Tag: Ben Franklin

Among These Rights

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Among these. A government that doesn’t secure for its citizens the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is illegitimate. Ol’ Tommy J. was specific about that point when he penned the Declaration. But he implies the existence of others. Heck, he does more than imply it; let me quote from further down the Declaration, in the list of complaints:

Quote of the Day: Death and Taxes

 

“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 death and taxes.”

Thus wrote Benjamin Franklin, 229 years ago today, on November 13, 1789.  The recipient of his musings was one Jean-Baptiste Leroy, an eighteenth-century physicist and regular correspondent with Franklin.  Like Franklin, he was fascinated by the science of electricity, and in 1749, he was a co-constructer of the electrometer, a device for detecting and measuring electrical charges and voltages. Thank you M. Leroy.  I sing your praises every time I flip the circuit breaker, but then stick the little prongs of the pocket version of your invention into the outlet, or into the box, just to make absolutely sure I’m not going to send myself to kingdom come when I touch the bare wires.  (I do loathe electrical projects.  Messing with something I can’t see, which has the shocking power to send me instantly into the next world, fussels my boogie immensely.)

Quote of the Day: Common Sense

 

Today’s quote is again from the movie musical 1776. It comes at the point in the story where John Adams and Ben Franklin, desperately looking for a way to delay a vote on independence that they know they will lose, propose the writing of a Declaration of the colonist’s intent. Pressed by the other delegates for an explanation of why the Declaration is necessary, Adams and Franklin are foundering, unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, until Thomas Jefferson steps up and saves them, saying:

“To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”

Quote of the Day: Treason

 

I’m taking this Ben Franklin quote from the musical 1776 that I watched on the 4th, as I do most years. I’m not certain whether he said it, but most of the lines in that movie are authentic, although frequently not in the place and time depicted, so I’m going to assume that Franklin actually said it. (If only there were some resource I could use to look up answers to these sorts of questions.)

“Treason… Treason is a charge invented by winners, as an excuse for hanging the losers.”