"We have staked the whole future of American civilization,
not upon the power of government, far from it.
We have staked the future ...upon the capacity of each and all of us
to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves,
according to the Ten Commandments of God."
by:
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Source:
{Falsely attributed} Alley, Robert S. 1997. "Memo to U.S. Congress: Thou Shalt Not Bear False History." In Church & State, June 1997, vol. 50, no. 6.
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
This quote has been proven to be a fabrication long ago. He never said it.
 -- John Lipton, Atlanta, GA     
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    Yes, I have also done some research, and there is no verifiable source for this quote. Interesting to note however that the 10 Commandments (represented by 2 tablets) appear in many locations in the US Supreme Court building -- the facade, the doors, lots of places. Mosaic Law is certainly the foundation of Common Law.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    If one person in his book states that this quote does not belong to Madison, are you going to believe him? Give us some proof, that what you say is true, before you make any conclusions. By the way great quote!
     -- Anonymous     
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    Except for the fact that those two tablets that you claim represent the Ten Commandments that appear on the US Supreme Court building facade, doors and such actually represent the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, not the Ten Commandments.
     -- James, Minneapolis     
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    I visited the House of Repesentatives in August James. Carved in wood behind the Speaker's Chair and NEVER shown on TV, "In God We Trust"
     -- Jeff-, St Paul     
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     -- j, no      
    if it wasn't James Madison, then who said it???
     -- joe, midland, mi     
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    Not shooting the unknown messenger, on its face, the statement is absolutely accurate. Archer, you hit it on the head. I've researched the roots of common law and it definitely predates the British Isles monarchical stare decisis and even Rome's European stay. 5 stars for accuracy, no matter who said it.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    whoever said it! it's a good quote...
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
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    Actually there were 15 commandments but Moses dropped one of the stone tablets on the way down the mountain. It was hard for Moses to carry 3 stone tablets down the mountain, so we have to cut him some slack.
     -- Jim k, Austin     
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    " And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned ? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest : for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman ? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered , With a great sum obtained I this Freedom. And Paul said, But I was Free Born. " ( Acts 22:25 thru 28 ) There are 635 laws, some would say 613. The point being that within the OT laws are contained the doctrines of liberty. 13 laws pertaining to barrowing and lending of money and the exaction of taxes from one of your own nation. Not one jot or tittle shall be removed. Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things written in the book of the law to do them. The law is holy, just and good, but without faith it is imposable to please God. The law given to Israel and Paul sent to the Gentiles with the message of Grace and Liberty. " I say then, have they ( Israel ) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles for to provoke them to jealousy. As concerning the gospel, ( the message of Liberty ), they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Fathers' sake. " ( Romans 11:11,28 ) " Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. ( Romans 5:18,20,21 ) Once freed always free. The power is in the blood ! Let no man bring you into bondage by way of the law of works. " For by grace are you saved through faith ( the faith of Christ ); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. " Ephesians 2:8,9.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    If James Madison was alive in 1939 he might have said it. That is when the quote first appeared.
     -- Bryan, Hopkins     
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