Quotations From BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

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  • We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Remark, July 4, 1776, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Quoted in Ben Franklin Laughing, P.M. Zall (1980). Replying to John Hancock's remark that the revolutionaries should be unanimous in their action.

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  • No nation was ever ruined by trade.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Thoughts on Commercial Subjects.
  • A little neglect may breed mischief ... for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Poor Richard's Almanac, preface (1758).

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  • I should have no objection to go over the same life from its beginning to the end: requesting only the advantage authors have, of correcting in a second edition the faults of the first.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Autobiography, ch. 1 (1868).

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  • We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure for conversations of improvement and for acquiring information.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. letter, Sept. 6, 1783. Complete Works, vol. 8, ed. John Bigelow (1887-1888).

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  • Furnished as all Europe now is with Academies of Science, with nice instruments and the spirit of experiment, the progress of human knowledge will be rapid and discoveries made of which we have at present no conception. I begin to be almost sorry I was born so soon, since I cannot have the happiness of knowing what will be known a hundred years hence.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Letter, July 27, 1783, to naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society. Complete Works, vol. 8, ed. John Bigelow (1887-1888).

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  • Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. letter, Aug. 9, 1768. Complete Works, vol. 4, ed. John Bigelow (1887-1888).

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  • The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, to hear much; always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as possibly we can; to hearken to what is said and to answer to the purpose.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. "Miscellaneous Observations," vol. 1, Complete Works (1728), ed. John Bigelow (1887-1888).

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  • I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, make the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Autobiography, ch. 7 (written 1771-1790, published 1868).

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  • Necessity never made a good bargain.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), U.S. statesman, writer. Poor Richard's Almanack (April 1735), The Complete Poor Richard's Almanacks (1970).
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