Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Quotes tagged as "benjamin-franklin" Showing 1-27 of 27
Benjamin Franklin
“Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.”
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”
Benjamin Franklin

Thomas A. Edison
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.'

But it is hardly strange.

Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind.

We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen.

Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty.

I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles. Although the present generation knows little of Paine's writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it.

Truth is governed by natural laws and cannot be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine's theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation's leaders when they framed the Constitution.

Certainly we may believe that Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know that Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There is no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine.

...Then Paine wrote 'Common Sense,' an anonymous tract which immediately stirred the fires of liberty. It flashed from hand to hand throughout the Colonies. One copy reached the New York Assembly, in session at Albany, and a night meeting was voted to answer this unknown writer with his clarion call to liberty. The Assembly met, but could find no suitable answer. Tom Paine had inscribed a document which never has been answered adversely, and never can be, so long as man esteems his priceless possession.

In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. It must be remembered that 'Common Sense' preceded the declaration and affirmed the very principles that went into the national doctrine of liberty. But that affirmation was made with more vigor, more of the fire of the patriot and was exactly suited to the hour... Certainly [the Revolution] could not be forestalled, once he had spoken.

{The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}”
Thomas Edison, Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison

Rick Riordan
“Amy, Dan, and Nellie were sitting at a table in a conference room, examining reproductions of Franklin documents-some so rare, the librarians told her, the only copies existed in Paris.
"Yeah, here's a rare grocery list," Dan muttered. "Wow.”
Rick Riordan, The Maze of Bones

Benjamin Franklin
“Write to Please Yourself.
When You write to Please Others
You end up Pleasing No one.”
Benjamin Franklin

Rick Riordan
“Amy gritted her teeth. "King Louis XVI even put Franklin's picture on a chamber pot!"
Jonah looked at his dad. "Do we have souvenir chamber pots?"
"No." His dad whipped out his phone. "I'll make the call.”
Rick Riordan, The Maze of Bones

Benjamin Franklin
“Chess teaches foresight, by having to plan ahead; vigilance, by having to keep watch over the whole chess board; caution, by having to restrain ourselves from making hasty moves; and finally, we learn from chess the greatest maxim in life - that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.”
Benjamin Franklin

Mark Twain
“Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, "Give me masturbation or give me death." Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, "To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion." In another place this experienced observer has said, "There are times when I prefer it to sodomy." Robinson Crusoe says, "I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art." Queen Elizabeth said, "It is the bulwark of virginity." Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, "A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush." The immortal Franklin has said, "Masturbation is the best policy." Michelangelo and all of the other old masters--"old masters," I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction--have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, "Self-negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse." Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time--"None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise.”
Mark Twain, On Masturbation

E. Haldeman-Julius
Ben Franklin said:
"Early to bed and early to rise
Make a man healthy wealthy and wise"

Lately I have read the advice given to William Randolph Hearst, when a young man, by his father:
"Go downtown at noon and rob the other fellows of what they have made during the morning.”
E. Haldeman-Julius

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Is it possible that the Pentateuch could not have been written by uninspired men? that the assistance of God was necessary to produce these books? Is it possible that Galilei ascertained the mechanical principles of 'Virtual Velocity,' the laws of falling bodies and of all motion; that Copernicus ascertained the true position of the earth and accounted for all celestial phenomena; that Kepler discovered his three laws—discoveries of such importance that the 8th of May, 1618, may be called the birth-day of modern science; that Newton gave to the world the Method of Fluxions, the Theory of Universal Gravitation, and the Decomposition of Light; that Euclid, Cavalieri, Descartes, and Leibniz, almost completed the science of mathematics; that all the discoveries in optics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and chemistry, the experiments, discoveries, and inventions of Galvani, Volta, Franklin and Morse, of Trevithick, Watt and Fulton and of all the pioneers of progress—that all this was accomplished by uninspired men, while the writer of the Pentateuch was directed and inspired by an infinite God? Is it possible that the codes of China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome were made by man, and that the laws recorded in the Pentateuch were alone given by God? Is it possible that Æschylus and Shakespeare, Burns, and Beranger, Goethe and Schiller, and all the poets of the world, and all their wondrous tragedies and songs are but the work of men, while no intelligence except the infinite God could be the author of the Pentateuch? Is it possible that of all the books that crowd the libraries of the world, the books of science, fiction, history and song, that all save only one, have been produced by man? Is it possible that of all these, the bible only is the work of God?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were deists. Deism was a philosophical belief that was widely accepted by the colonial intelligentsia at the time of the American Revolution. Its major tenets included belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems and belief in a supreme deity who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws. The supreme God of the Deists removed himself entirely from the universe after creating it. They believed that he assumed no control over it, exerted no influence on natural phenomena, and gave no supernatural revelation to man. A necessary consequence of these beliefs was a rejection of many doctrines central to the Christian religion. Deists did not believe in the virgin birth, divinity, or resurrection of Jesus, the efficacy of prayer, the miracles of the Bible, or even the divine inspiration of the Bible.

These beliefs were forcefully articulated by Thomas Paine in Age of Reason, a book that so outraged his contemporaries that he died rejected and despised by the nation that had once revered him as 'the father of the American Revolution.'... Other important founding fathers who espoused Deism were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, James Madison, and James Monroe.

[The Christian Nation Myth, 1999]”
Farrell Till

Bertrand Russell
“When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the 'iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,' Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God's wrath at the 'iron points.' In a sermon on the subject he said, 'In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.' Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.”
Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity

Benjamin Franklin
“Don't judge men's wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance.”
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do”
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“O vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix expultrixque vitiorum! Unus dies, bene et ex praeceptis tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati est anteponendus.

translation (non-literal):
O philosophy, life’s guide! O searcher of virtues and expeller of vices! Just a single day lived well and according to your lessons is to be preferred to an eternity of errors.

— Cicero, As quoted in Ben Franklin’s Autobiography”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

“Hang together, or hang separately. Benjamin Franklin is a genius.”
Renay Williams

Benjamin Franklin
“In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully excluded all libeling and personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our country”
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

“My ideal man is Benjamin Franklin—the figure in American history most worthy of emulation ... Franklin is my ideal of a whole man. ... Where are the life-size—or even pint-size—Benjamin Franklins of today?”
Isidor Isaac Rabi

Samuel Smiles
“A place for everything and everything in its place - via
Samuel Smiles, Mrs Isabella Beeton and Benjamin Franklin.

“Benjamin Franklin was a real tomcat, no woman was safe from his lightening bolt”
Stephen Tootle

“Life has a flair for rhyming events.”
Richard McGuire, Here

“How financially secure do you feel? Thomas Paine has been quoted as saying, ‘Truth never envelops itself in mystery, and the mystery in which it is at any time enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself.’
Do you know who said this: ‘Distrust and caution are the parents of security?’
The Cattlemen’s Hall is ominously quiet. So Sydney says, “It was Benjamin Franklin. I think our Founding Fathers must have had some of the Holy Spirit in them. I can think of no other reason why they could be so aware of events in their future, unless of course, it was because they were so aware of their past. In their view of history they saw the corruption of the governments they left behind. They hoped for a better future. This can be evidenced by the fact that Thomas Paine stated in The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776, ‘If there must be trouble, let it be in my day that my child may have peace.”
David McKoy Lynn Hallbrooks

Fareed Zakaria
“Civically engaged, business oriented, technology obsessed, and socially skilled, Franklin was "our founding Yuppie," declares the New York Times columnist David Brooks. Franklin "would have felt right at home in the information revolution," Walter Isaacson writes in his biography of the statesman. "We can easily imagine having a beer with him after work, showing him how to use the latest digital device, sharing the business plan of a new venture, and discussing the most recent political scandals or policy ideas." The essence of Franklin's appeal is that he was brilliant but practical, interested in everything, but especially in how things work.”
Fareed Zakaria, In Defense of a Liberal Education

Neal Stephenson
“The mysterious Enoch Root meets 8-year-old Benjamin Franklin, Boston, 1713:
"Do I look like a schoolmaster to you?"
"No, but you talk like one."
"You know something of schoolmasters, do you?"
"Yes, sir," the boy says, faltering a bit as he sees the jaws of the trap swinging toward his leg.
"Yet here it is the middle of Monday—"
"The place was empty 'cause of the Hanging. I didn't want to stay and—"
"And what?"
"Get more ahead of the others than I was already."
"If you are ahead, the correct thing is to get used to it—not to make yourself into an imbecile. Come, you belong in school.”
Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver

Jill Lepore
“After Benjamin Franklin read Jefferson's draft, he picked up his quill, scratched out the words "sacred and undeniable," and suggested that "these truths" were, instead, "self-evident." This was mroe than a quibble. Truths that are sacred and undeniable are God-given and divine, the stuff of religion. Truths that are self-evident are laws of nature, empirical and observable, the stuff of science.”
Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States

Walter Isaacson
“A town[…]asked him to donate a church bell, he told them to forsake the steeple and build a library, for which he sent "books instead of a bell, sense being preferable to sound.”
Walter Issacson, Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“Idle hands are the devil's playthings.”
Benjamin Franklin