Benjamin Franklin (April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
Here are 168 inspiring quotes by Benjamin Franklin on politics, morals, liberty and peace.
Benjamin Franklin’s Famous Quotes
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave.
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.
Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.
All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.
All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.
All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.
At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.
Beauty and folly are old companions.
Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Beware the hobby that eats.
Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
Creditors have better memories than debtors.
Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.
Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure.
Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other.
Fatigue is the best pillow.
For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.
Games lubricate the body and the mind.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
God helps those who help themselves.
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
Half a truth is often a great lie.
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.
He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.
He that can have patience can have what he will.
He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.
He that displays too often his wife and his wallet is in danger of having both of them borrowed.
He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
He that lives upon hope will die fasting.
He that rises late must trot all day.
He that speaks much, is much mistaken.
He that won’t be counseled can’t be helped.
He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees.
He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?
Honesty is the best policy.
How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.
Human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.
Hunger is the best pickle.
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.
I guess I don’t so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.
I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand.
I should have no objection to go over the same life from its beginning to the end: requesting only the advantage authors have, of correcting in a second edition the faults of the first.
I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.
If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.
If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.
If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.
If you desire many things, many things will seem few.
If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.
In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.
It is much easier to suppress a first desire than to satisfy those that follow.
It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.
It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
Life’s Tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.
Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it.
Many foxes grow gray but few grow good.
Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.
Marriage is the most natural state of man, and the state in which you will find solid happiness.
Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.
Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones – with ingratitude.
Necessity never made a good bargain.
Never confuse motion with action.
Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
Never take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.
Observe all men, thyself most.
One today is worth two tomorrows.
Our necessities never equal our wants.
Rather go to bed with out dinner than to rise in debt.
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Remember that credit is money.
Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
Since thou are not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.
Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.
The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing.
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
The discontented man finds no easy chair.
The doors of wisdom are never shut.
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.
The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.
The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice.
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.
The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
There are three faithful friends – an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.
There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.
There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.
Those that won’t be counseled can’t be helped.
Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion.
Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Time is money.
To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.
To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.
To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.
Tomorrow, every Fault is to be amended; but that Tomorrow never comes.
Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.
Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease.
Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure for conversations of improvement and for acquiring information.
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
Well done is better than well said.
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
When befriended, remember it; when you befriend, forget it.
When in doubt, don’t.
When men and woman die, as poets sung, his heart’s the last part moves, her last, the tongue.
When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?
When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.
Where liberty is, there is my country.
Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting.
Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?
Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Who is rich? He that rejoices in his portion.
Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
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.
Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.
Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.
Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.
Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.
You can bear your own faults, and why not a fault in your wife?
You may delay, but time will not.
Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.