On Political Prosperity
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,
religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim
the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of
human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere
politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A
volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.
Let it simply be asked, "where is the security for property, for
reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths
which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?" And let
us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without
religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on
minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect
that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
On National Debt
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit.
One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding
occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely
disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater
disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only
by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in times of peace
to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously
throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.
From George Washington's Farewell Address - 1796