“The divine science of politicks is the science of social happiness, and the blessings of society depend entirely on the constitutions of government, which are generally institutions that last for many generations, there can be no employment more agreeable to a benevolent mind, than a research after the best.”
“Thoughts on Government”
John Adams, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry may not have been among the most prominent or well-liked founders, but they still made meaningful contributions to the founding of the United States. Adams served as the second President of the United States, Paine wrote the most widely read pamphlet of the Revolutionary period, and Henry served as the Governor of Virginia twice.
In these documents, John Adams reflects on the just end of government and the necessary components of a national constitution. Both were written before the Declaration of Independence was signed in July of 1776, and Adams is already thinking about long-term plans for the new nation.
Arguably the most influential pamphlet in American history, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense inspired many colonists to support independence from Britain. The selections here are some of the strongest arguments against the British form of government. In the first chapter of Age of Reason, Paine discusses the negative effects of state-established churches.
In this letter, Patrick Henry acknowledges the evil of slavery and admits his unwillingness to free his own slaves for the sake of “general inconvenience.”
A devout Christian, Henry advocated a tax to support Christian education in Virginia. He also believed that religion was essential aspect of a strong society.