they succeeded in removing the shackles of tyranny. And all along the way, Liberty’s lantern was their guiding light.

For further inspiration and insight, please read some of the best quotes from our Founding Fathers on liberty, freedom, morality, patriotism, our republic, democracy, Constitutional law, and American Exceptionalism:

“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.”
-John Adams

“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”
-John Adams

“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
-Samuel Adams

Benjamin Franklin"A general Dissolution of Principles & Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the Common Enemy."
-Samuel Adams

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
-Nathan Hale

“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.”
-Alexander Hamilton

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”
-Alexander Hamilton

“We have all one common cause; let it, therefore, be our only contest, who shall most contribute to the security of the liberties of America.”
-John Hancock

“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
-Patrick Henry

Thomas Jefferson“The policy of American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…”
-Richard Henry Lee

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.”
-James Madison

“Democracy is the most vile form of government. ... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as the have been violent in their deaths.”
-James Madison

“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interests of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”
-George Mason

"The end of the government being the good of mankind points out its great duties: it is above all things to provide for the security, the quiet, the happy enjoyment of life, liberty, and property."
-James Otis Jr.

“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”
-Thomas Paine

“Those people who will not be ruled by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
-William Penn

George Washington“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
-George Washington

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
-George Washington

“The Constitution is the guide which I will never abandon.”
-George Washington

“Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, because if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”
-Daniel Webster

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
-Noah Webster

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