Monday, July 03, 2006

From our founding fathers on Ind-Day

On this independence day, I figured I'd look back on some of the founding fathers and relate a couple of quotations which I find interesting in that perhaps it was not all that different back then from how it is now and the trials we face.

  • Ben Franklin

Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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

Poor Richard's Almanack, 1746

Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

Letter to Collinson, May 9, 1753

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

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1757

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

Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.

Letter to Benjamin Vaughn, March 14, 1783

  • John Adams

I have accepted a seat in the [Massachusetts] House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and the ruin of our children. I give you this warning, that you may prepare your mind for your fate.

To Abigail Adams, May 1770

It has ever been my hobby-horse to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and a prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them. You say it is impossible. If I should agree with you in this, I would still say, let us try the experiment, and preserve our equality as long as we can. A better system of education for the common people might preserve them long from such artificial inequalities as are prejudicial to society, by confounding the natural distinctions of right and wrong, virtue and vice.

Letter to Count Sarsfield, February 3, 1786

ok... that's enough for now. more are at,

until next time,

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