Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Benjamin Franklin, 1706 – 1790

Born: 17 January 1706, Boston, Massachusetts
Died: 17 August 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

At various times Franklin was a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician, an economist, and a flyer of kites. He even came up with the idea that became Daylight Saving Time, but those who point this out generally fail to mention that it was a joke. Not only were his letters and longer works often a source, he actually spent a fair amount of time writing short bits for his Poor Richard’s Almanac, so quote collectors didn’t even have to go looking for the good parts.

Benjamin Franklin quotes:

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
    Benjamin Franklin

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
    Benjamin Franklin

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
    Benjamin Franklin

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
    Benjamin Franklin

A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two different things.
    Benjamin Franklin

A little neglect may breed great mischief.
    Benjamin Franklin

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
    Benjamin Franklin

A penny saved is two pence clear, A pin a day’s a groat a year.
    Benjamin Franklin

After three days men grow weary of a wench, a guest, and rainy weather.
    Benjamin Franklin

All humanity is divided into three classes: those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move!
    Benjamin Franklin

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
    Benjamin Franklin

Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one.
    Benjamin Franklin

Anger warms the Invention, but overheats the Oven.
    Benjamin Franklin

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.
    Benjamin Franklin

At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit, and at forty, the judgment.
    Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac (June 1741)

Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.
    Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac (1755)

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.
    Benjamin Franklin

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.
    Benjamin Franklin

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.
    Benjamin Franklin

By heaven we understand a state of happiness infinite in degree, and endless in duration.
    Benjamin Franklin

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
    Benjamin Franklin

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
    Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac (1749)

Do good to thy Friend to keep him, to thy enemy to gain him.
    Benjamin Franklin

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
    Benjamin Franklin

Doing an Injury puts you below your Enemy; Revenging one makes you but even with him; Forgiving it sets you above him.
    Benjamin Franklin

Dollars cannot buy yesterday. Energy and persistence conquer all things.
    Benjamin Franklin

Don’t judge men’s wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance.
    Benjamin Franklin

Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.
    Benjamin Franklin

Drive thy business, or it will drive thee.
    Benjamin Franklin

Each year, one vicious habit rooted out in time ought to make the worst man good.
    Benjamin Franklin

Energy and persistence conquer all thing.
    Benjamin Franklin

Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other.
    Benjamin Franklin

Fatigue is the best pillow.
    Benjamin Franklin

Fear God, and your enemies will fear you.
    Benjamin Franklin

Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else.
    Benjamin Franklin

Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain: and it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.
    Benjamin Franklin

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
    Benjamin Franklin

Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of Heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business.
    Benjamin Franklin

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

God heals, and the doctor takes the fees.
    Benjamin Franklin

Half the truth is often a great lie.
    Benjamin Franklin

He does not possess wealth that allows it to possess him.
    Benjamin Franklin

He is ill clothed, who is bare of virtue.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that blows the coals in quarrels he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that lives upon hope will die fasting.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that spills the Rum loses that only; He that drinks it, often loses both that and himself.
    Benjamin Franklin

He that’s secure is not safe.
    Benjamin Franklin

He who shall introduce into public affairs the principle of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.
    Benjamin Franklin

He’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.
    Benjamin Franklin

Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?
    Benjamin Franklin

How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.
    Benjamin Franklin

How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.
    Benjamin Franklin

I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.
    Benjamin Franklin

I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
    Benjamin Franklin

I know not which lives more unnatural lives, obeying husbands, or commanding wives.
    Benjamin Franklin

I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody.
    Benjamin Franklin

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

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 sharking and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable.
    Benjamin Franklin

Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter.
    Benjamin Franklin

Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter.
    Benjamin Franklin

If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.
    Benjamin Franklin

If evils come not, then our fears are vain; And if they do, fear but augments the pain.
    Benjamin Franklin

If passion drives, let reason hold the reins.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you have no honey in your pot, have some in your mouth.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you ride a horse, sit close and tight, if you ride a man, sit easy and light.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas. This sum may be soon spent, the regret only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
    Benjamin Franklin

If you would reap Praise you must sow the Seeds, Gentle Words and useful Deeds.
    Benjamin Franklin

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
    Benjamin Franklin

It is a great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults; greater to tell him his.
    Benjamin Franklin

It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses, or fine furniture.
    Benjamin Franklin

It isn’t what you know that counts, it’s what you think of in time.
    Benjamin Franklin

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
    Benjamin Franklin

Keep the eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards.
    Benjamin Franklin

Kill no more pigeons than you can eat.
    Benjamin Franklin

Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
    Benjamin Franklin

Learn of the skilful; He that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master.
    Benjamin Franklin

Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions, and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy pocket begin to thrive; creditors will not insult, nor want oppress, nor hungerness bite, nor nakedness freeze thee.
    Benjamin Franklin

Life’s Tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.
    Benjamin Franklin

Lost time is never found again.
    Benjamin Franklin

Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
    Benjamin Franklin

Mankind are very odd creatures: One half censure what they practise, the other half practise what they censure; the rest always say and do as they ought.
    Benjamin Franklin

Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not so. It is so. It is not so.
    Benjamin Franklin

Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it.
    Benjamin Franklin

Many estates are spent in the getting,
since women for tea forsake spinning and knitting,
and men for punch forsake hewing and splitting.
    Benjamin Franklin

Marry your son when you will, but you daughter when you can.
    Benjamin Franklin

Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
    Benjamin Franklin

Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones, and repay greater ones—with ingratitude.
    Benjamin Franklin

Necessity never made a good bargain.
    Benjamin Franklin

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
    Benjamin Franklin

No man was ever glorious, who was not laborious.
    Benjamin Franklin

No nation was ever ruined by trade.
    Benjamin Franklin

None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.
    Benjamin Franklin

Our necessities never equal our wants.
    Benjamin Franklin

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.
    Benjamin Franklin

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
    Benjamin Franklin

Remember that time is money.
    Benjamin Franklin

Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
    Benjamin Franklin

Setting too good an example is a kind of slander seldom forgiven.
    Benjamin Franklin

Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it’s hurtful.
    Benjamin Franklin

Success has ruined many a man.
    Benjamin Franklin

Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.
    Benjamin Franklin

Taxes on consumption, like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform.
    Benjamin Franklin

The doors of wisdom are never shut.
    Benjamin Franklin

The first mistake in public business is the going into it.
    Benjamin Franklin

The grand leap of the whale up the Fall of Niagara is esteemed, by all who have seen it, as one of the finest spectacles in nature.
    Benjamin Franklin

The heart of the Fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of the wise man is in his heart.
    Benjamin Franklin

The height of foolishness is to discard an idea without proper investigation
    Benjamin Franklin

The most exquisite folly is made of wisdom spun too fine.
    Benjamin Franklin

The noblest question in the world is: What Good may I do in it?
    Benjamin Franklin

The things which hurt, instruct.
    Benjamin Franklin

The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.
    Benjamin Franklin

The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.
    Benjamin Franklin

The used key is always bright.
    Benjamin Franklin

The way to be safe is never to be secure.
    Benjamin Franklin

The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.
    Benjamin Franklin

The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
    Benjamin Franklin

There are three great friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
    Benjamin Franklin

There are two ways of being happy: We may either diminish our wants or augment our means — either will do — the result in the same; and it is for each man to decide for himself, and do that which happens to be the easier. If you are idle or sick or poor, however hard it may be to diminish your wants, it will be harder to augment your means. If you are active and prosperous or young and in good health, it may be easier for you to augment your means than to diminish your wants. But if you are wise, you will do both at the same time, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well; and if you are very wise you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society.
    Benjamin Franklin

There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.
    Benjamin Franklin

There is no little enemy.
    Benjamin Franklin

There never was a good war or a bad peace.
    Benjamin Franklin – Letter, 27 July 1783

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin

Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.
    Benjamin Franklin

Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.
    Benjamin Franklin

Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
    Benjamin Franklin

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.
    Benjamin Franklin

To be proud of knowledge is to be blind with light.
    Benjamin Franklin

To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.
    Benjamin Franklin

To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her girl friends.
    Benjamin Franklin

To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her girlfriends.
    Benjamin Franklin

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.
    Benjamin Franklin

To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.
    Benjamin Franklin

To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.
    Benjamin Franklin

Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.
    Benjamin Franklin

Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.
    Benjamin Franklin

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
    Benjamin Franklin

Wealth is not his that has it, but his who enjoys it.
    Benjamin Franklin

Well done is better than well said.
    Benjamin Franklin

What maintains one vice would bring up two children.
    Benjamin Franklin – “Father Abraham’s Speech”, Poor Richard’s Almanac (1758)

What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of living might mankind have acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of public utility; what an extension of agriculture even to the tops of our mountains; what rivers rendered navigable, or joined by canals; what bridges, aqueducts, new roads, and other public works, edifices, and improvements might not have been obtained by spending those millions in doing good, which in the last war have been spent in doing mischief.
    Benjamin Franklin

What’s a Sun-Dial in the shade?
    Benjamin Franklin

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
    Benjamin Franklin

Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
    Benjamin Franklin

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He who is content. Who is that? Nobody.
    Benjamin Franklin

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
    Benjamin Franklin

Without justice courage is weak.
    Benjamin Franklin

Would you live with ease, do what you ought, and not what you please.
    Benjamin Franklin

Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
    Benjamin Franklin

You may delay, but time will not.
    Benjamin Franklin

You tell me, and I forget. You teach me, and I remember. You involve me, and I learn.
    Benjamin Franklin

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