"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence."
Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833) Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 718.
"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
John Adams (Defense of the Constitutions, 1787) Reference: The Learning of Liberty, Prangle and Prangle (96); original The Works of John Adams, C.F. Adams, ed., vol. 6 (168)
"The value of liberty was thus enhanced in our estimation by the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of characters appreciated by the trial of adversity."
George Washington (letter to the people of South Carolina, Circa (1790) Reference: Maxims of George Washington, Schroeder, ed. (16); original The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Fitzpatrick, ed., vol. 31 (67)
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
George Washington (letter to Benjamin Lincoln, 29 June 1788) Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (403)
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
John Adams (A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765) Reference: The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams, Thompson,ed. (28)
"Men of energy of character must have enemies; because there are two sides to every question, and taking one with decision, and acting on it with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in proportion as they feel that effect."
Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 21 December 1817) Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition),Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., 15:109.
"Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace."
Thomas Jefferson (letter to James Monroe, 24 October 1823) Reference: Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Foley (685); orignal The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Ford, ed., vol. 5 (198)
"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them."
Thomas Jefferson (letter to Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787) Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America(880)
"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"
James Madison (Federalist No. 41, 1788) Reference: The Federalist
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Nathan Hale (before being hanged by the British, 22 September 1776) Reference: The Spirit of `Seventy-Six, Commager and Morris (476); original General William Hull, Campbell (37-38)
"It is important also to consider, that the surest means of avoiding war is to be prepared for it in peace."
Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833) Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 415.
"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."
Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775) Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (261)
"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives."
John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756