Benjamin Franklin

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

Poor Richard's Almanack

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.

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


Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to die To-morrow.

Poor Richard's Almanack


A Spoonful of Honey will catch more Flies than a Gallon of Vinegar.

 Poor Richard's Almanack


Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy.

letter to John Alleyne, August 9, 1768


Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.

Poor Richards Almanack


He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

from his writings, 1758


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... These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened.

Emblematical Representations, Circa 1774


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



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.



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



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.

Poor Richard's Almanack


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.

Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, 1749


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.

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