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Quotes from the founding fathers

Updated on July 23, 2014

Thomas Jefferson

Quotes from the founding fathers

With all of the turmoil going on in the United States about nationalizing health care and the government taking over various businesses like the auto industry, I though it might be a good idea to see what the founding fathers of the United States had to say about various subjects.

Following are some selected quotes:

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [Patrick Henry in May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." [Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823]

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. [Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766]

But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years. [Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789]

In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any. [James Madison, November 30, 1787]

These quotes were found on various websites.


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      drhx 6 years ago

      I believe that the reason that many wealthy people come to the US for health care is because the US has many good doctors. The issue with the old health care system was cost (which would not significantly affect a very wealthy individual) not quality. Also, many of them get private doctors in the US.

    • Art West profile image

      Art West 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for the comment tthreadgill.

      If the U.S. health care is so bad, why is it that the first place the wealthy go for health care is the U.S.? After exhausting the U.S. options, they then go to countries that will allow experimental remedies.

      There is no question that the cost of health care in the U. S. is high and something needs to be done to lower the cost, but a government run health care is not the answer.

      Those who want a single payer plan would not be in favor of a private company having a monopoly, so why would you want the government have a monopoly? It just doesn't make sense.

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      tthreadgill 6 years ago

      Fact: The USA has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but is 31st in world in longevity and 33rd in the world in infant mortality.

      Fact: France, Japan and Sweden are ranked among the best healthcare systems in the world and cost much less per individual that the US system. All are single payer.

      The USA will eventually be forced by exploding healthcare costs to adopt a single payer system, its just a matter of how much time and money were willing to waste before we finally figure out what the rest of the world already knows.

    • Art West profile image

      Art West 7 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for the comment.

      With all due respect, I think Jesus was referring to individuals helping each other, not government involvement or government control.

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      visitor 7 years ago

      I've never understood Christians that think actual, universal healthcare is a bad thing or loss of liberty.

      As Jesus said:

      "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

      "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

    • Art West profile image

      Art West 7 years ago from Indiana

      I respectfully disagree.

      President Obama has actually said that there are some cases where we simply want to give a pain pill and let someone die because they are too old to treat...well that just doesn't seem right.

      A single payer system is not the answer. There must be some way to lower costs through competition in the private sector.

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      Stevefhu 7 years ago

      That is just one example of why we need a single payer option in health care. If he was covered he wouldn't have wasted his time and gone to the doctor it probibly wouldn't have cost as much (to the tax payers) and he might have survived.

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      Art West 7 years ago from Indiana

      Actually the health system prior to this new bill covered everyone. Just visit an emergency room sometime and see how many illegal aliens are there.

      Personally I can vouch for the fact that everyone had health care. Five years ago my brother was diagnosed with cancer. He was unemployed, broke, had no health insurance and was living with my mom and step-dad. He was in and out of the hospital, got radiation treatment, chemo therapy, hospice care and was in and out of the nursing home. He finally passed away after about 1 1/2 years, not because of a lack of treatment but because he delayed going to the doctor. Health care was not broken. The cost of health care however was too high.

      I think the only thing the new bill will do is take away the freedom of the American people. I could be wrong but I don't think Jesus likes slavery.

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      Annonymous 7 years ago

      I am pretty sure Jesus Christ would pay in to a health system that covered everyone, not just the healthy.