18th century American printer, inventor and statesman


Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 - April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. One of the earliest Founders, Franklin was noted for his curiosity, writings, ingenuity and diversity of interests. His wise and scintillating writings are proverbial to this day. He shaped the American Revolution, despite never holding national elective office; a leader of the Enlightenment, he gained the reognition of scientists and intellectuals across Europe and the United States. ..."


17 Jan 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts


17 Apr 1790, in Philadelphia


Benjamin Franklin: A Documentary History -- J.A. Leo Lemay
University of Delaware, English Department
Junto Society Founder of the Month, by Monty Rainey, Jan 2003


Ben Franklin on Liberty, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 3 Feb 2003
"... attention ... deserves to be paid to what Franklin said about America and the liberty it was designed to protect ... It is worth remembering some of those inspirational words. 'They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety ...'"
Benjamin Franklin: The Man Who Invented the American Dream, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Apr 1997
"Benjamin Franklin pioneered the spirit of self-help in America. ... When Franklin saw that something needed doing, he did it. ... Franklin was a late-blooming radical. ... Franklin urged that the Declaration be adopted unanimously, saying we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Related Topic: John Hancock
Benjamin Franklin - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Childhood Ends at Puberty, by Charley Reese, 15 Apr 2006
Recounts the early life of Benjamin Franklin and argues for ending formal basic education by 13
"From 11 to 12, he worked in his father's shop making candles and soap ... From age 13 to 15, he worked for his brother and wrote broadside ballads. He borrowed books to read, among them John Bunyan, Xenophon, John Locke, various histories and religious polemics ... At age 16, Franklin started his own newspaper, and his career was under way."
Empire or Liberty: The Antifederalists and Foreign Policy, 1787-1788 [PDF], by Jonathan Marshall, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1980
"Few Federalists harbored any doubts as to America's future greatness under a centralized, energetic regime. ... Benjamin Franklin, too, had abandoned the ideal of the small Spartan republic, as he began to sense the awesome implications of 'our growing Strength, both in Numbers and Wealth.'"
Franklin's Golden Rules, by Mark Skousen, The Daily Reckoning, 18 May 2006
"Benjamin Franklin made great contributions as an inventor, scientist, writer, and founding father, but he is also offered valuable advice on money matters. ... An incurable optimist, Franklin was always bullish on America, and life in general. ... Franklin continued to live frugally, even during his retirement ..."
Frederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1997
Lengthy biographical essay, covering those who influenced Bastiat as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Félix Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
"Bastiat came across a copy of Poor Richard's Almanack in 1827. He wrote a friend: 'I have discovered a real treasure—a small volume of the moral and political philosophy of Franklin. I am so enthusiastic about his style that I intend to adopt it as my own.'"
In Pursuit of Liberty, by Jarret B. Wollstein, May 1997
Primer on liberty concepts, including voluntary vs. coercive associations, individual rights, government and possible future improvements in the status quo
"Even the United States imprisoned over 115,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II in the name of 'national security.' As Benjamin Franklin observed in 1759, those who give up their liberty in exchange for government promises of security, end up with neither liberty nor security."
No U-Turns, by Jack Dennon, 29 May 2006
Critiques the U.S. Constitution and the government it allowed to be set up, with quotes from Albert Jay Nock and Lysander Spooner
"Recall that on his way home from Independence Hall, where he had been delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1789, Benjamin Franklin is said to have been asked what kind of government he and the others had created. 'A republic,' answered Franklin, 'if you can keep it.' If the Franklin fable be true, then evidently like many today, Ben had not read the fine print."
The Philosophy of Paine, by Thomas A. Edison, The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison, 7 Jun 1925
Edison laments the lack of interest in Paine's writings, outlines his life, discusses the main writings and encourages others to read him
"Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. ... Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. ... Paine, you know, came over to the Colonies after meeting Franklin in London. He had encountered numerous misfortunes, and Franklin gave him letters to friends back home which resulted in his becoming editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine in January of 1775."
The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
"The philosophic Dr. Franklin signed the [Constitution] 'with tears, and apologized for doing it at all, from the doubts and apprehensions he felt.' He then observed and predicted, 'that its complexion was doubtful; that it might last for ages, involve one-quarter of the globe, and probably terminate in despotism.'"
Thomas Paine-Passionate Pamphleteer for Liberty: A Singleminded Private Individual Aroused Millions to Throw Off Their Oppressors, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jan 1996
Biographical essay, highlighting Paine's writings in Common Sense, American Crisis, Rights of Man and Age of Reason
"He befriended a London astronomer who introduced him to Benjamin Franklin, then working to expand business with England. Franklin seems to have convinced Paine that he could make a better life in America, and Franklin provided a letter of introduction to his son-in-law in Philadelphia."
Time Out of Mind, by Christopher M. Montalbano, 12 Mar 2007
"All of us have heard since childhood that Benjamin Franklin was the first to propose 'daylight saving time.' ... The letter is really an example of American satire at its finest — it might have been written by Mark Twain 100 years later, or H. L. Mencken 50 years after that. It is hilarious. It concludes with a pure libertarian reductio ad absurdum of the idea that the state should enforce such an institution."


The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D.: Originally Written by Himself, and Now Translated from the French, 1791
Also known as 'The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin', addressed to his son