God is the source of freedom.

Key 2 Analysis

From the time of the creation of Adam and Eve, God intended for all men to be free.  Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”   Thomas Jefferson Rights of British America, 1774

On another occasion he said: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the Gift of God?”   Thomas Jefferson 1781  Notes on the State of Virginia  

Freedom is a relative concept; we are free from bondage, from tyranny, from anarchy, etc.  Political freedom is the absence of coercion or force from government.  Freedom of conscience generally means free to think and act according to our beliefs.  Sometimes we think of a free conscience as free from guilt, regret, wrong doing, or pain.  Freedom in the financial sense is freedom from debt.  Health is freedom from illness and disease; it indicates that we are free from pain and addictions.  Freedom in another sense could be described as the accumulation of right choices.

Even though God’s plan was for men to be free, most political systems do not accommodate God’s view on the subject.  The founders believed that they had a right to political freedom.  When King George III was becoming tyrannical and the colonists were loosing their freedoms, they believed that the laws of nature and the laws of natures God justified them to re-establish those freedoms.  They believed that in declaring independence their motives were righteous and according to God’s will.  The Founders believed that they could call upon God to help them gain freedom.  They believed that they could call on God in times of trouble and danger and that He would answer their petition.  The Declaration of Independence was also a declaration of dependence upon God for protection and deliverance, as well as an appeal to Him to aid them in their righteous quest for freedom:

We therefore, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, …  with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence…”

 Declaration of Independence

It was obvious to many of the Founders during the battles of the revolutionary war and after they had won independence, that God had granted this gift of freedom.  Some of the religious leaders even left the pulpit to lead their fellow brethren to battle in the struggle for freedom, realizing that it was God’s will, and that a “Christian’s responsibility should include securing freedom for America.”

John Peter Muhlenberg, a 30 year old Lutheran pastor, in 1775, after preaching a message on Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” John closed his message by saying:

“In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things.  There is a time to preach and a time to fight.  And now is the time to fight.”

He then threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of an officer in the Revolutionary Army.  That afternoon, at the head of 300 men, he marched off to join General Washington’s troops, becoming a colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment.  He served until the end of the war being promoted to the rank of major-general.  America’s God and Country, William J. Federer p. 460


John’s father, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg a founder of the Lutheran Church in America was a pastor near Valley Forge.  He commented regarding George Washington:

I heard a fine example today, namely that His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice Christian virtues.

From all appearances General Washington does not belong to the so-call world of society, for he respects God’s Word, believes in the atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness.

Therefore, the Lord God has also singularly, yea, marvelously preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils, ambuscades, fatigues, etc. and has hitherto graciously held him in his hand as a chosen vessel.  Ibid. 459-460

From their understanding of the scriptures the founders knew that God could lead them in their battles, as He had the children of Israel.  God could bless them and protect them if they were righteous, in their lives, and in their cause, and if they believed that they were doing God’s will.

Just as in biblical accounts, some of the Founders had experienced God’s divine providence in controlling the elements in their favor.  God had parted the Red Sea for Moses.  The winds, fog, waves, or still waters, had on specific occasions providentially aided in the battles on behalf of the American patriots.

Dr. W. Cleon Skousen describes this intervention at the battle of Yorktown in the following words:

After seven days and nights of fighting, the terrified Cornwallis made a desperate attempt to get his troops across the York River to Gloucester.  His plan was to fight his way northward until he could escape along the coast.  But it was not to be.  Barely were his men loaded on boats to row across the York when a virtual hurricane suddenly arose and blew the boats directly back to the Yorktown River bank.  Cornwallis expostulated that it even looked like God was on Washington’s side.   W. Cleon Skousen   The Making of America p. 104


God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. (Rights of British America, 1774)  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.       Thomas Jefferson 1781  Notes on the State of Virginia 

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The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this (the course of the war) that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations (to God).      Commander-in-Chief George Washington to Brigadier-General Thomas Nelson, 20 August 1778; quoted by Wm. J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian 1919, pp. 119 ­20

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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…       Pres. George Washington  Oct. 3, 1789  Proclamation of a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving.

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The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts, we owe to the gracious interposition of Heaven, and to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.       Pres. George Washington Nov. 3, 1789 Writings 30:453

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I am sure there never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe, that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God, who is alone able to protect them.       George Washington  March 11 1792  (Writings of G. Washington, Fitzpatrick, GPO, 1931-44. Vol. 32:2)

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The real wonder is, that so many difficulties should have been surmounted…with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected.  It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment.  It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it (the Constitution) a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.      James Madison Federalist 37  Jan.11, 1788 

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For my own part, I sincerely esteem it (the Constitution)  a system, which, without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.      Alexander Hamilton  [Paul Leicester Ford, ed., Essays on the Constitution of the United States (Brooklyn, New York: Historical Printing Club, 1892), p. 288]  

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“It appears to me…little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states…should unite in forming a system of national government, so little liable to well founded objections.”       George Washington 1788  Other writers have referred to “Miracle at Philadelphia.”  

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It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations and whose providential aids can supply every human defect,…No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States…Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists, in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness,…and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity…the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”     Pres. George Washington  Inaugural Address April 30, 1789 

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When the great work was done and published, (the Constitution) I was…struck with amazement.  Nothing less than the superintending Hand of Providence, that so miraculously carried us through the war…could have brought it about so complete, upon the whole.      Charles Cotesworth Pinckney  P.L. Ford, ed., Essays on the Constitution, 1892, p. 412. 

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If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.      Samuel Adams

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“In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments, …at the same time all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and without His whole blessing, the best human counsels are but foolishness… Resolved; …Thursday the 11th of May…to humble themselves before God under the heavy judgments felt and feared, to confess the sins that have deserved them, to implore the Forgiveness of all our transgressions, and a spirit of repentance and reformation …and a Blessing on the … Union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights [for which hitherto we desire to thank Almighty God]…That the people of Great Britain and their rulers may have their eyes opened to discern the things that shall make for the peace of the nation…for the redress of America’s many grievances, the restoration of all her invaded liberties, and their security to the latest generations. ”

“RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer…to confess the sins…to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression…and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed….And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven.”      John Hancock  April 15, 1775 President of Provincial Congress of Massachusetts and by order of the Provincial Congress 4 days before the battle of Lexington and Concord.

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