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Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Here are quotes by one of America's greatest founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and related quotations about America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers Quotes

Human Felicity is produced not so much by great Pieces of good Fortune that seldom happen, as by little Advantages that occur every Day.

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography, 1771

Founding Fathers Quotes

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of 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. 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.

Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

Founding Fathers Quotes

I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.

Benjamin Franklin, The Busy-body, No. 3, February 18, 1728

Founding Fathers Quotes

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 chearfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself.

Benjamin Franklin, An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz. The Court of the Press, September 12, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as Pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself.

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography, 1771

Founding Fathers Quotes

It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights.

Benjamin Franklin, Political Observations

Founding Fathers Quotes

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1738

Founding Fathers Quotes

No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.

Benjamin Franklin and George Whaley, Principles of Trade, 1774

Founding Fathers Quotes

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklin, letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, November 13, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

Remember, that Time is Money.

Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748

Founding Fathers Quotes

Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

Benjamin Franklin, letter to Collinson, May 9, 1753

Founding Fathers Quotes

Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography, 1771

Founding Fathers Quotes

Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.

Benjamin Franklin, An Address to the Public, November 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

Strangers are welcome because there is room enough for them all, and therefore the old Inhabitants are not jealous of them; the Laws protect them sufficiently so that they have no need of the Patronage of great Men; and every one will enjoy securely the Profits of his Industry. But if he does not bring a Fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live.

Benjamin Franklin, Those Who Would Remove to America, February, 1784

Founding Fathers Quotes

Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may be disappointed. Strive to be the best and you may succeed: he may well win the race that runs by himself.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1747

Founding Fathers Quotes

That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People.

Benjamin Franklin, On that Odd Letter of the Drum, April 1730

Founding Fathers Quotes

The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness both of private Families and of Common-wealths. Almost all Governments have therefore made it a principal Object of their Attention, to establish and endow with proper Revenues, such Seminaries of Learning, as might supply the succeeding Age with Men qualified to serve the Publick with Honour to themselves, and to their Country.

Benjamin Franklin, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, 1749

Founding Fathers Quotes

The happy State of Matrimony is, undoubtedly, the surest and most lasting Foundation of Comfort and Love; the Source of all that endearing Tenderness and Affection which arises from Relation and Affinity; the grand Point of Property; the Cause of all good Order in the World, and what alone preserves it from the utmost Confusion; and, to sum up all, the Appointment of infinite Wisdom for these great and good Purposes.

Benjamin Franklin, Rules and Maxims for Promoting Matrimonial Happiness, October 8, 1730

Founding Fathers Quotes

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.

Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations, Circa 1774

Founding Fathers Quotes

They are of the People, and return again to mix with the People, having no more durable preeminence than the different Grains of Sand in an Hourglass. Such an Assembly cannot easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants of the People, sent together to do the People's Business, and promote the public Welfare; their Powers must be sufficient, or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or bribing for Elections.

Benjamin Franklin, letter to George Whatley, May 23, 1785



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