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160 Meaningful Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Last updated on Feb 6th, 2018

160 Meaningful Benjamin Franklin Quotes

One of the most important people in American history, Benjamin Franklin (born January 17, 1706, Boston, Massachusetts Bay, English America – died April 17, 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States) was a polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a statesman, printer and publisher, scientist and inventor, author, and diplomat.

Raised in a family with modest means, Franklin had to terminate his education when he was 10. Despite that, he was an avid reader and became successful editor and publisher in Philadelphia, publishing Pennsylvania Gazette and Poor Richard’s Almanack. During his time in Philadelphia, Franklin was active in public affairs, where he helped to establish new institutions such as a lending library, a fire company, an academy, and a hospital.

As a prolific scientist and inventor, Franklin was a leading figure in the American Enlightenment for his work on electricity. Some of his most famous inventions were the lightning rod, Franklin stove, glass harmonica and bifocal glasses.

Benjamin Franklin is the only Founding Father who has signed all four of the key documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris (1783) and the United States Constitution (1787).

Today, more than 200 years after his death, Franklin’s image appears on coinage and the $100 bill, and many towns, educational institutions, counties and corporations across America are named after him.

1
They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.Franklin's Contributions to the Conference on (February 17, 1775)
2
Well done is better than well said.Poor Richard (1737)
3
You may delay, but Time will not.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
4
Dost thou love Life? then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.Poor Richard (1746)
5
God helps them that help themselves.Poor Richard (1736)
6
Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.'Silence Dogood, No. 8,' The New-England Courant (July 9, 1722)
7
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.Poor Richard (1735)
8
If you would know the Value of Money, go and try to borrow some; for, he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
9
Who is wise? He that learns from every One.
Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody.
Poor Richard Improved (1755)
Remember that Time is Money. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
10
Remember that Time is Money.Advice to a young Tradesman, written by an old One. To my Friend A. B. (1748)
11
Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made. What’s a Sun-Dial in the Shade!Poor Richard Improved (1750)
12
Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich Men poor.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
13
If you wou’d not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
Or do things worth the writing.
Poor Richard (1738)
14
Anger is never without a Reason, but seldom with a good One.Poor Richard Improved (1753)
15
Genius without Education is like Silver in the Mine.Poor Richard Improved (1750)
16
Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to die Tomorrow.Poor Richard Improved (1757)
17
A countryman between 2 Lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.Poor Richard (1737)
18
Lost Time is never found again.Poor Richard Improved (1748)
19
Whate’er’s begun in anger ends in shame.Poor Richard (1734)
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
20
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.Poor Richard (1736)
21
‘Tis a well spent penny that saves a groat.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
22
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.Poor Richard (1738)
23
Honesty is the best Policy.Letter to Edward Bridgen (Passy, October 2, 1779)
24
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.Letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy (Philadelphia, November 13, 1789)
25
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.Poor Richard (1735)
26
Necessity never made a good bargain.Poor Richard (1735)
27
A false Friend and a Shadow, attend only while the Sun shines.Poor Richard Improved (1756)
28
God heals, and the Doctor takes the Fees.Poor Richard (1736)
29
He that lives upon Hope will die fasting.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
Creditors have better memories than debtors. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
30
Creditors have better memories than debtors.Poor Richard (1736)
31
Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.Poor Richard (1743)
32
He that falls in love with himself, will have no Rivals.Poor Richard (1739)
33
The Doors of Wisdom are never shut.Poor Richard Improved (1755)
34
If Passion drives, let Reason hold the reins.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
35
As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence.Poor Richard (1738)
36
Where there’s Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage.Poor Richard (1734)
37
Men and melons are hard to know.Poor Richard (1733)
38
He that waits upon Fortune, is never sure of a Dinner.Poor Richard (1734)
39
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.Poor Richard Improved (1756)
To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
40
To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals.Poor Richard (1733)
41
He that speaks much, is much mistaken.Poor Richard (1736)
42
All Wars are Follies, very expensive and very mischieveous ones.Letter to Mary Stevenson Hewson (Passy, January 27, 1783)
43
Hear Reason, or she’ll make you feel her.Poor Richard (1744)
44
He’s a Fool that cannot conceal his Wisdom.Poor Richard (1745)
45
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.Poor Richard (1737)
46
The Way to see by Faith, is to shut the Eye of Reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
47
Tricks and Treachery are the Practice of Fools, that have not Wit enough to be honest.Poor Richard (1740)
48
Diligence is the Mother of Good-Luck.Poor Richard (1736)
49
Each year one vicious habit rooted out,
In time might make the worst Man good throughout.
Poor Richard (1738)
Most people return small Favours, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with Ingratitude. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
50
Most people return small Favours, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with Ingratitude.Poor Richard Improved (1751)
51
In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as Pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself.The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
52
Fish and Visitors stink in 3 days.Poor Richard (1736)
53
An Egg today is better than a Hen to-morrow.Poor Richard (1734)
54
The Cat in Gloves catches no Mice.Poor Richard Improved (1754)
55
Observe all men; thy self most.Poor Richard (1740)
56
He that scatters thorns, let him not go barefoot.Poor Richard (1736)
57
Poverty often deprives a Man of all Spirit and Virtue: ‘Tis hard for an empty Bag to stand upright.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
58
Many a Man thinks he is buying Pleasure, when he is really selling himself a Slave to it.Poor Richard Improved (1750)
59
Laws like to Cobwebs catch small Flies,
Great ones break thro’ before your eyes.
Poor Richard (1734)
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
60
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.Poor Richard (1736)
61
If you would keep your Secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.Poor Richard (1741)
62
Admiration is the Daughter of Ignorance.Poor Richard (1736)
63
Write Injuries in Dust, Benefits in Marble.Poor Richard (1747)
64
Have you somewhat to do to-morrow; do it to-day.Poor Richard (1742)
65
Distrust and caution are the parents of security.Poor Richard (1733)
66
‘Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.Poor Richard (1745)
67
Great Modesty often hides great Merit.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
68
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
69
He does not possess Wealth, it possesses him.Poor Richard (1734)
A great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
70
A great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges.Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (Printed in The Public Advertiser, September 11, 1773)
71
Beauty and folly are old companions.Poor Richard (1734)
72
When Man and Woman die, as Poets sung,
His Heart’s the last part moves, her last, the tongue.
Poor Richard (1739)
73
In general Mankind, since the improvement of Cookery, eat about twice as much as Nature requires.Letter to Catherine Shipley (Philada, May 2, 1786)
74
There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.Poor Richard (1738)
75
The World is full of fools and faint hearts; and yet every one has courage enough to bear the misfortunes, and wisdom enough to manage the Affairs of his neighbour.Poor Richard (1743)
76
A Lie stands on 1 leg, Truth on 2.Poor Richard (1735)
77
The poor man must walk to get meat for his stomach, the rich man to get a stomach to his meat.Poor Richard (1735)
78
All would live long, but none would be old.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
79
Fools make feasts and wise men eat ’em.Poor Richard (1733)
Look before, or you'll find yourself behind. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
80
Look before, or you’ll find yourself behind.Poor Richard (1735)
81
Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.Poor Richard Improved (1755)
82
Hunger is the best Pickle.Poor Richard Improved (1750)
83
Being ignorant is not so much a Shame, as being unwilling to learn.Poor Richard Improved (1755)
84
I saw few die of Hunger, of Eating 100000.Poor Richard (1736)
85
Don’t throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass.Poor Richard (1736)
86
Idleness and Pride Tax with a heavier Hand then Kings and Parliaments.Letter to Charles Thomson (London, July 11, 1765)
87
The discontented Man finds no easy Chair.Poor Richard Improved (1753)
88
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.Poor Richard (1738)
89
Buy what thou hast no Need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy Necessaries.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
Eat to live, and not live to eat. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
90
Eat to live, and not live to eat.Poor Richard (1733)
91
Teach your child to hold his tongue, he’l learn fast enough to speak.Poor Richard (1734)
92
He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.Poor Richard (1742)
93
Marry’d in Haste, we oft repent at Leisure.Poor Richard (1734)
94
Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon overtakes him.Poor Richard Improved (1756)
95
Trust thy self, and another shall not betray thee.Poor Richard (1739)
96
Little Strokes, Fell great Oaks.Poor Richard Improved (1750)
97
There never was a good War, or a bad Peace.Letter to Sir Joseph Banks (July 27, 1783)
98
Reading makes a full Man, Meditation a profound Man, discourse a clear Man.Poor Richard (1738)
99
Pride dines upon Vanity, sups on Contempt.Poor Richard Improved (1752)
If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
100
If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.Poor Richard (1736)
101
Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones.Poor Richard (1738)
102
There are no fools so troublesome as those that have wit.Poor Richard (1741)
103
Beware of meat twice boil’d, and an old foe reconcil’d.Poor Richard (1733)
104
The most exquisite Folly is made of Wisdom spun too fine.Poor Richard (1746)
105
You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns,
Nor enjoy a fair wife without danger of horns.
Poor Richard (1734)
106
Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.Poor Richard (1738)
107
Idleness is the Dead Sea, that swallows all Virtues.Poor Richard Improved (1757)
108
A Change of Fortune hurts a wise Man no more than a Change of the Moon.Poor Richard Improved (1756)
109
Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water.Poor Richard (1733)
The first Mistake in publick Business, is the going into it. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
110
The first Mistake in publick Business, is the going into it.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
111
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.Poor Richard (1738)
112
Silence in not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a Mark of Folly.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
113
He is ill cloth’d, who is bare of Virtue.Poor Richard (1733)
114
Pride gets into the Coach, and Shame mounts behind.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
115
To be proud of Knowledge, is to be blind with Light; to be proud of Virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.Poor Richard Improved (1756)
116
Drink does not drown Care, but waters it, and makes it grow faster.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
117
The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.Poor Richard (1733)
118
The Golden Age never was the present Age.Poor Richard Improved (1750)
119
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.Letter to the Abbés Chalut and Arnoux (April 17, 1787)
Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
120
Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.Poor Richard (1739)
121
Half the Truth is often a great Lie.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
122
Beware of little Expences, a small Leak will sink a great Ship.Poor Richard (1745)
123
Great talkers should be cropt, for they’ve no need of ears.Poor Richard (1738)
124
He that cannot obey, cannot command.Poor Richard (1734)
125
Presumption first blinds a Man, then sets him a running.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
126
Fear not Death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal.Poor Richard (1740)
127
‘Tis easier to suppress the first Desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
128
To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.Poor Richard (1742)
129
Up, Sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.Poor Richard (1741)
If you'd lose a troublesome Visitor, lend him Money. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
130
If you’d lose a troublesome Visitor, lend him Money.Poor Richard (1744)
131
Rather go to Bed supperless than rise in Debt.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
132
He that would live in peace and at ease,
Must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.
Poor Richard (1736)
133
He that can have Patience, can have what he will.Poor Richard (1736)
134
Words may shew a man’s Wit, but Actions his Meaning.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
135
Be slow in chusing a Friend, slower in changing.Poor Richard (1735)
136
When befriended, remember it: When you befriend, forget it.Poor Richard (1740)
137
The Eyes of other People are the Eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine Clothes, fine Houses nor Fine Furniture.Letter to Benjamin Vaughan (Passy, July 26, 1784)
138
The Use of Money is all the Advantage there is in having Money.Poor Richard (1737)
139
No Nation was ever ruin’d by Trade.Franklin's Contributions to a Pamphlet by George Whatley (March 1774)
Don't judge of Mens Wealth or Piety, by their Sunday Appearances. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
140
Don’t judge of Mens Wealth or Piety, by their Sunday Appearances.Poor Richard Improved (1751)
141
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.Letter to the Abbé Morellet (after July 5, 1779?)
142
He’s a Fool that makes his Doctor his Heir.Poor Richard (1733)
143
If evils come not, then our fears are vain:
And if they do, Fear but augments the pain.
Poor Richard (1741)
144
Vice knows she’s ugly, so puts on her Mask.Poor Richard (1746)
145
None are deceived but they that confide.Poor Richard (1740)
146
Cut the Wings of your Hens and Hopes, lest they lead you a weary Dance after them.Poor Richard Improved (1754)
147
The proof of gold is fire, the proof of woman, gold; the proof of man, a woman.Poor Richard (1733)
148
The Tongue offends, and the Ears get the Cuffing.Poor Richard Improved (1757)
149
He that hath no ill Fortune will be troubled with good.Poor Richard Improved (1754)
Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with Infamy. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
150
Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with Infamy.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
151
He that speaks ill of the Mare, will buy her.Poor Richard (1742)
152
The Sting of a Reproach, is the Truth of it.Poor Richard (1746)
153
Doing an Injury puts you below your Enemy; Revenging one makes you but even with him; Forgiving it sets you above him.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
154
When the Well’s dry, we know the Worth of Water.Poor Richard (1746)
155
Many Foxes grow grey, but few grow good.Poor Richard Improved (1749)
156
Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.Poor Richard (1738)
157
Where Sense is wanting, every thing is wanting.Poor Richard Improved (1754)
158
Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, Expence is constant and certain; and ’tis easier to build two Chimnies than to keep one in Fuel.Poor Richard Improved (1758)
159
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
If you would have a faithful Servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. - Benjamin Franklin Quotes
160
If you would have a faithful Servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.Poor Richard Improved (1758)