Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a profoundly influential American whose contributions changed the beginnings and future landscape of the country’s political, international, educational, and social life. His roles were in flux throughout his lifetime—writer, printer, editor, free-thinker, inventor, diplomat.
Franklin was the founder of a number of institutions integral, today, to an American way of life—the first lending library (the Philadelphia Library in 1731), the first scholarly voluntary association (the Junto or “Leather Apron” Club), the first fire department (the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia in 1736), and the postal system. He served as the first Postmaster general in 1753. He wrote and printed the Poor Richard’s Almanack, an immensely popular book of homespun wisdom. Franklin Invented the open stove (also called the “Franklin”). He served as a political representative of Pennsylvania to the Colonial Congress; was a contributor and signer of the Declaration of Independence; and participated in the framing of the U.S. Constitution. During his lifetime, Franklin received various academic degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Oxford in England.
1 “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
2 “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
3 “Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.”
4 “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
5 “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
6 “Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.”
7 “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
8 “When you’re testing to see how deep water is, never use two feet.”
9 “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.”
10 “Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.”