Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Benjamin Franklin has gone down as one of the most quotable men in the history of America, and it is easy to see why when you look at some of the best Ben Franklin quotes.  Whether it is ruminating on the ethics of freedom or making apt remarks about the benefits of healthy living, this venerable Founding Father had something to say about almost anything, and many of his quotes have continued to be popular today.

  1. “They who can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  This Franklin quote was uttered in 1775, and became quite popular in Pennsylvania.  It basically implies that essential freedoms are more important than any other considerations and should be held in the highest of trust and esteem.
  2. “Eat to live, and not live to eat.”  This Benjamin Franklin quote is particularly applicable in today’s world, when the obesity epidemic seems to show no signs of abating.  In essence, Franklin urges us to not to take too much pleasure in the food that eat and to remember that food is essentially meant to nourish our bodies, not to be an end in itself.
  3. “Necessity never made a good bargain.”  This is a good quote to keep in mind whenever you plan on engaging in any business dealings, as it reminds us that, if we go into a business deal because we absolutely need something, we are most likely going to be at the mercy of the person who is loaning us the money (or other material).  This is an especially apt quote for the contemporary moment, when the financial crisis seems to have everyone in its clutches.
  4. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  This is perhaps the most famous Benjamin Franklin quote, and is the one that most people are probably familiar with.  In essence, dear old Franklin is urging us to maintain good living habits, including adequate rest and health, and we will be able to perform more productively and think better.
  5. “What is serving God?  Tis doing Good to Man.”  In this quote, Benjamin Franklin reminds us that simply saying that you serve God is not enough.  Instead, you must make it clear by your actions that you are also helping your fellow man, which he says is the best way to follow the laws of God.
  6. “God helps those that help themselves.”  Although last on the list, this is also one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes.  Always an advocate of hard work, here Benjamin Franklin reminds his readers that it is important not to rely too much on others (including God) to help you do what is in your power to do yourself.  Instead, he urges everyone to do what they can to assist themselves, and then God will help them (although they may in fact find that they don’t really need the help after all).
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