Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
  • Born: January 17, 1706
  • Died: April 17, 1790
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Benjamin Franklin FRS FRSE was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Adam Zamoyski Apostle of liberty.
Anonymous the heretical rod
Anonymous Moses
Abigail Adams I found him [Benjamin Franklin] social but not talkative, and when he spoke something useful dropped from his tongue.
John Adams Modesty is a virtue that can never thrive in public …. A man must be his own trumpeter—he must write or dictate paragraphs of praise in the newspapers; he must dress, have a retinue and equipage; he must ostentatiously publish to the world his own writings with his name, make the mob stare and gape, and perpetuate his fame.
John Adams [Benjamin Franklin's life was:] ... one continued insult to good manners and decency.
John Adams That I have no friendship for Franklin I avow. That I am incapable of having any with a man of his moral sentiments I avow. As far as fate shall compel me to sit with him in public affairs, I shall treat him with decency and perfect impartiality.
John White Chadwick Of the six men who have done most to make America the wonder and the joy she is to all of us, not one could be the citizen of a government so constituted; for Washington and Franklin and Jefferson, certainly the three mightiest leaders in our early history, were heretics in their day, Deists, as men called them; and Garrison and Lincoln and Sumner, certainly the three mightiest in these later times, would all be disfranchised by the proposed amendment. Lincoln could not have taken the oath of office had such a clause been in the Constitution.
George III … the evil genius of the revolution.
George III … that insidious man
Thomas Jefferson I was sitting by Dr. Franklin who perceived that I was not insensitive to these mutilations.
Thomas Jefferson Will Doctor Franklin be so good as to peruse it and suggest such alterations as his more enlarged view of the subject will dictate?
Thomas Jefferson I succeed him. No one can replace him.
Thomas Jefferson I never heard either of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to any but the main point which was to decide the question. They laid their shoulders to the great points, knowing that the little ones would follow of themselves.
Marie Antoinette Le Ambassador Electrique
Mike McGrath Philadelphia: The city where Washington slept and Franklin slept around.
Arthur Lee … the most corrupt of all corrupt men.
Anonymous Don't tread on me
Michael W. Zuckerman Benjamin Franklin was probably America’s first juvenile delinquent.
Anonymous Dr. Doubleface
Anonymous Coiffure a la Franklin
Anne Robert Jacques Turgot He seized the lightning from Heaven and the scepter from the Tyrants.
Anonymous To Counterfeit is Death
George Washington If to be venerated for benevolence, if to be admired for talents, if to be esteemed for patriotism, if to be beloved for philanthropy, can gratify the human mind, you must have the pleasing consolation to know that you have not lived in vain.
Quote Topics Cited
... a bird of questionable moral character. Miscellaneous
... always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes ... absolutely out of his senses. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
… when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? Human Nature
A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district ... are the principle support of virtue, morality and civil liberty. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A great Want of Money in any Trading Country, occasions Interest to be at a very high Rate… it is impossible by any Laws to restrain Men from giving and receiving exorbitant Interest, where Money is suitably scarce: For he that wants Money will find out Ways Regulation & Deregulation
A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
A plentiful Currency will occasion Interest to be low …. many that understand Business very well, but have not a Stock sufficient of their own, will be encouraged to borrow Money; to trade with, when they can have it at a moderate Interest. Money, Coins & Minting
A Plowman on his knees is higher than a Gentleman on his legs. Equality & Equal Opportunity
A plural Legislature is as necessary to good Government as a single Executive. It is not enough that your Legislature should be numerous; it should also be divided. Numbers alone are not a sufficient Barrier against the Impulses of Passion, the Combinations of Interest, the Intrigues of Faction, the Haste of Folly, or the Spirit of Encroachment. One Division should watch over and control the other, supply its Wants, correct its Blunders, and cross its Designs, should they be made up of the Portions of Sense and Knowledge which each Member brings to it. Legislating & Legislative Process
A republic—if you can keep it. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
A young state, like a young virgin, should modestly stay at home, and wait the application of suitors for an alliance with her; and not run about offering her amity to all the world, and hazarding their refusal. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
All religions must be tolerated. Every man must get to heaven in his own way. Religion & God
America, a virgin state, should preserve the virgin character. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
American Philosophical Society Miscellaneous
Are these men, women, and children slaves? Are they free? Is their condition that of men, women, and children, or of property, or is it a mixed relation? What their status was under the constitution and laws, we all know. What has been the effect of a rebellion and a state of war upon that status? When I adopted the theory of treating the able-bodied negro fit to work in the trenches as property liable to be used in aid of rebellion, and so contraband of war, that condition of things was in-so-far met, as I then and still believe, on a legal and constitutional basis. But now a new series of questions arise. Passing by women, the children, certainly, cannot be treated on that basis; if property, they must be considered the incumbrance rather than the auxiliary of an army, and, of course, in no possible legal relation could be treated as contraband. Are they property? If they were so, they have been left by their masters and owners, deserted, thrown away, abandoned, like the wrecked vessel upon the ocean. Their former possessors and owners have causelessly, traitorously, rebelliously, and, to carry out the figure, practically abandoned them to be swallowed up by the winter storm of starvation. If property, do they not become the property of salvors? But we, their salvors, do not need and will not hold such property, and will assume no such ownership: has not, therefore, all proprietary relation ceased? Have they not become, thereupon, men, women, and children? Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
As to those who have no landed property, ... the allowing them to vote for legislators is an impropriety. Voters, Voting & Elections
Britain without us you can grow no stronger. We can grow tenfold without her. Development & Growth
Can the pleasure of sweetening our tea with sugar grown by slaves make up for all the misery produced among our fellow creatures, the butchery of the human species by this detestable traffic in the bodies and souls of men? Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Children when irregularly produced are a cause of great inconvenience. Families, Children & Parenting
Convert the brave, honest officers of your navy into pimping tide-waiters and colony officers of the customs. Let those, who in time of war fought bravely in defense of the commerce of their countrymen, in peace be taught to prey upon it, Let them learn to be corrupted by great and real smugglers; but (to show their diligence) scour with … boats every bay, harbor, river, creek, cove or nook throughout the coast of your colonies, stop and detain every coaster, every wood boat, every fisherman …. O! This will work admirably! Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Creditors have better memories than debtors. Human Nature
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! Democracies & Republics
Double Spectacles Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Each Country have their peculiar most suitable Productions; and likewise that different Men have Genius's adapted to Variety of different Arts and Manufactures, Therefore Commerce, or the Exchange of one Commodity or Manufacture for another, is highly convenient and beneficial to Mankind Business, Commerce & Finance
Even peace may be purchased at too high a price. War & Peace
Federal officials should serve without pay. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
For every one of my Black soldiers who may be murdered by their captors, two Rebel soldiers shall hang. Military & Veterans ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
France is the most civilized country there is. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Miscellaneous
France is the most civilized country there is. Miscellaneous
Geese are but Geese tho' we may think 'em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho' it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful. Human Nature
God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid. Religion & God
Gulf Stream Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Half a truth is often a great lie. Truth ;Miscellaneous
have uniformly quitted that Country [America] for Europe, where they may be more suitably rewarded. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. Human Nature
He means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes and in some things absolutely out of his senses. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
He that trades with Money he hath borrowed at 8 or 10 per Cent cannot hold Market with him that borrows his Money at 6 or 4. Business, Commerce & Finance
Here comes the orator with his flood of words and his drop or reason. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Hereafter when any female shall by word, gesture, or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation. Minorities & Women
Honesty is the best policy. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
How many, even of the better sort, would choose to be slaves to those above them, provided they might exercise an arbitrary and tyrannical rule over all below them? Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Human Nature ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such;… I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution….It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. Corruption
I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country; and the least appearance of an encroachment on those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil exceedingly. Freedom & Liberty
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. Poverty
I am old and good for nothing, but as the store-keepers say of their remnants of cloth, I am but a fag end, and you may have me for what you please to give. Diplomacy & Diplomats
I cannot help expressing a wish that every member ... doubt a little of his own infallibility ... and put his name on this instrument. Legislating & Legislative Process
I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve of them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise .... In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such .... I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I consent to this constitution because I can expect no better. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I declined it. As we enjoy great advantage from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I have long observed one Rule .... It is simply this, to be concern'd in no Affairs that I should blush to have made publick, and to do nothing but what spies may see ... Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
I have made it a policy not to draft documents that will be reviewed by a public body. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
I have often ... looked at that sun behind the President, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising sun and not a setting sun. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I join with you most cordially in rejoicing at the return of peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason to settle their differences without cutting throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. War & Peace
I live on civil terms with Mr. Adams but not on intimate ones. Diplomacy & Diplomats
I myself have constantly refused to print anything that might countenance vice or promote immorality, though … I might have gotten much money. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
I propose for the sake of the city I love an effective way of cleaning the streets. Public Works & Natural Resources
I was born in America and have lived a long time in England. I wish prosperity to both. Citizenship & Patriotism
I was never able to master the virtue of humility but I was able to master the appearance of humility. Public Relations & Image
I wish to see the discovery of a plan that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without cutting one another's throats. Diplomacy & Diplomats
I, therefore, beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service History
Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may avenge myself on all other Indians? Discrimination & Prejudice
If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the law and shall cheerfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself. Freedom & Liberty
If I were to discover that my valet was I spy, I shouldn’t discharge him for that fact—assuming he was a good valet. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
If my countrymen should ever wish for the honour of having among them a gentry enormously wealthy, let them sell their Farms & pay rack's rents; the Scale of the Landlords will rise as the tenants is depress'd, who will soon become poor, tattered, dirty and abject in Spirit. Miscellaneous
If printers (publishers) only printed that which everyone liked, there would be very little printed Media, Journalism & The Press
If then your father had no right to grant the privileges he pretended to grant, and published all over Europe as granted, those who came to settle in the province ... were deceived, cheated, and betrayed. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If we look back into history for the character of the present sects of Christianity, we shall find that few have not in their turn been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. Religion & God
If we vote equally, we ought to pay equally. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
If you want to know the value of money, try and borrow some. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth the reading, or do things worth the writing. History ;Literature, Writers & Writing
Impeachment of the Chief Executive is essential to avoid political assassination when the Executive has rendered himself obnoxious Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
In America we have no need of kings. Democracies & Republics
In America, the people govern. States. Nations & Nationhood
In another century, the greatest number of Englishmen would be on this side of the Atlantic. Development & Growth
In rivers and bad governments, the lightest things swim to the top Leaders & Leadership
In the affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by want of it. Religion & God
In the Colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Scrip. We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers. In this manner, creating for ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay to anyone. Money, Coins & Minting
In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own.... Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. Freedom & Liberty
It has pleased God to show man the way to proect his home from lightening. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It is hard to make an empty sack stand upright. Poverty
It is impossible we should think of submission to a government that has with the most wanton barbarity and cruelty our defenseless towns … excited the savages to massacre our peaceful farmers, and our slaves to murder their masters, and is even now bringing foreign mercenaries to deluge our settlements in blood. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
It is supposed an undoubted right of Englishmen not to be taxed but by their own consent given through their representatives. Taxes
It would be a very strange thing if six nations of ignorant savages [the Iroquois] could be capable or forming a scheme for such a union ... and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary. States. Nations & Nationhood
It would be improper to put it in the power of any Man to negative a Law passed by the Legislature because it would give him the control of the Legislature Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
It would be the best way … to provide in the Constitution for the regular punishment of the executive, where his misconduct should deserve it, and for his honorable acquittal, where he should be unjustly accused. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Join or Die Miscellaneous
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. Government ;Legislating & Legislative Process
Lawyers, and others concerned in Court Business, will probably many of them be against a plentiful Currency; because People in that Case will have less Occasion to run in Debt, and consequently less Occasion to go to Law and Sue one another for their Debts. Tho' I know some even among these Gentlemen, that regard the Publick Good before their own apparent private Interest. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Libraries have improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed, in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Lies here food for the worms yet the work shall not be lost. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Long did I endeavor … to preserve from breaking that fine and noble vase, the British Empire; for I knew that, being once broken, the separate parts could not retain even their share of the strength or value that existed in the whole. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Mad wars destroy in one year the works of many years of peace. War & Peace
Mankind naturally and generally love to be flattered. Human Nature
Many a long dispute among divines [theologians] may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Men will always be powerfully influenced in their Opinions and Actions by what appears to be their particular Interest. Human Nature
middling people Miscellaneous
Mind Your Business Money, Coins & Minting
Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that where ever others differ from them it is so far error. Religion & God
Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error… the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Most regulation of trade is by artful men for private advantage under the pretense of public good Regulation & Deregulation
Mr. President, I have gone very carefully over my calculations as to the power of the country to export the Negroes of the South and I assure you that, using all your naval vessels and all the merchant marines fit to cross the seas with safety, it will be impossible for you to transport to the nearest place that can be found fit for them—and that is the Island of San Domingo, half as fast as Negro children will be born here. Immigration & Emigration
My unpleasantness was political, not personal. I don't believe in carrying political disputes into social life. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Necessity never made a good bargain. Policy & Policy Making
Never contradict anybody. Legislating & Legislative Process
Never pick a quarrel with someone who buys their ink in barrels. Media, Journalism & The Press
No nation was ever ruined by trade. Foreign Trade
No salaries should be allowed the public Officers, but that their necessary expenses should be defrayed. This would make Men, he said, more desirous of obtaining the Esteem of their Country-men, than avaricious or eager in the pursuit of wealth. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty.
One man of tolerable Abilities may work great Changes, and accomplish great Affairs among Mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and … makes the execution of that same plan his sole Study and Business. Management & Managing Government
Others can rule, many can fight, but only Thomas Paine can write for us the English tongue. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Our cause is the cause of all mankind. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes. Taxes
Our own laziness taxes us more than kings... Taxes
People do not inquire concerning a Stranger, What is he? but What can he do? If he has any useful art, he is welcome, and if he exercises it, and behaves well, he will be respected by all that know him; but a mere Man of Quality, who on that account, wants to live upon the Public, by some Office or Salary, who will be despised and disregarded. Immigration & Emigration
Printers are educated in the Belief that when Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter. Hence they cheerfully serve all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute. . . .It is likewise as unreasonable what some assert, That Printers ought not to print anything but what they approve, since if all of that Business should make such a Resolution, and abide by it, an End would thereby be put to Free Writing, and the World would afterwards have nothing to read but what happen'd to be the Opinions of Printers. Freedom & Liberty
Public men are all amenable to the tribunal of the press in a free state. The greater, indeed, their trust, the more respectable are they. Media, Journalism & The Press
Reasonable, sensible men can always make a reasonable scheme appear such to other reasonable men. Negotiating & Negotiations
Revealed religion had no weight with me. Religion & God
Since the foolish part of mankind will make wars, from time to time, with each other, not having sense enough otherwise to settle their differences, it certainly becomes the wiser part, who cannot prevent these wars, to alleviate as much as possible the calamities attending them. War & Peace
The authority of Parliament is valid in all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes; it was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce; The Americans would never submit to the Stamp Act, or to any other tax on the same principle; North America would contribute to the support of Great Britain if engaged in a war in Europe Taxes
The chairman of a committee should be in harmony with the majority who constitute it. Legislating & Legislative Process
The events of war are subject to great uncertainty. War & Peace
The execution of the Stamp Act will be impractical, without occasioning more mischief that it was worth by totally alienating the affections of the Americans. Policy & Policy Making
The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterward. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The Fugitive Slave Act does not affect a foreign country which Virginia claims to be. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men in all ages as the surest foundation of happiness. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The only consolation under the evil is, that the public debt is proportionately diminished by the depreciation; and this by a kind of imperceptible tax, every one having paid a part of it in the fall of value that took place between the receiving and paying such sums as passed through his hands… This effect of paper currency is not understood this side the water (Europe). And indeed the whole is a mystery even to the politicians, how we have been able to continue a war four years without money, and how we could pay with paper, that had no previously fixed fund appropriated specially to redeem it. This currency, as we manage it, is a wonderful machine. It performs its office when we issue it; it pays and clothes troops, and provides victuals and ammunition. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The people happen to love me. Forgive your friend a little vanity as it's only between ourselves ... You are now ready to tell me that popular fame is a most uncertain thing. You are right. I blush at having valued myself so much upon it. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The people would think I was a fool for not having taken twice as much. Corruption
The prosperity created at home and overseas by free expansion [of foreign trade] was infinitely greater than could be coaxed by restrictive mercantilism. Foreign Trade
The Riches of a Country are to be valued by the Quantity of Labour its Inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the Quantity of Silver and Gold they possess Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The single head may be sick. Who is to conduct the public affairs in that case? When he dies, who are to conduct until a new election? Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The small Progress we have made after 4 or 5 Weeks close Attendance and continual Reasonings with each other, our different Sentiments on almost every Question, several of the last producing as many Noes as Ayes, is methinks a melancholy Proof of the Imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own Want of political Wisdom, since we have been running all about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient History for Models of Government, and examin’d the different Forms of those Republicks, which, having been originally form’d with the Seeds of their own Dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have view’d modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our Circumstances. In this Situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find Political Truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not, hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our Understandings? In the Beginning of the Contest with Britain, when we were sensible of Danger, we had daily Prayers in this Room for the Divine Protection! Our Prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engag’d in the Struggle, must have observ’d frequent Instances of a Superintending Providence in our Favour. To that kind Providence we owe this happy Opportunity of Consulting in Peace on the Means of establishing our future national Felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its Assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth, That GOD governs in the Affairs of Men! And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local Interests, our Projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and a Byeword down to future Ages. And what is worse, Mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate Instance, despair of establishing Government by human Wisdom, and leave it to Chance, War and Conquest. I therefore beg leave to move, That henceforth Prayers, imploring the Assistance of Heaven, and its Blessing on our Deliberations, be held in this Assembly every Morning before we proceed to Business; and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service. [Note by Dr. Franklin] The Convention except three or four Persons, thought Prayers unnecessary! Religion & God
The sun of liberty is set; you must light up the candle of industry and economy. Development & Growth
The way to feel safe is never to feel secure. Defense & National Security
The white traders keep these poor Indians continually under the force of liquor. They entirely estrange the affections of the Indians from the English. Minorities & Women ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
There is … no minister who would not think it safer to act by orders than from his own discretion. Diplomacy & Diplomats
There is a certain proportionate Quantity of Money requisite to carry on the Trade of a Country freely and currently; More than which would be of no Advantage in Trade, and Less, if much less, exceedingly detrimental to it…. Want of Money in a Country discourages Laboring and Handicrafts Men (which are the chief Strength and Support of a People) from coming to settle in it, and induces many that were settled to leave the Country Money, Coins & Minting
There is no little enemy. War & Peace
This (the U.S. Constitution) is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Those [German immigrants] who come hither are generally the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own nation …. They will soon so out-number us … that we will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious. English, Languages & Bilingualism
Those who are lovers of trade and delight to see manufacturing encouraged will be for having a large addition to our currency. Money, Coins & Minting
Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion. Legislating & Legislative Process
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Freedom & Liberty
Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Secrecy & Transparency
Time is money. Time ;Business, Commerce & Finance ;Money, Coins & Minting
Tis easy to see, hard to foresee. Human Nature
To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. Miscellaneous
To err is human but it feels divine. Human Nature
Today is Yesterday's Pupil History
Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore. Miscellaneous
Want of Money in a Country discourages Labouring and Handicrafts Men (which are the chief Strength and Support of a People) from coming to settle in it, and induces many that were settled to leave the Country, and seek Entertainment and Employment in other Places, where they can be better paid …. A Plentiful Currency will encourage great Numbers of Labouring and Handicrafts Men to come and Settle in the Country Immigration & Emigration
We Are One Money, Coins & Minting
We assemble parliaments and councils, to have the benefit of their collected wisdom; but we necessarily have, at the same time, the inconvenience of their collected passions, prejudices and private interests. Legislating & Legislative Process
We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal … Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
We hold these truths to be self-evident … Development & Growth
We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
We must not in the course of public life expect immediate approbation and immediate grateful acknowledgement of our services. But let us persevere through abuse and even injury. The internal satisfaction of a good conscience is always present, and time will do us justice. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
What is the Proportion of Freemen possessing Lands and Houses of one thousand Pounds' value, compared to that of Freemen whose Possessions are inferior? Are they as one to ten? Are they even as one to twenty? I should doubt whether they are as one to fifty. If this minority is to choose a Body expressly to control that which is to be chosen by the great Majority of the Freemen, what have this great Majority done to forfeit so great a Portion of their Right in Elections? Why is this Power of Control, contrary to the spirit of all Democracies, to be vested in a Minority, instead of a Majority? Voters, Voting & Elections
What repeated follies are those repeated wars! You do not want to conquer and govern one another. Why, then, should you be continually employed in injuring and destroying one another? How many excellent things might have been done to promote the internal welfare of each country; what bridges, roads, canals, and other useful public works and institutions, tending to the common felicity, might have been made and established with the money and men foolishly spent during the last seven centuries by our mad wars in doing one another mischief! You are near neighbors, and each have very respectable qualities. Learn to be quiet and to respect each other's rights. You are all Christians. War & Peace
What use does a newborn infant have? Terrorism
Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame. Human Nature
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. Religion & God
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil powers, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one Religion & God
When men are employed, they are best contented. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the publick. Media, Journalism & The Press
When religious people quarrel about religion, or hungry people quarrel about victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them. Religion & God
When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water. Environment & Environmentalism
When truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Where liberty dwells, there is my country. Freedom & Liberty
Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements … Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us. Immigration & Emigration
Wish not so much to live long as to live well. Elderly, Aging. Old Age, Social Security & Pensions
With a plan and careful attention to details, we might some day build something even more beautiful than this building. We might build a nation men have only dreamed of-a nation founded on freedom for all and built to last forever. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Write with the learned. Pronounce with the vulgar. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
You are a Member of Parliament and one of that majority that has doomed my country to destruction. You have begun to burn our towns and murder our people. Look upon your hands! They are stained with the blood of your relatives. You and I were long friends: You are now my Enemy, and I am yours. Public Relations & Image
You are a member of Parliament, and one of the majority which has doomed my country to destruction. You have begun to burn our towns, and murder our people. Look upon your hands! They are stained with the blood of your relations! You and I were long friends: You are now my enemy, and I am, Yours, B. Franklin. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
A child thinks 20 shillings and 20 years can scarce ever be spent.
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
A false friend and a shadow attend only while the sun shines.
A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave. Life
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
A penny saved is a penny earned. Money, Coins & Minting
A penny saved is two pence clear.
A place for everything, everything in its place. Inspiration
Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.
All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.
All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. War & Peace
All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world. Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
An egg today is better than a hen to-morrow.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
And whether you're an honest man, or whether you're a thief, depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do.
Applause waits on success. Success
As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.
As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.
At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. New Years ;War & Peace
Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing. Friendship
Beauty and folly are old companions.
Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship. Business, Commerce & Finance
Beware the hobby that eats. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Motivation
Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
Danger is sauce for prayers.
Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.
Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. Failure
Don't throw stones at your neighbors if your own windows are glass.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good. Time
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure. Time
Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Fatigue is the best pillow.
For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.
For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly.
From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. Money, Coins & Minting
Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain: and it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.
Games lubricate the body and the mind.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: 'This is my country.' Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Religion & God
God helps those who help themselves. Religion & God
God works wonders now and then; Behold a lawyer, an honest man. Religion & God
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.
He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.
He that can have patience can have what he will. Patience
He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.
He that displays too often his wife and his wallet is in danger of having both of them borrowed.
He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
He that has not got a wife is not yet a complete man.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. Money, Coins & Minting
He that lives upon hope will die fasting. Hope
He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too. Families, Children & Parenting
He that rises late must trot all day.
He that sows thorns should never go barefoot.
He that speaks much, is much mistaken.
He that waits upon fortune, is never sure of a dinner.
He that won't be counseled can't be helped.
He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees. War & Peace
He that's secure is not safe.
He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Hear reason, or she'll make you feel her.
Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?
How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.
Human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.
Hunger is the best pickle.
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.
I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
I guess I don't so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.
I have never entered into any controversy in defense of my philosophical opinions; I leave them to take their chance in the world. If they are right, truth and experience will support them; if wrong, they ought to be refuted and rejected. Disputes are apt to sour one's temper and disturb one's quiet. Truth
I have no private interest in the reception of my inventions by the world, having never made, nor proposed to make, the least profit by any of them.
I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Morning ;Death
I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up. Morning
If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.
If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.
If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality. Time
If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.
If you desire many things, many things will seem few.
If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone.
If you would be loved, love, and be loveable. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some. Money, Coins & Minting
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires. Nature
In my youth, I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.
In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it. Religion & God
In this Situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find Political Truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not, hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our Understandings?
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Death ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Industry need not wish.
It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous. Time
It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.
It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.
It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.
It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. Families, Children & Parenting
Leisure is the time for doing something useful. This leisure the diligent person will obtain the lazy one never. Time
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. Time ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. Life
Lost time is never found again. Time
Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it.
Many foxes grow gray but few grow good.
Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five.
Marriage is the most natural state of man, and... the state in which you will find solid happiness. Happiness & Unhappiness
Mine is better than ours.
Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants. Nature ;Happiness & Unhappiness ;Money, Coins & Minting
Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones - with ingratitude.
My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church.
Never confuse motion with action.
Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
Never take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.
Nine men in ten are would be suicides.
Observe all men, thyself most.
One today is worth two tomorrows. Inspiration
Our necessities never equal our wants.
Rather go to bed with out dinner than to rise in debt.
Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God. Religion & God
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Remember that credit is money. Money, Coins & Minting
Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
She laughs at everything you say. Why? Because she has fine teeth.
Since thou are not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75. Death
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.
Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste. Time
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.
The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Happiness & Unhappiness
The discontented man finds no easy chair.
The doors of wisdom are never shut.
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The first mistake in public business is the going into it. Business, Commerce & Finance
The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice.
The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself. Happiness & Unhappiness
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it. Money, Coins & Minting
The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason. Religion & God
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
There are three faithful friends - an old wife, an old dog, and ready money. Money, Coins & Minting
There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means - either may do - the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.
There cannot be a stronger natural right than that of a man's making the best profit he can of the natural produce of his lands.
There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government. Government
There never was a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous. Time
There was never a good war, or a bad peace. War & Peace
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.
Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter. Money, Coins & Minting
Those that won't be counseled can't be helped.
Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly. Religion & God
To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals. Life
To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.
Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest.
Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease.
Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later. War & Peace
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure for conversations of improvement and for acquiring information. Respect
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
Well done is better than well said. Motivation
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
When befriended, remember it; when you befriend, forget it.
When in doubt, don't.
When men and woman die, as poets sung, his heart's the last part moves, her last, the tongue.
When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?
When you're finished changing, you're finished.
Where liberty is, there is my country.
Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting.
Where there is a free government, and the people make their own laws by their representatives, I see no injustice in their obliging one another to take their own paper money. Government ;Money, Coins & Minting
Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Families, Children & Parenting
Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?
Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Who is rich? He that rejoices in his portion.
Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. Religion & God ;Humor
Wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it.
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Success
Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom - and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. Freedom & Liberty
Words may show a man's wit but actions his meaning.
Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.
Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.
You can bear your own faults, and why not a fault in your wife?
You may delay, but time will not. Time
Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. Business, Commerce & Finance