Founding Fathers Quotes Friday-Samuel Adams

Moral Authority

Moral Authority

Hello! And welcome to our first post of 2009 which of course is a Friday installment of Founding Father’s Quote Friday. This adventure has been so enlightening for everyone involved at The Thinker.

We want to acknowledge he who got us started, Mr. Hercules Mulligan. If you ever need or want to say something regarding how the ‘Inventor’s’ of our nation imbued their own spirituality into the founding documents, I implore anyone to read Mr. Mulligan’s treatise located here.

As for me I love this quote from Samuel Adams for several reasons. First and foremost I have been writing about the connectivity between morals, values, ethics, and virtues at my other blog,  American Age.

Moreover, I have asked this question to my readers: “Can you imagine living in a world void of manners and morality?” Seriously, anarchy would probably be a step-up from a world that has no sense of moral authority.

In my Essays on Tolerance I try and explain as to who, and for what reasons men, women, and children, with everything important they owned and would board something the size of a cork bobbing up and down in a massive ocean and take a very unsafe journey the equivalent to one of us going to the moon without the shuttle; rather, in some makeshift rocket.

What was going-on in Europe and especially the United Kingdom that would have people making decisions to throw everything they owned literally, into the wind, and relocate an ocean apart and at that, if the weather and winds we’re kind?

In a letter written by Samuel Adams to James Warren during the winter of 1779 sheds enormous light pursuant to our question:

blue-quotesA general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.

I find it of invaluable information, what John Locke would refer to as “uneasiness” or anxiety, or indeed flat out fear of what it would be like to lose their liberties. Moreover, I am of the opinion that Samuel Adams is rendering an expose describing what very well may have been happening in the colonies at that time.

Are there parallels that can be drawn from what Mr. Adams was writing to Mr. Warren about in today’s society? I believe there are stunning parallels!

“A general dissolution of principles and manners…” means of course, that Samuel Adams was witness to the condition of humankind being morally good dissolving before his very eyes. Furthermore, I attend to the notion that the ‘principles’ he refers to as those qualities of virtue: morals, values, ethics, and reason.

In addition when he mentions manners I feel that he is referring to the day-to-day condition of people eroding, or displaying rotten character. Therefore, summing up his first intention Samuel Adams is warning–If people are to dissolve their morality and trudge through life without manners, they are indeed in the position of losing their liberty-or better still–their freedom … but when once they lose their virtue…

And finally Samuel Adams states (paraphrasing) as long as people are virtuous, that is, having moral fiber, values, and ethical standards one could not ever hope to over-throw them; yet, once folks enter into that ‘human condition’ with loss of virtues, principles, and morality then they have already surrendered their liberties, are no longer ‘free’ but slaves to the world and whoever comes to invade it, … ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

Again, as for me Samuel Adams is paraphrasing scripture which furthermore illuminates the presence of God in our Founders as well as the documents they concocted and the government they invented.

Just for a quick start, in the Epistle of James in chapter one and starting at verse 5:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.(v.6) But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. (v.7) For let no man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord; being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-7 NASB).



About J.Paul

Academia, Constitution, Musicianship, all around Caucasian male, straight, and professes Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. Guitars -- Classical, Acoustic, A/E, Strat, a real bassist at heart, Les Paul Standard bass.
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3 Responses to Founding Fathers Quotes Friday-Samuel Adams

  1. You know what would be nice? A page that listed all of the FFQF entries of myself and other bloggers like you who participate. All such posts would be in chronological order, the order when they were published. It would catalogue all of these posts on one page, kinda like when you subscribe to an RSS feed. But gosh, I have no idea how to do it, or if it is even possible. Believe me, I’m not a computer-techy expert at all.

    Oh well. Just sharing my thoughts on that.

    I can’t wait to see your humorous installments next week! I hope you will have time to come over and see mine. I sure got a laugh out of my own post that time! (OK, OK, so I laugh at my own jokes — who doesn’t?). No, I’ve never been to Gadsby’s Tavern. Come to think of it, I’ve never been to Virginia (though I hope to go), or even a tavern for that matter! But if our first five presidents went there, I’d sure like to go! Thanks for the “tip”! Ha!

    I’m glad you look forward to my posts. If you at all get the chance, leave your thoughts. I love comments, I love a common interest, and an addition viewpoint, or even questions or corrections, mean a lot to myself, and I’m sure, to readers looking for answers.

    Thanks again. Have a wonderful 2009!


  2. Jon-Paul says:

    Hiya Herk!

    Thank you for your kind and lovely words regarding my FFQF post. So let’s get straight into it shall we?

    I also believe that our Founders are kind of ‘pedestalized’ as well, that is, until folks begin to get past the founding documents. Otherwise, I believe these men, undoubtedly supported by their wives, were the real ‘thinkers’ of their time in North America.

    Whilst I realize that every generation has their own version of eschatology, end-times, the rapture, nonetheless, I agree that during these times, especially and your facts of the actual quantity of Christians living in the colonies that a lot of exploitation and embellishment was going on.

    I have indeed noticed your series aptly named, ‘Illumanati’ and I am dying to get my eyes all over it. Seriously, it’s like a kid on Christmas eve…I’ve snuck in a few peeks and this waiting is causing me ‘uneasiness.’

    Btw, you know the code you originally sent me for FFQF, the one in red; did that link to you or some reader or anywhere? I ask only because I’ve misplaced it and I’ve just been using the photo.

    You betcha I’m trying for FFQF and humor!! I think it’ll be good fun; moreover, these folks weren’t just serious all the time folks…ever been to Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, VA? The first five presidents used to hang out there and tip a yard or two. Ah…to be a fly on those walls!!

    Continued blessings throughout 2009!


  3. This is absolutely terrific. This quote by Adams is one of my favorites, too.

    It’s a very excellent point you make about this quote suggesting that Adams was witnessing a “general dissolution” in his own day, too. I think that we often tend to think of the American Founding as being some kind of golden Christianized age. While the influence of Christianity was more predominant then, the many of the Christians believed that they were witnessing the last days, because they saw the influx of the humanist worldview to American, from Europe mostly.

    I have actually been covering this subject on my blog. Here is a link that will take you to the three installments that I have so far written, in an attempt to let the original documents of the Founding Era speak for themselves, for two purposes:

    (1) to dismiss the lie that our Founders were involved in a plot to establish the “New Atlantis” — the humanistic Utopian dream of secret societies of satanists,

    (2) to show the Founders’ real reactions to such societies and their agenda, and in turn, to show how the Founders attempted to combat this influence — and how one of their number betrayed them.

    I have yet to post the fourth installment. It is already written, but it will require some touching up before I post it.

    Thanks for participating in FFQF today. It’s a great post.

    I’m sorry I forgot to notify you on Thursday (I was busy away from my computer) that this month’s theme will be HUMOR. After covering such high and lofty subjects for a few months, I easily became discouraged at how America has so failed to be truly greatful for the legacy our Founders left us, and the tremendous sacrifice they made for our country. I am not an emotional person, but the stories of their trials and tribulations have brought many tears to my eyes, and the fact that their American posterity has scoffed at them has redoubled the pain of the injustice.

    So, I decided to get on the lighter, more funny side of the Founders — just for this month. 🙂 And boy, some of them could be soooo funny! Don’t let those serious wig-topped faces fool you!

    Here is my post:

    And a friend of mine who runs a great blog, also participated:

    This meme requires a bit of knowledge of the Founders’ letters, etc. Although I think the general public is somewhat familiar with the humor of folks like Ben Franklin. But if this meme proves a bit too labor-intensive, don’t feel pressure to participate this month. But I would be delighted if you would take the time to read and comment on the posts I write.

    I didn’t know you ran another blog called “American Age” (btw, no link in original post, but I guessed the url). It looks fantastic! When I have a moment to read it, I will leave you plenty of comments!

    God bless your new year!


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