Benjamin Franklin Quotes: The Words of The First American

I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power.

The most popular Benjamin Franklin quotes are short witticisms – lessons about the rewards for healthy sleeping habits and saving pennies, for example. It is good that the Founding Father’s advice is still heeded, but he was much more than some doughy 18th century Ann Landers.

Like so many heroes of the American Revolutionary War, Franklin’s legacy is usually condensed into a few tidbits. He’s the guy who “invented electricity” (not quite – he proved that storm clouds contain electricity), or the Founding Father who famously smoked weed (there is no real evidence that he partook, although he did own a hemp paper mill and may have roasted a bone here and there).

To many Americans, Franklin is “the guy on the $100 bill.” They can thank the success of All About the Benjamins starring Ice Cube for knowing this piece of trivia.

These credits don’t even remotely do Franklin justice. As a polymath and a genius the man feathered his caps with the titles of inventor, scientist, printer, author, musician and satirist. As a politician, statesman and diplomat he earned the title of “The First American.”

Franklin served as the first United States Postmaster General, the first United States Ambassador to France, and the sixth president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. He also helped to draft the Declaration of Independence. (It is said that Franklin’s peers did not trust him to actually write the Declaration for fear that he might include jokes. I doubt he would have taken the job so lightly, but understand any apprehensions about a man who would one day write A Letter to a Royal Academy About Farting.)

Franklin’s sense of humor did not make him any less of a patriot. His quotes about rights, rebellion, politics and freedom show that he loved his country, and also that he would have agreed with many core libertarian principles.

Best Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Benjamin Franklin quotes - "rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Our cause is the cause of all mankind..."
“Our cause is the cause of all mankind…we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion,..."
“From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion, it is still the birthright of all men.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Sell not...liberty to purchase power."
“Sell not…liberty to purchase power.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety..."
“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Every man is, of common right, and by laws of God..."
“Every man…is, of common right, and by the laws of God, a freeman, and entitled to the free enjoyment of liberty.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats."
“A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you..."
“Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "No nation was ever ruined by trade."
“No nation was ever ruined by trade.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people on tenth part."
“It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt..."
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing..."
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own..."
“In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech; a thing terrible to publick traytors.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Out new constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency..."
“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 quotes - "The mose the people are disconnected with the oppression of taxes, the greater the need the prince..."
“The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater the need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance and enable him to plunder at pleasure.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support..."
“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics…derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth..."
“God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: This is my country.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Where liberty dwells, there is my country."
“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "A learned blockhead is greater blockhead than an ignorant one."
“A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones."
“All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "He that lied down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas."
“He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, one the pursuit of it..."
“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges."
“A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
“Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but it is still nonsense."
“The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but it is still nonsense.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "The first mistake in public business is the going into it."
“The first mistake in public business is the going into it.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest."
“The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country..."
“I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Where carcasses are, eagles will gather, and where good laws are, much people flock thither."
“Where carcasses are, eagles will gather, And where good laws are, much people flock thither.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "I have heard of some great man, whose rule it was, with regard to offices, never to ask for them..."
“I have heard of some great man, whose rule it was, with regard to offices, never to ask for them, and never to refuse them; to which I have always added, in my own practice, never to resign them.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "We are now friends with England and with all mankind. May we neer see another war!"
“We are now friends with England and with all mankind. May we never see another war! for in my opinion there never was a good war, or a bad peace.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
Benjamin Franklin quotes - "It is better one hundred guilty persons should escape than that one innocent..."
“That it is better one hundred guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer is a maxim that has been long and generally approved.”

Those are enough Benjamin Franklin quotes for one night. Go to bed now so you can become healthier, wealthier and wiser – three things very few people in this country try to be anymore.