Talk:Benjamin Franklin

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Benjamin Franklin page.

Popular internet quote[edit]

"Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out." Benjamin Franklin

It's all around the web, but I can't find a source (granted, I just googled very quickly). If there's a source, it should be added, and otherwise I think that it should be listed as a common misquotation.

The quote seems to be from Paul Galvin. This is the oldest book I found in Google books that has the quote.

Did Franklin Say This?[edit]

Commonly attributed to Franklin on the 'net:- "All humanity is divided into three classes: those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move!" Is the attribution correct? Yes, he says this in his Autobiography - Can someone provide a page number? A Google search with vocab variants didn't turn this up, and some sources cite it as an "Arab proverb."

Also, the attributed quote here about beer: God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

I've seen more often as Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

I've never seen anyone able to provide a source for this quotation, however. Any clues? 16:34, 17 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, Franklin was known for drinking a lot. All the revolutionaries were. So, it sounds plausible. I know that's not good enough, but I wouldn't rule it out. -- 20:02, 13 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The truth is that Franklin rather loathed beer and those who drank it to excess. Ben preferred the fruit of the vine and in 1779 wrote the following in a letter to André Morellet, a French economist. “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” It is easily seen how the quote has been altered. January 22, 2008
—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
This issue has been addressed, and though Franklin's possible opinions on Beer are not provided, the original quote on wine is, both in the section containing a more extensive quotation of the letter, and in the "Misattributed" section. ~ Kalki 17:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have found a few cites that quote Franklin as having said, "Never leave for tomorrow that which can be done today" or some variant thereof. Did Franklin actually say this? Does anyone have any idea where, or what the true wording is? Much appreciated! DRenaud (WMF) (talk) 06:58, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hang Separately?[edit]

The quotation "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." is in the sourced section but "Stated at the signing of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) meaning that the rebels would either band together as Americans or be hung individually at the gallows." doesn't sound like a source to me. Superm401 08:33, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Google news has a newspaper attribution from 1844 [1]
"Humor Repeats Itself" by Irene Nye, The Classical Journal, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Jan., 1914), pp. 154-164 [2] quotes one signer of the Declaration saying "We must all hang together", with Franklin responding "Yes, or we will all hang seperately". (If you don't have access to JStor, try your local library's web site).--Nowa123 04:46, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

freedom of printing?[edit]

Anybody know whether this attributed quote belongs to Franklin? "If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed." Thanks, -- 21:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible quote?[edit]

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

I have seen this attributed to him elsewhere, but not sure of its provenance. Anyone can confirm or deny it? -- 00:40, 9 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Checking Google news, Google scholar and Google Books for "they can vote themselves money", I could find no attributions to Franklin earlier than 1988. By contrast, "time is money" is attributed to Franklin as early as 1850.[3]--Nowa123 04:46, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikiquote has a similar quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler: 'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.' -- Traal 18:22, 8 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Misattributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, you mean. Check the page. Embram (talk) 15:53, 28 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The definition of insanity...[edit]

I respectfully suggest that the quote "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different" is a misattribution to both Franklin and Einstein. According to Google news archive, the earliest news article attributing the quote to Franklin is from 2004 [4]. The earliest attribution to Einstein is 1998 [5]. By contrast, the earliest Google news article that attributes "time is money" to Franklin is 1849 [6]

The earliest news article in Google's archives that has the quote "The definition of insanity is doing the same...." is 1991 to Zamberletti of the Vikings. He said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results" [7]

The earliest reference to "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" is 1989 to david boswell [8]

The earliest reference to "the definition of insanity is doing..." is 1986 to Tony Elliott of the New Orleans Saints when he said "the definition of insanity is doing over and over again things that can kill you" [9]

A similar quote is from "Sudden Death" by Rita Mae Brown, from 1983.

Any objection to moving "the definition of insanity..." to misattributions?--Nowa123 04:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems pretty clearly to be a misattribution. ~ Fnord 04:35, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your input. If there are no objections by 3/1/07, I'll move it to misattributions.--Nowa123 14:06, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I found a 1925 New Yorker that attributes the quote to Einstein here. I updated accordingly. - Stillwaterising 05:48, 24 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Above link is wrongly cited. Withdrawn. - Stillwaterising 20:09, 24 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The book "Terrorism: documents of international and local control" (1979) attributes this quote to Einstein. [10] --MariaEp 21:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the 1950s, George Kelly, in his book on Personal Construct Theory, wrote, "psychological disorder is any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation". I would venture that this is the origin of the quote that has been misattributed elsewhere.

That's actually from 2006, because it references the Dubai Ports World controversy. —KHirsch 01:23, 30 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is? LookingGlass (talk) 11:57, 29 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not keen on the wiki-lingo, so if you experts can interject this for me:: At a minimum, this phrase dates back to the '70s. It was used in alcohol cessation programs, and you can go to yourself to view the text.

Here's a book published in 1980, referring to the statement verbatim -

James G. Jensen "Step Two: A promise of hope" ca 1980...: ..."When I came into the program, I heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" [[]]

Thanks! I’ve added this to the extended discussion of this quote at Narcotics Anonymous. You’re correct, it certainly appears to have been in oral use prior to that point (1981).
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 09:42, 21 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please see reference to George Kelly above. LookingGlass (talk) 11:57, 29 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You know, doing the same thing repeatedly with expectation of differing results would be the definition of stupidity, not insanity. --Kazvorpal (talk) 19:25, 4 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All-too-late: The earliest mention of this [paraphrase] is from Voltaire, "Reflexions sur de jonque": "Lorsque l'on effectue une action, atteint un mauvais résultat, puis répète l'action plusieurs fois attendent un meilleur résultat, on est un peu fou de singe, non?" see: (Babylon coarse auto-translation: "When an action is carried out, does a bad result reach, then repeats the action several times expect a better result, one is a little insane of monkey, not?") [Cleaner, still not precise: "When one carries out an action, that reaches a bad result, then one repeats the same action several times, expecting a better result-- one is a little-insane monkey, no?" Americanized to 2012: "When one does something that reaches a bad result, then one does it again several times, expecting a better result-- is one not a crazy monkey?" Voltaire 1694-1788 [(Friend of Franklin when he was US Ambassador to France) I believe this would settle some bets, but I have yet to find the actual quotation ONLINE.--Art4med (talk) 18:19, 1 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And you won't find the actual quotation online, either. This is a patently obvious hoax. Voltaire has no such quote, and there's no such publication as Reflection sur la Jonque (Reflections about Junk"). Furthermore, jonque has no other meaning in French except a type of boat--the cognate of one of the secondary English meanings of Junk.) I'm afraid you've been taken in. Mathglot (talk) 08:42, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Mathglot Appreciated. LookingGlass (talk) 11:57, 29 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In 1975, Osho said the following in a recorded public talk: "The mind is always asking you to do something over again, something you have already done so many times before. And every time you see that by doing it nothing is achieved. What else can madness be?" [11] And: "To be mad is to keep repeating something that has already been seen as useless, as worthless." [12] Published 1975: Osho, The Great Secret, Chapter 10.

Sourced Misattribution For Liberty / Safety ???[edit]

The explanation of "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" concludes that it is very unlikely that Franklin is the author. In my understanding of "sourced"(= Franklin's authorship is proven) the quote should therefore go to misattribution (with the fine explanation). Kevin -- 15:26, 4 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bartlett's has the following: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." with a sourced of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.—The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, vol. 6, p. 242 (1963). I have not tried to verify this source. Rolland -- 15:24, 29 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Benjamin Franklin Papers are available online and include the Novemeber 11, 1755 letter: Franklin writes: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"

Those Who Would Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither

Posted by Gregg DesElms:

In the Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress (S. 459) (12.00.00) is an original first edition print of what is usually alleged to be Franklin's "An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759)" in which the "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" version appears on the cover page, with a reference to there being more on page 289. Click here to see a photo of it.

If you look closely at that photo, just above the quote on the title page, and just below the words "Founded on Authentic DOCUMENTS," of that particular copy, you can see the handwritten (with a quill or fountain pen) annotation that it's "by Doctor Franklin," meaning, of course, Benjamin Franklin. Well, according to this (click here), that annotation was written by Thomas Jefferson, in his own hand. About it is written on that web page, the following: "Although the actual authorship of this work was in question at the time, Jefferson attributed it to Benjamin Franklin and annotated the title page to indicate it. Franklin later denied authorship, but Jefferson’s high regard for Franklin likely allowed his attribution to persist."

The Wikiquote page (to which this is the discussion page) contains that "the book was published by Franklin; its author was Richard Jackson," and, interestingly, we also see written, in that photo, using a more modern (likely ball point) ink pen, at the very top of the page, the name "Jackson, Richard".

So, I think the Wikiquotes page (to which this is the discussion page) pretty much has it right. All that really needs, at this writing, is to have fixed the (as of March 1, 2012) broken link to the telling of it (and to maybe better explain it a bit, based on some additional information I've found, and to which I link in my next paragraph).

So, now, based, in part, on this web page (click here), and this one (click here), and this one (click here), and this one (click here), and this one (click here), and, finally, this one (click here), I'm now going to change both how the text on the Wikiquotes page is worded, as well as the citation(s) to it.

Deselms (talk) 19:36, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update by Gregg DesElms:

I'm frustrated because, as I wrote I would do, immediately above, I did a fairly comprehensive rewrite of the sections regarding these three quotes...

  • "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
  • "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
  • "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

...which I rearranged in that order, and which I expanded, quite a bit (with way more linked references and proofs than immediately above), so that the true and complete history of these quote could finally, once and for all, be told (and whatever doubt about them finally settled). It took me... well... a while, because I so heavily documented with the links...

...yet when I posted here, this site's "spam filter" flagged so much of it that I just gave up for that session (though, of course, I copied-and-pasted my work into a text file on my machine, so it's not lost).

It's good work... less wordy than, but as good as...

The Open Library; "An Historical Review of Pennsylvania"

...which I wrote and posted before I tried to post here (as part of the process through which I go when I'm researching and writing about this sort of thing; and, yes, I know that, at this writing, there are no citations/references/footnotes over in that Open Library piece... I'm circling back and adding those soon... though there was no shortage of references in what I tried to post here, most of which, again, got treated by this site's spam filter as spam).

Needless to say, nothing in my linked references/citations, here, was in any way spammish. NOTHING! So I don't get it. How do I get it posted here? Never had this problem in Wikipedia. What's different about Wikiquotes? Does anyone here know what I should do?

Deselms (talk) 17:19, 5 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Searchable Sayings from -- and based on -- Poor Richard's Almanac[edit]

I enjoyed your excellent article and particularly appreciated the timeline. It seems especially important in a man willing to respond to changing events.

Your website indicates an interest in aphorisms from Poor Richard’s Almanac. My website includes many of his prose sayings (along with updates in modern verse for each). There is a search engine and a detailed index.

As part of the “Creative Commons” project, I am offering all the material on my website free of copyright restrictions, provided that any original material is attributed to me. The material may be used for commercial or other purposes without payment.

I hope in this way to help spread Franklin’s good sense to a world that I think needs it.

I want to congratulate your website for its role in this mission.

Sincerely yours,

John D. McCall

PS. Franklin’s famous rhymes are not on my website. For them, I suggest you use you check a search engine -- for “Poor Richard’s Almanac” + 1758 -- and read that year’s preface.

PPS. The website has link from the Franklin Institute and an A+ from the WebEnglishTeacher.


What about the "Lastly, they are so grateful!!" quote?

What about this?[edit]

"I will not agree with your words, but fight to the death to allow you to speak them." Is this something Ben said? Thanks!    DangerousNerd    talk    contribs    email   20:32, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This seems to be a rather poor paraphrase of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" which has commonly been attributed to Voltaire but was in fact a statement by Evelyn Beatrice Hall indicating what she believed Voltaire's attitude to be. ~ Kalki 21:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How could Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) paraphrase the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868 – >1939), born almost a century after his death? Monkeyjunky (talk) 15:25, 11 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That math is correct but it seems that Hall was talking of Voltaire's attitude, not Franklin's

Had to add a revised quote of mine which is spreading like wildfire[edit]

"Those who give up their liberty neither deserve liberty nor security." I think it is one which is now widely used everywhere and was not in there.

other quotes from are real?[edit]

[13] is this <=== real from i use it for English project, a hope it is real and not a lie by other people, thankyou

Language Quote[edit]

I found the following quote attributed to Franklin in an education textbook:

What is going on in America? It is amazing, and disturbing, to ride on a road and see street signs that are printed not only in English but in other languages as well. What's more, even legal documents are now being written in foreign languages, How unnerving to walk down an American street and not understand what people are talking about. Maybe this isn't America. I feel like a stranger in my own land. Why don't they learn to speak English?

The only other information about the quote is that it was from the 1750s and the other language he was mainly referring to was German. The textbook in question is Teachers, Schools, and Society, 8th edition (2008) by David Miller Sadker, Myra Pollack Sadker and Karen R. Zittleman. ISBN is 978-0-07-352590-7. The quote is on page 75. Publisher is McGraw-Hill.

Now, the reason that I haven't added this to the page is that despite the source I have is that I have not been able to independently confirm the quote in any other source. "The 1750s" statement gives me pause. The vagueness makes me doubt the quote's authenticity. Does anyone here have more information about this quote? Henrymrx 05:07, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This looks completely bogus to me. Both the phrasing and the sentiment are anachronistically modern, and in the 1750s this wasn't America yet. ~ Ningauble 15:33, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think I've traced this. It appears to be a modern paraphrase of part of a Benjamin Franklin letter - "on the condition and character of the Germans in Pennsylvania" - to Peter Collinson, May 9, 1753, as printed in The Works of Benjamin Franklin: first page / relevant section. How authentic it is, I don't know; a footnote says it was first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1834, having been found in a diary. Gordonofcartoon 01:18, 12 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, first of all the textbook in question does NOT say it is a quote. It says "Benjamin Franklin expressed this view."[14] Secondly, the source for Franklin's actual words is at best a plausible but questionable third-hand transcription of a document of unclear provenance:
There is a reprint of the complete magazine article in "Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Volume 1", pp. 5–16, wherein the diarist Thomas Green is quoted giving the following provenance for the letter: "In looking over some papers this morning, I met with the following curious and unpublished letter of Dr. Franklin, (p. 11, italics in original). For information about Mr. Green and the provenance of his diary see Edmund Gosse, Gossip in a Library (1914), pp. 205–211. For the original Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature published anonymously by Mr. Green, which does not include this entry, see the edition of 1810.
Based on a Google search, I do not think this is misattributed widely enough that we need a rebuttal in the article. I pity the future students of any prospective teachers who do not recognize this text is not a quote, or at least question it as Henrymrx did. ~ Ningauble 20:46, 12 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Antisemitic quote[edit]

The quote stating that the great threat "is the Jew" comes from a forged speech that is specifically discredited in a Wikipedia article, sourced from a 2004 congressional report. Is there some reason this is not at the very least in the Misattributed section or simply removed entirely? This quote was fabricated by a 1930s religious extremist who was later arrested for treason, sedition, and libel. Its intent was only ever to smear and deceive. I submit that it does not belong on this page at all.

Brubble 03:46, 26 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The quote actually IS in the misattributed section — with numerous other misattributions, where it is described as "Part of a longer quotation attributed to Franklin during the Constitutional Convention, supposedly recorded by Charles Pinckney in a journal that no longer exists. The quotation, first appearing in print in the 1930s, uses English idioms that were unknown in Franklin's time." ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 04:05, 26 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Long quote on argumentation[edit]

Here's a long quote on argumentation; I wasn't sure whether it should be posted somewhere here. Found at a colleague's blog:

There was another Bookish Lad in the Town, John Collins by Name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of Argument, & very desirous of confuting one another. Which disputatious Turn, by the way, is apt to because a very bad Habit, making People often extremely disagreeable in Company, by the Contradiction that is necessary to bring it into Practice, & thence, besides souring & spoiling the Conversation, is productive of Disgusts and perhaps Enmities where you may have occasion for Friendship. I had caught it by reading my Father’s Books of Dispute about Religion. Persons of good Sense, I have since observ’d, seldom fall into it, except Lawyers, University Men, and Men of all Sorts that have been bred at Edinburgh. . . .
While I was intent on improving my Language, I met with an English Grammar (I think it was Greenwood’s), at the End of which there were two little Sketches of the Arts ofRhetoric and Logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic Method. And soon after I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many Instances of the same Method. I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt Contradiction and positive Argumentation, and put on the humble Enquirer & Doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury & Collins, become a real Doubter in many Points of our Religious Doctrine, I found this Method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it. Therefore I took a Delight in it, practis’d it continually & grew very artful and expert in drawing People even of superior Knowledge into Concessions the Consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in Difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining Victories that neither my self nor my Cause always deserved.–
I continu’d this Method some few Years, but gradually left it, retaining only the Habit of expressing my self in Terms of modest Diffidence, never using when I advance anything that may possibly be disputed, the Words Certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the Air of Positiveness to an Opinion; but rather say, I conceive, or I apprehend a Thing to be so or so, It appears to me, or I should think it so or so for such & such Reasons, or I imagine it to be so, or it is so if I am not mistaken. –This Habit I believe has been of great Advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my Opinions & persuade Men into Measures that I have been from time to time engag’d in promoting.-
And as the chief Ends of Conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning sensible men would not lessen their Power of doing Good by a Positive assuming Manner that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create Opposition, and to defeat every one of those Purposes for which Speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving Information or Pleasure: For If you would inform, a positive dogmatical Manner in advancing your Sentiments, may provoke Contradiction & prevent a candid Attention. If you wish Information and Improvement from the Knowledge of others and yet at the same time express your self as firmly fix’d in your present Opinions, modest sensible Men, who do not love Disputation, will probably leave you undisturb’d in the Possession of your Error; and by such a Manner you can seldom hope to recommend your self in pleasing your Hearers, or to persuade those whose Concurrence you desire.

From Part One of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1793; from The Library of America edition of Benjamin Franklin: Writings, 1987

Thoughts? Jodi.a.schneider 13:06, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This looks much too long to use as a quote. Our rule of thumb is 250 words, about the length of the Gettysburg Address. ~ Ningauble 12:29, 21 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


These require citations to adequate sources before being placed into the main article.
  • If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.
    • This is reminiscent of the writing of Pliny the Younger in his letter (VI.16) to Tacitus "For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading..."
  • Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.
    • The sayings of Poor Richard; 1889; p. 228
  • Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
  • Never ruin an apology with an excuse.
  • Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.
    • It is listed without attribution in a book of proverbs from 1901 [15]
  • Do not fear having no friends. Fear having bad friends.
  • It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.

Cultural Morals and the Dead[edit]

This is often attributed to BF, but I think this is false due to lack of reference. Any help?

"One can tell the morals of a culture by the way they treat their dead."


Thekaleb 19:24, 2 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Born ignorant[edit]

A number of quotation sites give this saying ("We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.") as Benjamin Franklin's. I can't find it in Franklin's works, and the oldest reference Google Books comes up with is 2005 or so. Could this be a modern paraphrase of something Franklin wrote? Sbh 23:32, 2 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I found a book from 1990, but no attribution. It's quite possibly not Franklin.

The sentence would have had a different meaning to an 18th century speaker, and so it is unlikely one used by Franklin.

The thought has the feel of the late 20th to 21st century. I doubt any thinker in the 18th century would have thought this way. That's only opinion, but I would want very firm evidence before believing Franklin said anything like this. I see no such evidence.
Also, see the independent same opinion at English Language & Usage Stack Exchange. Zaslav (talk) 04:48, 13 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Trickery and Treachery quotation[edit]

  • Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools who have not wits enough to be honest.
    • As quoted in Dr. Swan's Prescriptions for Job-Itis (2003) by Dennis Swanberg and Criswell Freeman, p. 45

This is a misquotation of a saying from the 1740 edition of Poor Richard's Almanac, and is already cited on that page:

  • Tricks and trechery are the Practice of Fools, that have not Wit enough to be honest.

I think it should probably be deleted here. Sbh 19:30, 13 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quotations from Cato's Letters[edit]

The following quotations, attributed here to Franklin writing under the pseudonym of Silence Dogood, are in fact taken from Cato's Letters (written by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon) and quoted in the named source by Franklin. (The letter in question can be read here.)

  • WITHOUT Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the Right of another. And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only bounds it ought to know. This sacred Privilege is to essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Fteeness [sic!] of Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.
  • That Men ought to speak well of their Governours is true, while their Governours, deserve to be well spoken of, but to do publick Mischief, without hearing of it, is only the Prerogative and Felicity of Tyranny: A free People will be shewing that they are so, by their Freedom of Speech.
  • The Administration of Government, is nothing else but the Attendence of the Trustees of the People upon the Interest and Affairs of the People: And as it is the Part and Business of the People, for whole Sake alone all publick Matters are, or ought to be transacted, to see whether they be well or ill transacted, so it is the Interest, and ought to be the Ambition, of all honest Magistrates, to have their Deeds openly examined, and Publickly scann'd[.]
  • Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well as the Effect of a good Government. In old Rome, all was left to the Judgment and Pleasure of the People, who examined the publick Proceedings with such Discretion, & censured those who administred them with such Equity and Mildness, that in the space of Three Hundred Years, not five publick Ministers suffered unjustly. Indeed whenever the Commons proceeded to Violence, the great Ones had been the Agressors.
  • Misrepressentation of publick Measures is easily overthrown, by representing publick Measures truly; when they are honest, they ought to be publickly known, that they may be publickly commended, but if they are knavish or pernicious, they ought to be publickly exposed, in order to be pubickly detested.

I've removed them from the Franklin page, where they obviously don't belong, but I'm not sure what to do with them. These quotations seem to be worth keeping, but I'm not sure where to put them. Wikiquotes doesn't seem to have a page for Cato's Letters or for either of the authors. Any thoughts? Sbh (talk) 17:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The above quotations have been moved to the Freedom of speech site. I suggest you create a page for both authors and then insert the quotes from the relevant authors. This page should help you to do this.

You're finished[edit]

"When you're finished changing, you're finished." is attributed to my buddy B. Frank but I can't find a source. Any help here fellow Frankliners?

Doesn't sound like Franklin to me. He wrote aphorisms in the style of 18th century Neoclassical prose, but this looks like a 20th century idiom. ~ Ningauble (talk) 13:07, 18 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - possibly inspired by a quote by Simon Bradstreet[edit]

The Wikiquote page for Thomas Jefferson notes that the quote "Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God" is often misattribted to him. It also notes that earliest use of this quote comes from Simon Bradstreet and it provides two sources for the quote: Official Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the State Convention: assembled May 4th, 1853 (1853) by the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, p. 502 and A Book of New England Legends and Folk Lore (1883) by Samuel Adams Drake. p.426. Unfortunately these are print sources so you can't quickly see the quote and compare it to Benjamin Franklin's proposed motto for the Great Seal of the United States]. Furthermore these sources probably don't discusses any possible connected between the similarity of these quotes. Does anybody have any information on a possible connection between these quotes?

"If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."[edit]

I've seen this attributed to Franklin, but with no source. In searching, I've also seen it attributed to Gen. Patton, so my alarm bells went off double-time. Can anyone help? JayHubie (talk) 04:42, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“ Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” — Walter Lippmann, The Stakes of Diplomacy (1915)

Source of Franklin quote on poverty[edit]

"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..."

Though this is quoted widely, none of the sources I've seen cites a source. I did find this: Allreet01 (talk) 12:59, 2 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is from "On the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor" written under the pseudonym Arator and published in The London Chronicle, 29 November 1766. S0208 (talk) 13:22, 2 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1772 Apple Quotation[edit]

I came across this quote online: “Calling it an apple does not make it an apple.”Benjamin Franklin, 1772. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 14:02, 9 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Sound nothing but sound" in misattributions[edit]

The phrase "My opponent's argument is sound—nothing but sound", a version of which is in the Misattributions section, occurred in the 1949 movie Adam's Rib, written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. 13:03, 20 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The full quote in context would be "First of all, I should like to say at the outset that I think the arguments advanced by the counsel for the defense were sound. Mere sound." 93 (talk) 21:58, 26 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well-armed gentlemen[edit]

"Democracy is an agreement about rules between well-armed gentlemen." appears in the Internet (for example, ). Does someone know the source? Tovarischivanov (talk) 17:59, 23 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source for this quote?[edit]

I've found this quote online attributed to Ben Franklin. "An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest" Does anyone know of a source for it?Just A Regular New Yorker (talk) 23:51, 18 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Still me. Anyone have any sources?Just A Regular New Yorker (talk) 19:27, 22 October 2017 (UTC) Just A Regular New Yorker (talk) 19:27, 22 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An attribution that reads "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him; an investment; in knowledge; always pays the best interest. Franklin. " appears on Page 480 of "Day’s Collacon: an Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations," published in 1884.
Doesn't mean it's Franklin's per se, but it has been attributed to him for quite some time. 23:03, 22 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Squander Time" quotation.[edit]

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. — This quotation is so widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin that it should certainly be on this page, either as verified with a citation as to the actual source; as misattributed, with identification of the actual source; or as disputed, with a discussion. Embram (talk) 15:58, 28 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Franklin's Jackass?[edit]

A review of [ Michael Waldman (2016) The Fight To Vote includes the following attributed to Ben Franklin:

"Today a man owns a jackass worth fifty dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the mean time has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers -- but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?"

If this is accurate, I think it belongs in the Wikiquote article on "Benjamin Franklin". Sadly, I don't have easy access to this book.

What do you think? Thanks, DavidMCEddy (talk) 15:18, 4 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I asked about this on w:Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities: w:Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities#source for Ben Franklin's Jackass. The quote appears on p. 3 of Keyssar (2000) Right to Vote. Waldman (my source above) cites Keyssar as a source but acknowledges that the original source is Benjamin Franklin (1828) The Casket, or Flowers of Literature, Wit and Sentiment. Closer inspection of that document suggests that it was monthly magazine. A search for "Franklin" found his name on 4 different pages. However, a search for "jackass" found nothing.
Someone there also found it from an 1827 newspaper, which I just cited in adding this quote to the "Attributed" section just a minute ago.
Thanks, DavidMCEddy (talk) 23:40, 30 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]