"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,
religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to
rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
by:
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
Source:
The first sentence is from Washington's farewell address; the second sentence is false.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
This is a direct statement from G.W. while drawing up our constitution. After they made the constitution, they all prayed at our nations church.
 -- Jason Jacoby, wisconsin     
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    It's hard to believe he said this
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    I love the quote, but I believe it is taken from two separate quotations from George Washington. The following is the real quotation. I have confirmed this quote with a professor from Southwestern Louisiana University, but I have since lost the source. Anyway, here is the complete quote that I have and you'll see what I mean. "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."
     -- Marc, West Newfield, Maine     
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    Rumors of unconfirmed quotes do not belong here... our constitution is confirmed, our bill of rights are confirmed, the laws of the land for over 200 years are confirmed, and they are all very clear on this point (until 1950s that is). It is really amazing to me that people actually seem to equate "religion and morality" to "god and bible", completely forgetting that there are many religions and many gods... evidence Bush's worship of the god of money and power...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    I agree with Reston, VA. You may notice though that even this 'quote' says nothing about Washington's belief in a god. It does say that "God and the Bible" are indispensible tools in the hands of those who would govern effectively. In stating it in this way it says more about the governed than it does about the governing. It's a guide for attaining 'political prosperity'. In other words, a guide for success for politicians.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    The Quote and source are as follows: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political perosperity, religion and morality are indespensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest prop of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, outght 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 propety, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert teh oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge in 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... Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?" George Washington, Farewell Address, To his cabinet, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; September 17, 1796. Washington makes clear that "religion and morality" are "indespensable supports" of government... A person who is actually educated enough on the words of the Founding Fathers (especially of Washington) would know that Washington was talking to the "governing", not those who are "governed".
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    I think Liberty Tree should apologize for printing such an obviously false quotation. I appreciate reading these quotations each day and I don't want to lose my respect and confidence in the accuracy of them.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    There are few topics that draw more emotional criticism than those on religion. This quote was originally categorized as 'questionable' as it was without a verifiable source -- though a popular quote found on the internet. Thanks to Logan of Memphis, TN for the actual wording. The quote has now been tagged as false, and the accurate version has been posted. I would also like to remind those critics of God and the Bible in American government that the Bible has always been in Congress, and many founding fathers credited it as an indispensable guide to virtue -- although many did not subscribe to the divinity of Jesus, the Pope, the King, etc.. As many of the long-time subscribers to daily Liberty Quotes know, we like to be provocative, and this quote is no exception. ;-)
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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    The first part seems genuine and as some have shown here there seems to be a source for it. But this first part is not what makes the quote controversial. It's the second part that is completely bogus. Govern the world with God and the Bible? Excuse me, but that sounds like a typical LCI (Later Christian Insertion). Washington would have never said this. And not only the God/Bible part, but none of the Founders would have ever wanted to "govern the world" - that's only the goal of neo-cons. So that proves where this came from. I'm shocked that such a bogus quote would be put here on Liberty Tree.
     -- Andy, Portland, OR     
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    I agree in part: I agree that it is impossible to govern the world without God. On the other hand, man is incapable of governing the world, with the Bible or without. God is going to bring the destruction of all disobedient men, since due to their disobedience, the world is ungovernable.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood, Florida     
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    Washington is correct! Any nation that does not have God will fail.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Washington is completely correct!!! I agree with this statement with no hesitation!!! And yes, we do need the Bible to govern our world to all of y'all who do not agree with this quote. God has not written the Bible for us to set it aside and pay no attention to it!!! He loves us and He has given our country everything it needs to be this strong today. If you do not agree with what I have just said, I will be praying for you and your families.
     -- Sarah, age 13     
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    whats the proof the quote is false? You can assert all you want.
     -- Anonymous, Anderson     
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    If thie quote, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." is truly false, then may someone please inform us of the person that made this statement for Washington? This claim of falsehood appears as an effort to censor God out of our nation's history.
     -- Earl, Anderson     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    There are many accurate, historical quotes that people slowly begin to remove Christianity out of. Bottom line, our country was indeed founded on Christian principles. I recognize that now, that is offensive to some and our government is a democracy, not a theocracy. But let's not ignore the fact that our country was found on Christian principles: "God the Creator" in the Declaration of Independence, freedom of religion vs. freedom from religion... Interesting topic, though.
     -- Walker     
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    Washington was a strong man of faith; yes, in God. His strength of leadership was not his own, he allowed God to lead. His men gave accounts where he would often go away by himself to pray and find time to be with God. Dispute dispute. "wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways" Forget God? forget this country. Washington knew this..
     -- BTF, Indiana     
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    I must say I disagree. I am a Christian, but I do not believe that morality without a Bible base is impossible. Morality can and should come from logic.
     -- Anonymous     
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    I like this quote. It tells the truth, so I have no problem with it. Without God and the Bible standing by you, really nothing is easy or sometimes not even possible. I'm a firm believer and this is so true!!!
     -- Hannah     
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    I think this is a real quote. First Washington was a christian and all of the Continental Congress. 29 of the members were ordaned mininsters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know they had bible studies and prayer up to 4 hours beforeeven starting the discussions. We also know that the congress printed the first American bible so they could teach it in schools. SO don't tell me washington didn't mean the bible and the Jesus. He governed for 45 years. With these same people. We were founded to be a christian country.
     -- Staven, Tulsa, Oklahoma     
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    here is a real washington quote," The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion”. hmmmmmmm pretty clear to me....
     -- kevin, eureka     
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    Actually... Washington said "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. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government."
     -- Sara, La     
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    To Kevin in Eureka The quote you gave about the US not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion was not made by Washington. Study up on the Treaty of Tripoli (the document that containts those words) and you will find that the Treaty didn't arrive in America until months after Washington left office; he never saw the treaty; no statement in it can be ascribed to him.
     -- Anonymous, West Palm Beach     
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    Those who quote the "God and the Bible" line, as though it were Washington's own words, need to understand that it is, at best, unverified. At worst, it is a total fabrication, but there is no real evidence of that either. In reality - it is traced back to an 1835 biography by James K. Paulding. He may have read these words in some diary of Washington's, or some personal account given by another who heard George say it. His writings were massive and not all are digitized yet so as to do a keyword search. Although it sounds like something he might say, the simple truth at this point is - WE JUST DON'T KNOW. Both the secularists and theocrats need to stop fighting over it. There is plenty in what we do have to show his faith in God and his conviction that the Supreme Being is never disrespected without consequences. I must say, the words in the opening paragraph of his Thanksgiving Proclamation are the sentiments of no agnostic: Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
     -- Jon Willcox, Bartlesville, OK     
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    The closest Washington comes to saying anything about "God" in any works is from a poem he wrote as a child. After that, he refers to "Providence" and views it as a distant and uncaring force in the universe.
     -- C. Baize, Fresno     
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    Mr. Baize, sorry to say you are incorrect. If you do some research, you will find that George Washington spoke and wrote numerous times of God as "God," and not merely "Providence." About the quote we are commenting on, it is not A quote, but TWO SEPARATE QUOTES by our first president. 1. "....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...." [This is from Washington's 1796 Farewell Address--check out http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp] 2. "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." [This one's a little iffy, and there are a few citations in books, but you could discount this if you would like] However, Washington DOES speak of God in his first inaugural address, among other places: "Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend." And since I'm writing this on Thanksgiving Day, I thought I'd include Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Day proclamation: "Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:" Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." (signed) "G. Washington" Finally, Americans looked to God even during the American Civil War era. Abraham Lincoln concluded his second inaugural address with the words: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Oh, and by the way, the Supreme court ruled in 1892 in Holy Trinity Church vs. The United States that: "These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic [official] utterances that THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION." (emphasis added) Congressman Randy Forbes asked the questions: "Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?" and "If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?" Your call.
     -- Hannah, Cheltenham, PA     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Is this your mission in life? Before you know it in the not so distant future, people like you most likely your grand kids will say. Billy Graham was really a secret member of the ACLU and loved Bill Maher movies. Sounds like to me Old George needed to lay off the cherry tree and start on the Liberty Tree.
     -- Tattle Cricket, Newburgh     
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    LIBERTY TREE? Nice name... Indeed, the first flag flown by American Navy ships commissioned by Commander in Chief Washington displayed a triangle, or Trinity shaped, evergreen tree with the motto "Appeal to Heaven" below, on a white ground, or background. This first Navy flag is described in a letter written by Washington's aide, Colonel Joseph Reed, later the 3rd President of Pennsylvania, dated 20 October a.d. 1775, and held today in the Library of Congress.
     -- George Washington, Mount Vernon, Virginia     
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    Regardless of the authenticity of the quote, without God and the Bible you have communism. Would you rather have God-given rights or Man-given rights?
     -- Habeas Corpus, ilford     
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    Whether Americans want to believe it or not, America was founded on Christian principles. The original quote is "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" So it is true that the quote above was spliced but the original still rings true and mean the same thing. Washington new his stuff.
     -- Ghost, Utah     
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     -- Anonymous      
    I've been discussing this quote today. It is false. All correct info has been given already. I just wanted to say I knew this was fake as soon as I saw it. Washington was a Deist. No way would he praise the Bible like that.
     -- Matt, Winchester, KY     
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    Actually America was founded more on the principles of the common law which was made to protect the common man from the church and the king. it was also a product of The Enlightenment where men rejected god, royalty, and the church and believed in the rights of the common man.
     -- Fred     
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    You are correct, Fred. And, Washington was a Deist as well as a Freemason (before masonry was co-opted by the 'Jacobites') in which the Sun and 12 signs of the zodiac were recognized as the secret meaning of Jesus and the 12 disciples. And as far as I can tell, Hannah, there were no Jews among the founding fathers, so this idea that America is a Judeo-Christian nation is just made up. Many believe in 'God' but that does not make one a Christian or Jew or anything, just a believer in 'God' according to one's own personal viewpoint.

    May I remind all the devout Christians that millions have been destroyed because they didn't believe the 'politically correct' version of Christianity imposed upon them by their rulers -- heck, the Catholics and Protestants are still killing each other in God's name.

    It concerns me today that so-called Christian nations are warring with Islamic nations -- no declaration of war, of course, just the popular notion that Muslims are 'evil' and 'hate us for our freedom' (not because they are being bombed indiscriminately killing more civilians than combatants for decades on end). But historically, this is what Judeo-Christian nations do and continue to do in the name of 'God'. Is there nothing mortal man cannot be made to believe?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The first half of this quote is real, from Washington's 1796 farewell speech. The second half is an invention, put into Washington's mouth in a biography published about forty years after Washington's death.
     -- Danny Adams, Roanoke, VA     
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