Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence.
September 28, 1776, as President (Governor) of Pennsylvania, Benjamin
Franklin signed the State's first Constitution, which stated in Frame of
Government, Section 10:
"And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:
do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the
Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do
acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by
And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this State.'"
Franklin called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention.
Congress was debating slavery, Ben Franklin became President of
Pennsylvania's Society for the Abolition of Slavery, America's first
March 23, 1790, in his last published letter (Federal Gazette),
Franklin condemned the Southern State's economic argument for continuing
slavery by satirically comparing them to the Muslim pirates who
"If we cease our cruises against
Christians, how shall we...make slaves of their people...to cultivate
our land...to perform common labors...Must we be our own slaves: And is
there not more compassion due to us as Mussulmen than to these Christian
We have now about 50,000 slaves in and near Algiers...If
we then cease taking and plundering the infidel ships and making slaves
of the seamen and passengers, our lands will become of no value for want
In his Poor Richard's Almanac, May 1757, Ben Franklin wrote:
"Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow."
Benjamin Franklin cited the Spanish Empire's downfall in The Way to Wealth, 1758:
you would be wealthy, says he...think of saving as well as of getting:
the Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater
than her incomes."
Franklin expounded the dangers of debt in The Way to Wealth, 1758:
gives all things to industry. Then plough deep, while sluggards sleep,
and you shall have corn to sell and to keep, says Poor Dick.
while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered
tomorrow, which makes Poor Richard say, one today is worth two
tomorrows; and farther, have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today...
And in another place, pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy...
madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are
offered, by the terms of this vendue, six months' credit; and that
perhaps has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the
ready money, and hope now to be fine without it...
When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty...
you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor;
you will be in fear when you speak to him, you will make poor pitiful
sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose you veracity, and sink
into base downright lying;
for, as Poor Richard says, the second vice is lying, the first is running in debt.
And again to the same purpose, lying rides upon debt's back...
often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: 'tis hard for an empty
bag to stand upright, as Poor Richard truly says...
And yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny when you run in debt for such dress!
creditor has authority at his pleasure to deprive you of your liberty,
by confining you in gaol (jail) for life, or to sell you for a servant,
if you should not be able to pay him!
When you have got your
bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but creditors, Poor
Richard tells us, have better memories than debtors...
The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it...
Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as shoulders.
Those have a short Lent, saith Poor Richard, who owe money to be paid at Easter.
since, as he says, the borrower is a slave to the lender, and the
debtor to the creditor, disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and
maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free.
present, perhaps, you may think yourself in thriving circumstances, and
that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but, For age
and want, save while you may; No morning sun lasts a whole day, as Poor
Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain...as Poor Richard says. So rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt."