Benjamin Franklin's keen mind and eloquent tongue made him a truly inspirational speaker. Many of his quotations and maxims convey important truths relevant to modern society. An alphabetically-sorted sampling of his wise words is provided here:
Referential Quotes:Take a look at Franklin discussing all the nuances of life.
Poor Richard's Almanack: View the wise epigrams Franklin wrote for his yearly publication.
"Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy."
"Here you would know and enjoy what posterity will say of Washington. For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years. "
"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."
"I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did."
"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity."
"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 sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America."
"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. "
"Like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them."
"Never contradict anybody."
"No nation was ever ruined by trade."
"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except deathand taxes."
"Remember, that time is money."
"The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, to hear much; always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as possibly we can; to hearken to what is said and to answer to the purpose."
"There never was a good war nor a bad peace."
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
"We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
"You and I were long friends: you are now my enemy, and I am yours."
"A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats."
"A little neglect may breed mischief, ...for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost."
"A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose to the grindstone."
"A penny saved is a penny earned."
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do."
"At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment."
"Diligence is the Mother of good luck."
"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
"Early morning hath gold in its mouth."
"Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
"Energy and persistence conquer all things."
"Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."
"Fish and visitors smell in three days."
"Genius without education is like silver in the mine."
"God helps them that help themselves."
"Haste makes waste."
"Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is."
"He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face."
"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."
"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
"He who multiplies riches multiplies cares."
"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade."
"If Jack's in love, he's no judge of Jill's beauty."
"If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect."
"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
"Kill no more pigeons than you can eat."
"Little strokes fell great oaks."
"Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths."
"Necessity never made a good bargain."
"Never confuse motion with action."
"Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day."
"Plough deep while sluggards sleep."
"Read much, but not many books."
"Some are weather-wise, some are otherwise."
"The sleeping fox catches no poultry."
"They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles."
"There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government."
"Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account."
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."
"Three removes are as bad as a fire. "
"To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girl friends."
"To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy meals."
"Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore."
"Well done is better than well said."
"Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame."
"Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting."