Noah Webster on the importance of the Christian religion to "[securing] the rights and privileges of a free people"
Noah Webster in "Reply to a Letter of David McClure, ESQ., on the Subject of the Proper Course of Study in the Girard College, Philadelphia," October 25, 1836, New Haven, from A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects, p. 291:
"In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed. [...] No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. The opinion that human reason, left without the constant control of divine laws and commands, will preserve a just administration, secure freedom, and other rights, restrain men from violations of laws and constitutions, and give duration to a popular government, is as chimerical as the most extravagant ideas that enter the head of a maniac. The history of the whole world refutes the opinion; the Bible refutes it; our own melancholy experience refutes it."From History of the United States (p. v in the pdf):
"The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion."Also from History of the United States (p. 274 in the pdf):
"the religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government."Ibid., 309-310:
"the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men in every condition of life They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war, and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from those in the gospel, can ever secure cure these objects. All the miseries and evils men suffer from vice crime ambition injustice slavery and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."Ibid., pp. 307-308:
"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good, so much as for the selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.And from Defining Noah Webster: A Spiritual Biography, p. 151:
"If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted."
"Corruption of morals is rapid enough in any country, without a bounty from government. And if great depravity marks the last stages of a free government, and is the certain prelude to the destruction of liberty, (which is universally agreed to be the fact,) the Chief Magistrate of the United States should be the last man to accelerate its progress."