The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson


Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

My Favorite Quotes of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706  – April 17, 1790) was a British American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, 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.

Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."

In 1728, aged 22, Franklin wrote what he hoped would be his own epitaph:

"The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more, In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author."

Some of my favorite quotes of his are:

“A true Friend is the best Possession.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“As the Founding Fathers were departing the Pennsylvania State House at the close of the Constitutional Convention one of the bystanders shouted a question to Benjamin Franklin:

     Bystander - 'Well, Doctor, what have we got - a Republic or a Monarchy?''
     Franklin - 'A Republic, if you can keep it.'”

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.”
- Benjamin Franklin

"Doubt a little of your own infallibility."
  - Benjamin Franklin

"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. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others".
  - Benjamin Franklin

“Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“Haste makes Waste.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“He that would live in peace & at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“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 travelled 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

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
 - Benjamin Franklin

“Look before, or you’ll find yourself behind.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“Lost Time is never found again.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“No gains without pains.”
- Benjamin Franklin

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
 - Benjamin Franklin

“Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.”
- Benjamin Franklin

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
 - Benjamin Franklin

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
- Benjamin Franklin

"Well done is better than well said."
  - Benjamin Franklin

“What you seem to be, be really.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“Wish not so much to live long as to live well.”
- Benjamin Franklin