Benjamin Franklin’s (1706–1790) life is a source of inspiration. Born in Boston, he was the 15th of his father’s 17 children. His early ambition was to become a minister, but he developed an interest in reading and writing. His formal education ended at 10 years old, but this did not discourage his interest in learning. Despite his limited formal education, he taught himself to become a skillful writer.
Benjamin Franklin was a man who believed in liberty and fought for America’s freedom from Britain. He was the oldest among the people who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Some of his famous quotes on liberty include:
- “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.”
- “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”
- “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
- “This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
- “It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”
- “Sell not liberty to purchase power.”
Clearly, he was passionate about his calling. Freedom does not come easy, and one must be vigilant.
Benjamin was a serial entrepreneur and investor during his lifetime. He had his own printing publishing house at the age of 24. He also invested in a rental property business in Philadelphia. Some of his famous quotes on entrepreneurship, education, and finance include:
- “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
- “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
- “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”
- “Wise men don’t need advice, fools won’t take it.”
- “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
- “What is best for people is what they do for themselves.”
Education, self-learning, and a work ethic are essential for personal and financial growth. There are no short cuts.
Benjamin’s youthful days were full of adventures, shuttling between Philadelphia and London. Some of his famous quotations on friendship, time, love, and relationships include:
- “Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.”
- “Look before, or you’ll find yourself behind.”
- “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”
- “A true friend is the best possession.”
- “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.”
He made many friends and eventually had an illicit sexual relationship that bore him a son. It was scandalous for his day as this occurred before marrying his wife.
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin mentioned the importance of preventive medicine. This came from deep personal pain and loss in which he blamed himself for failing to provide the smallpox vaccine to his son:
“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, and the smallpox taken in a common way. I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
Benjamin Franklin has come and gone; however, his memory lives on in us and in his life principles that we choose to uphold and adopt as our own. His life and testimonies continue to serve as an inspiration to many. We can look to his works when we are feeling lost and in need of direction. His quotations provide a compass that inspires self-belief and confidence to everyone that reads them.