Heritage of the Founding Fathers
Heritage of the Founding Fathers

The New England Primer
And the affect it had on a nation
Josh Pittman

bad ethics, and sad morals.  When this generation of kids grows up to lead tomorrow, their decisions will be based on what they have been taught.  If they have been taught through incorrect textbooks, the decisions they make as leaders will produce many unlikable consequences.

Textbooks were not always this way, though.  For nearly two centuries, many grade students learned their school as well as moral lessons from the book, The New England Primer.  Meant to teach students to read, this book was used by many prominent men, some of whom were America’s Founding Fathers.  This book had a great impact on generations of students and leaders.

Look at how letters were taught to elementary students:

N.  Noah did view
    The old world and new.

P.  Peter denied
    His Lord and cried.

W.  Wales in the sea,
      God’s voice obey.

Z.  Zaccheus he
   Did climb the tree
   Our Lord to see.

As can be seen from this example, the alphabet alone was not the only lesson school kids received from this book.  The New England Primer also taught good morals through Bible lessons.  The book also contained many questions such as:

Who was the first man?    Adam
Who was the oldest man?Methuselah
Who is Jesus Christ?       The son of God.

The questions did not stop there.  Consider the difficulty for elementary students to answer these questions:

What is the chief end of man?Man’s chief end is to glorify God and
     enjoy Him forever.

What do the Scriptures principally teach?The Scriptures principally teach what
man is to believe concerning God, and what
duty God requireth of man.

What is God?God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom,
    power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

These questions would be asked of a typical schoolchild beginning
to read.  The New England Primer also contained the Lord’s Prayer
along with other prayers for students.  When reading through this
textbook one sees the impact the Bible had on it.

If one looks at the Founding Fathers’ writings, speeches, and the
documents written by them, one sees that the lessons of The New
England Primer had their affect and helped shape, in the Founding
Fathers’ case, a nation.  Consider the statements of these prominent
Founding Fathers:

John Adams wrote: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the
Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts
there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and
industry; to justice, kindness and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and
reverence toward Almighty God… What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”3

“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach
the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God.”  Gouverneur Morris3

“My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested
to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away
my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!”  Benjamin Rush3

“But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human
probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under
me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!” 
George Washington 3

Students need to be taught in a Godly way that will bring about a generation with Godly
morals.  America needs to go back to the one source that made her great – God and the Bible.  Textbooks need to be rid of the wrong ethics and replaced with Godly teachings.  By influencing today’s school kids, we are shaping the world of tomorrow.


1.  Mansfield, Stephen.  More Than Dates & Dead People.  Cumberland House, Nashville, TN.  © 2000.

2.  The New England Primer.  Wallbuilder Press, Aledo, TX.  © 2003.

3.  Federer, William.  America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations.  AmeriSearch

“The future is always built out of the materials of the past.”1  This quote, by Booker T. Washington, speaks truth to many areas of life including schooling.  What students are taught in the classroom will be the building blocks of the next government and society. 

In American education it is essential that the values, morals, and lessons that are taught be good materials that promote a lifetime of wholesome, Godly, principles.  Without this, one can be assured the next generation will not see its greatest potential and will become corrupt and bad.

Unfortunately, in public schools of today, the textbooks are filled with teachings that instill in school kids wrong principals,