Travels in America, 1807
"At about 11 o'clock, his excellency [Governor Jonathan Trumbull] entered the statehouse and shortly after took his place at the head of a procession which was made to a meetinghouse or church at something less than half a mile distance. The procession was on foot and was composed of the person of the government, together with the lieutenant-governor, assistants, high-sheriffs, members of the lower house of assembly, and unless with accidental exceptions, all the clergy of the State... The pulpit or, as it is called, the desk, was filled by three if not four clergymen; a number which, by its form and dimensions, it was able to accommodate. Of these, one opened the service with a prayer; another delivered a sermon; a third made a concluding prayer, and a fourth pronounced a benediction. Several hymns were sung; and, among others, an occasional one [a special one for that occasion]. The total number of singers was between forty and fifty. The sermon, as will be supposed, touched upon matters of government. When all was finished, the procession returned to the statehouse."
A Moral and Political Sketch of the United States, 1833
"It must be admitted that looking at the physiognomy [discernible character] of the United States, its religion is the only feature which disgusts a foreigner... There is no country in which the people as in the United States; to the eyes of a foreigner they even appear to be too much so... The great number of religious societies existing in the United States is truly surprising: there are some of them for every thing; for instance, societies to distribute the Bible; to distribute tracts; to encourage religious journals; to convert, civilize, educate the savages; to marry the preachers; to take care of their widows and orphans; to preach, extend, purify, preserve, reform the faith; to build chapels, endow congregations, support seminaries; catechize and convert sailors, Negroes, and loose women; to secure the observance of Sunday and prevent blasphemy by prosecuting the violators; to establish Sunday schools where young ladies teach reading and the catechism to little rogues, male and female; to prevent drunkenness.... it is curious to observe the tranquillity which prevails in the United States."
Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America, 1835
"Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things.
In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.
Religion in America...must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief.
I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religionfor who can search the human heart?But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man.
Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God....
Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.
In the United States the sovereign authority is religious,... there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect [denomination], this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together [Christianity], every one abandons him and he remains alone.
I do not question that the great austerity of manners that is observable in the United States arises, in the first instance, from religious faith... its influence over the mind of woman is supreme, and women are the protectors of morals. There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated...
In the United States the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people....
Christianity, therefore reigns without obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate...
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.
The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflictsthe cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
They brought with them... a form of Christianity, which I cannot better describe, than by styling it a democratic and republican religion.... From the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved."
Society in America, 1837
"The institutions of America are, as I have said, planted down deep into Christianity. Its spirit must make an effectual pilgrimage through a society of which it may be called a native; and no mistrust of its influences can forever intercept that spirit in its mission of denouncing anomalies, exposing hypocrisy, rebuking faithlessness, raising and communing with the outcast, and driving out sordidness [vileness] from the circuit of this, the most glorious temple of society that has ever yet been reared."