True or False? An Independence Day Quote

Recently, I heard the following quote, attributed to John Quincy Adams:

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

Was it Adams who said this? If so, is it true? The upcoming post about this quote will be all the more interesting if you have thought through your answer. Writing it out has definitely helped clarify it for me!

For another July 4 Puzzle visit last year’s post here.


  1. Denise July 9, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    The above quote was actually part of the introduction of John Wingate Thorton’s 1860 work entitled: The Pulpit of the American Revolution. This work was a collection of revolution era sermons, and was carefully footnoted. However, the quote above however did not appear as a quote in Thorton’s work, and no footnote, or date was attached to those words. They are thought to be Thorton’s summary of a concept he attributed to JQA. Historians cannot trace the alleged quote beyond what Thorton wrote. This isn ot actually that unusual as there are many quotes erroneously attributed to the founding fathers.

    That said, I did find an excerpt from a letter from JQA to TJ dated June 28,1813 in which he wrote “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independance were…the general principles of Christianity.” This seems similar to what Thorton wrote, and so perhaps what he wrote was indeed a summary of JQA beliefs rather than a direct quote.

  2. Donald July 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Thank you Denise. That was well-said. I hope this whets the appetites of others for the upcoming hopefully-helpful insights on this important subject.

  3. Donald August 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Finally! Follow-up posted August 2010. God bless each of us with a ready answer on this subject.


  1. » Blog Archive » Self-Government - August 26, 2010

    […] has been a long time now since I posted, asking the question about Adams’ alleged quoted saying that the Revolutionary War combined the principles of government and the principles of […]

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via email.