Tag Archives: James Madison

A Warning Against Standing Armies and Tyranny


American Minute with Bill Federer

The British invaded Washington, D.C. and burned the Capitol on August 25, 1814.

President James and Dolly Madison had to flee the White House.

A week later, on SEPTEMBER 1, 1814, President Madison wrote:

“The enemy by a sudden incursion has succeeded in invading the capitol of the nation…During their possession…though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices…

An occasion which appeals so forcibly to the…patriotic devotion of the American people, none will forget.”

James Madison continued:

“Independence…is now to be maintained…with the strength and resources which…Heaven has blessed.”

A few weeks later, on September 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry, as Francis Scott Key wrote of “bombs bursting in air.”

Two months later, November 16, 1814, President Madison wrote:

“The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war

a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a Day of Public Humiliation and Fasting and of Prayer

to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace…

“I have deemed it proper…to recommend…a day of…humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe.”

James Madison stated at the Constitutional Convention, June 29, 1787 (Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. I (1911, p. 465):

“In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body.

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.

The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.

Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”

Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47 (January 30, 1788):

“The accumulation of all powers, Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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The SECOND Great Awakening

The SECOND Great AwakeningAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

In his Memorandum Book, Jefferson noted:

“I have subscribed to the building of an Episcopalian church, two hundred dollars; a Presbyterian church, sixty dollars, and a Baptist church, twenty-five.”

The Boston newspaper Christian Watchman, July 14, 1826, printed an unverified story of Jefferson dining at Monticello before the Revolution with Baptist Pastor Andrew Tribble.

According to the story, Jefferson remarked of Baptist church government that he “considered it the only form of pure democracy that exists in the world…It would be the best plan of government for the American colonies.”

Jefferson ‘organized’ a church, as Julian P. Boyd recorded in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, drafting “Subscriptions to Support a Clergyman in Charlottesville,” February 1777, which stated:

“We the subscribers… desirous of encouraging and supporting the Calvinistical Reformed church, and of deriving to ourselves, through the ministry of its teachers, the benefits of Gospel knowledge and religious improvement…by regular education for explaining the holy scriptures…

Approving highly the political conduct of the Revd. Charles Clay, who, early rejecting the tyrant and tyranny of Britain, proved his religion genuine by its harmonies with the liberties of mankind…

and, conforming his public prayers to the spirit and the injured rights of his country, ever addressed the God of battles for victory to our arms…

We expect that the said Charles Clay shall perform divine service and preach a sermon in the town of Charlottesville on every 4th…Sunday or oftener if a regular rotation with the other churches…will admit a more frequent attendance.

And we further mutually agree with each other that we will meet at Charlottesville…every year…and there make a choice by ballot of three wardens to collect our said subscriptions…for the use of our church.”

Jefferson noted in his Memorandum Book, August 15, 1779:

“Pd. Revd. Charles Clay in consideration of parochial services.”

The Calvinistical Reformed Church met in the Albemarle Courthouse for seven years.

It ceased meeting after subscribers Philip Mazzei and John Harvie moved away, and Thomas Jefferson, depressed after the death of his wife and several children, sailed to France in 1783 as an ambassador.

Virginia’s religious revival continued as part of the Second Great Awakening.

Methodist evangelist Jesse Lee, who traveled a circle of cities, reported in 1787 the “circuits that had the greatest revival of religion” included Albermarle county.

Virtually all Baptist and Methodist churches were of mixed races.

In 1788, Rev. John Leland, a friend of Jefferson’s and pastor of Goldmine Baptist Church of Louisa, Virginia, personally baptized over 400.

In Charlottesville, attorney William Wirt wrote in 1795 of the preaching of Presbyterian Rev. James Waddell:

“Every heart in the assembly trembled in unision. His peculiar phrases that force of description that the original scene appeared to be, at that moment, acting before our eyes…

The effect was inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, and sobs, and shrieks of the congregation.”

James Madison, who was a member of St. Thomas Parish where Rev. James Waddell taught, exclaimed:

“He has spoiled me for all other preaching.”

Madison had Presbyterian preachers speak his Montpelier estate, such as Samuel Stanhope Smith and Nathaniel Irwin, of whom he wrote:

“Praise is in every man’s mouth here for an excellent discourse he this day preached to us.”

Methodist Rev. Lorenzo Dow, nicknamed “Crazy Dow,” traveled over ten thousand miles preaching to over a million people. His autobiography at one time was the 2nd best-selling book in America, exceeded only by the Bible.

Dow held a preaching camp meeting near Jefferson’s home, writing in his Journal that on April 17, 1804:

“I spoke in…Charlottesville near the President’s seat in Albermarle County…to about four thousand people, and one of the President’s daughters (Mary Jefferson Eppes) who was present.”

In the lawless Kentucky frontier, Rev. James McGready and his small church agreed in 1797:

“Therefore, we bind ourselves to observe the third Saturday of each month for one year as a day of fasting and prayer for the conversion of sinners in Logan County and throughout the world.

We also engage to spend one half hour every Saturday evening, beginning at the setting of the sun, and one half hour every Sabbath morning at the rising of the sun in pleading with God to revive His work.”

In June of 1800, 500 members of James McGready’s three congregations gathered at the Red River for a “camp meeting” lasting several days, similar to Scottish “Holy Fairs” where teams of open-air preachers rotated in a continuous stream of sermons.

On the final day:

“‘A mighty effusion of the Spirit’ came on everyone ‘and the floor was soon covered with the slain; their screams for mercy pierced the heavens.’”

In July of 1800, the congregation planned another camp meeting at the Gaspar River. Surpassing their expectations, 8,000 people arrived, some from over 100 miles away:

“The power of God seemed to shake the whole assembly. Towards the close of the sermon, the cries of the distressed arose almost as loud as his voice.

After the congregation was dismissed the solemnity increased, till the greater part of the multitude seemed engaged in the most solemn manner.

No person seemed to wish to go home-hunger and sleep seemed to affect nobody-eternal things were the vast concern.

Here awakening and converting work was to be found in every part of the multitude; and even some things strangely and wonderfully new to me.”

On AUGUST 7, 1801, though Kentucky’s largest city had less than 2,000 people, 25,000 showed up at revival meetings in Cane Ridge, Kentucky.

Arriving from as far away as Ohio, Tennessee, and the Indiana Territory, they heard the preaching of Barton W. Stone and other Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers.

Rev. Moses Hodge described:

“Nothing that imagination can paint, can make a stronger impression upon the mind, than one of those scenes.

Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress, for sinners or in raptures of joy!…

As to the work in general there can be no question but it is of God. The subjects of it, for the most part are deeply wounded for their sins, and can give a clear and rational account of their conversion.”

Prior to the Revolution, the FIRST Great Awakening was led by Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and other preachers who helped start the University of Pennsylvania (1740), Princeton (1746), Brown (1764), Rutgers (1766), and Dartmouth (1770).

The SECOND Great Awakening led to the conversion of a third of Yale’s student body through the efforts of its President Timothy Dwight.

Spreading to other colleges, hundreds of students entered the ministry and pioneered the foreign missions movement.

Young men, along with the first women missionaries, were sent to the American West, and as far away as Burma and Hawaii.

The Second Great Awakening contributed to the founding of the American Bible Society, the Society for the Promotion of Temperance, the Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ and the Seventh-Day Adventists.

Christians helped reform prisons, cared for the handicapped and mentally ill, and worked to abolish slavery.

George Addison Baxter, a skeptical professor at Washington Academy in Virginia, published an account of his travels throughout Kentucky, which was printed in the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, March of 1802:

“The power with which this revival has spread, and its influence in moralizing the people, are difficult for you to conceive, and more so for me to describe….

I found Kentucky, to appearance, the most moral place I had ever seen. A profane expression was hardly ever heard. A religious awe seemed to pervade the country.

Never in my life have I seen more genuine marks of that humility which…looks to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of acceptance with God…”

Baxter continued:

“I was indeed highly pleased to find that Christ was all and in all in their religion… and it was truly affecting to hear with what agonizing anxiety awakened sinners inquired for Christ, as the only physician who could give them any help.

Those who call these things ‘enthusiasm,’ ought to tell us what they understand by the Spirit of Christianity….

Upon the whole, sir, I think the revival in Kentucky among the most extraordinary that have ever visited the Church of Christ, and all things considered, peculiarly adapted to the circumstances of that country…

Something of an extraordinary nature seemed necessary to arrest the attention of a giddy people, who were ready to conclude that Christianity was a fable, and futurity a dream.

This revival has done it; it has confounded infidelity, awed vice to silence, and brought numbers beyond calculation under serious impressions.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Madison, James

Toleration v Liberty


On June 12, 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted but not until its author, George Mason, and the committee had consented, at the urging of young James Madison, to an amendment of the 16th article. The article originally stated:

“That religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and convictions, and not by force or violence; and, therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise or religion, according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless, under the color of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or the safety of society; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity for each other.”


The difference between this article and the First Amendment, is between the free exercise of religion and toleration. Where did the young James Madison learn this principle? He learned from the Baptists and their persecution in Orange and Culpeper Counties, Virginia. Also this Declaration of Rights became the pattern of many other colonial declarations. Article 16 was the basis of the establishment and free exercise clauses of our federal Constitution.

May we never forget and may we pass on to our posterity that a vital part of our Baptist heritage involves religious liberty in America.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson and Cummins) p. 242.

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Leland_johnElder John Leland

The original “BIG CHEESE”

1801 – JEFFERSON WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT ON FEBRUARY 17, 1801 WITH THE SUPPORT OF MOST BAPTISTS WHICH LED TO THE ORIGINAL “BIG CHEESE” – Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the United States of America by the House of Representatives on the thirty-sixth ballot on February 17, 1801.  Aaron Burr who finished 2nd, automatically became Vice President. Elder John Leland had come to VA from Mass. to preach the gospel and to work hard for religious liberty.  He was a neighbor of James Madison and Jefferson.  Leland was active in the political arena and also expressed Baptist views of liberty of conscience while rallying Baptists in support of Madison as a delegate to the VA Constitutional Convention and later in his election to the House of Representatives.  Madison had promised the Baptists that if elected, he would introduce a Bill of Rights early in the first session of Congress.  Upon his return to Cheshire, Mass. Leland continued to support Jefferson, believing that America, at last, had a “people’s president” who understood the common man.  To further celebrate this event, one day all of the milk from nine hundred local, loyal Republican cows was collected and brought to Cheshire, where the population gathered to sing hymns, socialize, and make cheese.  They made a gigantic cheese wheel 4 ft, four and one-half inches in diameter, fifteen inches thick, and weighing 1,235 lbs.  Leland and Darius Brown, loaded it up and set off for Washington, D.C. by sleigh, horse and wagon, and sloop on the Hudson River, where they embarked for Baltimore.  Leland took advantage of the crowds that gathered to see the cheese and preached the gospel to them.  Upon arrival Jefferson warmly welcomed the Baptists to the executive mansion.  Leland said that the great cheese “was not made…with a view to gain (us) dignified titles or lucrative offices, but by the personal labor of freeborn farmers, without a single slave to assist, for an elective president of a free people.”  Leland stayed for several days having arrived on Jan. 1, 1802.  On Sunday the 3rd he preached at a religious service that was held weekly at the Capitol during Jefferson’s administration.  Federalist congressman Manessah Cutler, also a minister complained that he had to sit and  listen to such a “poor, ignorant, illiterate cheesemonger” and later wrote that Leland’s sermon was “a farrago bawled with stunning voice, horrid tone, frightful grimaces and extravagant gestures.”  The cheese graced White House parties for many months.  One source said that it lasted until a presidential reception in 1805.  Rumor says that the remainder was dumped in the Potomac.  Thought the Cheshire Cheese is small compared to the modern record of 34,591 lb. cheddar displayed at the N.Y. World’s Fair for the WI Cheese Foundation, it will always remain as the Original Big Cheese that coined the phrase.  It is memorialized in concrete near the post office on Church Street in Cheshire, Mass.  Baptists influenced statesmen to stand against state-established religion, but never did they favor a wall of separation between the state and the influence of biblical principles.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 65.

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Madison, James

James Madison implores for liberty

1774 –  JAMES MADISON WRITES ON BEHALF OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN VIRGINIA – On January 24, 1774, as a citizen of Orange County Va., James Madison wrote: “Union of religious sentiments begets a surprising confidence and ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitates the execution of mischievous projects…I want to again breathe your free air…Poverty and luxury prevail among all sorts; pride, ignorance and knavery among the priesthood, and vice and wickedness among the laity…but it is not the worst…That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and, to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such purposes. This vexes me the worst of anything…There are at this time in the adjacent county not less than five or six well-meaning men in close jail for publishing their religious sentiments, which, in the main, are very orthodox…I have squabbled and scolded, abused and ridiculed so long about it, to little purpose, that I am without common patience. So I must beg you to pity me, and pray for liberty of conscience to all.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from:  Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/   Pg.  32

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Baptist were never called Protestants until the last twenty years the SBC has called themselves Protestants. Protestants were those denominations that were in the Catholic church and protested the abuses and split off and became the daughters of Catholicism. The Baptists were never a part of the Catholic Church and therefore did not protest and come out from her. The book “The Trail of Blood” by Elder J.M. Carroll is very clear on this matter.


Madison, JamesJames Madison


Protestantism produced tyranny not liberty


1758 – The General Assembly, meeting at Savannah, Georgia, passed a law making the Church of England the church of the Province. In early Virginia, Massachusetts, and several other colonies, laws were enacted to support an established church by taxes, to compel church attendance, and to forbid the worshiping of dissenting sects. Some type of state church was to be found in all five southern colonies, as well as in three New England provinces: Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. In South Carolina as early as 1706, the Board of Trade approved a new law establishing the Church of England with support from the public funds. In North Carolina in 1732, a law was passed establishing the Church of England. The Puritans had established a theocracy in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. In time the Puritan churches were called Congregational churches. We need to give thanks to God for the First Amendment, knowing that it is the product of the Baptist input of James Madison, “Congress shall make no Law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Thomas Jefferson’s statement to the Danbury Baptists concerning the “Wall of Separation” pertained to keeping the government out of the affairs of the church, not to keep the church from influencing government. It was never meant to remove all religion and morals from society as many are interpreting it today. It is true that “When church and state marry, justice will miscarry”, but we should never forget that, “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord. (Ps. 33:12).
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 14-15.



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296 – Oct. 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Oct. 23, 1808 – In their associational meeting at Waggoner’s Creek in New Providence, Mississippi, the messengers discussed the fact that the Salem Baptist Church building had been constructed on public land, and what steps needed to be taken to secure title. In  1811, the members of the church petitioned the U.S. Congress for special legislation to enable them to purchase the land where the building was erected. Congress passed the legislation and it went to President James Madison for his signature but he vetoed the bill with the following explanation. First he commended the Baptists in their desire to preserve the separation of religion and state with these words, “Among the various religious societies in our country, none has been more vigilant and consistent in maintaining that distinction…of which you make a part. He then vetoed the bill, making it clear that Salem Baptist was not seeking a gift from government but only a legal remedy for their situation. It must be remembered that it was James Madison who, at the insistence of John Leland and the Baptists in Virgina had composed the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted in 1789. Madison considered selling public property to the church as violating the clause, “respecting the establishment of religion.”  The problem was solved when a member Salem Baptist purchased the land and then sold it to the membership of the church. [John T. Christian, A History of the Baptists (Nashville: Boardman Press, 1922), 2:338. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 579-81.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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220 – August 08 – This Day in Baptist History Past


1st Amendment – The Baptist influence


 1789 – The General Committee of Virginia Baptists wrote a letter to President George Washington commending him on his election and explaining again their position on religious liberty.  In it they stated the reason they were reluctant to support the U.S. Constitution was the absence of the security of religious freedom but that they were sure that the President would personally guarantee those rights.  Washington wrote back that he would.  However a month later, James Madison brought the first amendment, guaranteeing those rights before that first Congress.  It had the “finger-prints” of John Leland, the famed Baptist preacher from Virginia, all over it.  The amendment grew out of a conference between Rev. John Leland and James Madison. The state of Virginia has marked the historical site with a Leland-Madison State Park on Highway 20 in Orange County, Virginia. [Robert A. Baker, A Baptist Source Book (Nashville:Broadman Press, 1966), pp. 43-44. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp 433-35.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon



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In a publication called Sightler Publications of Greenville, S.C., additional confirmation has been given of the historic meeting between Rev. John Leland and James Madison, the Father of the US Constitution.  The Baptists of Virginia, along with Patrick Henry, initially stood in opposition to the ratification of the constitution.  Our  forefathers feared a constitution that did not provide safeguards against limiting the powers of a centralized government.  Without clear assurance that government could impose a “state church” upon the entire nation!  With Leland’s mind and Henry’s oratory they were sure to defeat the ratification of the constitution when it came before the Virginia state convention if they were elected delegates from Orange Co.  When Madison, also from Orange, Co. was told by Joseph Spencer that the Baptists opposed ratification he went to see Leland at his house.  Madison agreed, that if elected to append a Bill of Rights to the constitution, including a First Amendment to prevent of an official “state church.”  Leland withdrew his name and threw his support to Madison for delegate.  Ratification was by 19 votes, 187-168.  Two witnesses confirm that such a meeting did take place between Rev. Leland and Madison, George Nixon Briggs, a Baptist and Gov. of MA, who spoke to Leland in 1837, and John Strode Barbour, a native of Orange, Co.  This is Chronicled in an article by Samuel Chiles Mitchell, Prof. at the U. of Richmond, which appeared in the Religious Herald of Oct. 18, 1934, entitled James Madison and His Co-worker John Leland.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 37-39.

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