Thursday Open Thread

Alaska Marmot in Denali National Park • photo courtesy Brennan Emerson



“In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

– Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766


“How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack


“America…must become a great country, populous and mighty, and will, in less time than is generally conceived, be able to shake off any shackles that may be imposed on her, and perhaps place them on the imposers.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Lord Kames (11 Apr. 1767)


“I reflected in my Mind on the extream Folly of those Parents, who, blind to their Childrens Dulness, and insensible of the Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purses can afford it, will needs send them to the Temple of Learning, where, for want of a suitable Genius, they learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a Room genteely… and from whence they return, after Abundance of Trouble and Charge, as great Blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Silence Dogood, No. 4


“Grievances cannot be redressed unless they are known; and they cannot be known but through complaints and petitions. if these are deemed affronts, and the messengers punished as offenders, who will henceforth send petitions? And who will deliver them?”

– Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Thomas Cushing (15 Feb. 1774)


“The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Joseph Priestley (8 Feb. 1780)


“In free governments the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors and sovereigns. For the former, therefore, to return among the latter was not to degrade but to promote them.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Convention debate (26 July 1787)

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