Quotes about Benjamin Franklin
21 Sourced Quotes
People have always said - those words, 'too conservative,' is fairly relative. I'm sure that they probably said that about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. And truly, when you look at the Constitution and our founding fathers and their writings, the things that made this country great, you might draw those conclusions: That they were conservative. They were fiscally conservative and socially conservative.
Elevated levels of confidence are omnipresent among history's greatest overachievers. Benjamin Franklin, one of the most famous men in the world even before he signed the Declaration of Independence once lamented about humility, "I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue."
Nature, which you [Benjamin Franklin] have profoundly studied, is indebted to you for investigating and explaining phenomena, which wise men had not before been able to understand, and the great American philosopher, at the same time he discovers these phenomena, suggests useful methods for guarding men against their danger.
Benjamin Franklin did a great many notable things for his country, and made her young name to be honored in many lands as the mother of such a son. It is not the idea of this memoir to ignore that or cover it up. No; the simple idea of it is to snub those pretentious maxims of his, which he worked up with a great show of originality out of truisms that had become wearisome platitudes as early as the dispersion from Babel.
Those who knew Benjamin Franklin will recollect that his mind was forever young, his temper ever serene; science, that never grows gray, was always his mistress. He was never without an object, for when we cease to have an object, we become like an invalid in a hospital waiting for death.
Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? "I will speak ill of no man," he said, "... and speak all the good I know of everybody." Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. "A great man shows his greatness," says Carlyle, "by the way he treats little men."
Three days after Richard Henry Lee introduced the Resolution of Independence, it was voted to appoint a committee to "prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution." The committee, appointed on the following day, consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. On the 28 of June, the committee reported to Congress the draft of a declaration which, with modifications, was finally agreed to by Congress on the 4 of July. This is the document which is popularly known as the Declaration of Independence.
I know, I know, I'm going to be called a hatemonger for this, you know, conversation that we have, whatever, that's fine. They also called people like Benjamin Franklin a hatemonger. They said that he was crazy. I wonder if they've said that about me yet. Yeah, Benjamin Franklin was crazy, he was the first real abolitionist. Boy that man stood up every single time. And in our modern-day slavery, I will be happy to be called crazy right along with Benjamin Franklin.
Science as subversion has a long history.... Davis and Sakharov belong to an old tradition in science that goes all the way back to the rebels Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestley in the eighteenth century, to Galileo and Giordano Bruno in the seventeenth and sixteenth. If science ceases to be a rebellion against authority, then it does not deserve the talents of our brightest children.... We should try to introduce our children to science today as a rebellion against poverty and ugliness and militarism and economic injustice.
In the Clunie Public Library in Sacramento, in those last years of a legally segregated America, there was no segregated shelf for Negro writers. Frederick Douglass on the same casement with Alexis de Tocqueville, Benjamin Franklin. Today, when our habit is willfully to confuse literature with sociology, with sorting, with trading in skins, we imagine the point of a "life" is to address some sort of numerical average, common obstacle or persecution. Here is a book "about" teenaged Chinese-American girls. So it is shelved.
If Thomas Jefferson is the liberals' (and libertarians') Founding Father, and George Washington is the conservatives', and Tom Paine is the radicals', then Benjamin Franklin is the radical middle's. He was extremely practical.... At the same time, he was extraordinarily creative.... He was a man of principle.... Yet synthesis and healing were an art with him. He became our most ardent champion of religious tolerance. And better than anyone at the Constitutional Convention, he was able to get the warring factions and wounded egos to transcend their differences and come up with a Constitution for the ages.
American literature offers scarcely one working model for high education. The student must go back, beyond Jean Jacques, to Benjamin Franklin, to find a model even of self-teaching. Except in the abandoned sphere of the dead languages, no one has discussed what part of education has, in his personal experience, turned out to be useful, and what not. This volume attempts to discuss it.