Gods of Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin

Today is Benjamin Franklin’s 307th birthday. Happy birthday Ben!

I figured today would be a great day to add Franklin to my “Gods of Pennsylvania” list -- and if this list were like the pantheon of Greek gods, Franklin would Zeus.

Although Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, he is better known as a Pennsylvanian, spending most of his life in Philadelphia (even being the President of PA for three years). His resume includes being an author, activist, diplomat, inventor, musician, politician, postmaster, printer, satirist, scientist, and statesman. He is often referred to as "The First American" and is still looked highly upon as one of the most important figures in American history.

Franklin had a fierce belief in being a virtuous person and having a country that was morally in-tune (their civic duty). This was evidenced by his active involvement many “do-good” organizations along with volunteering his time to help the poor.

At the age of twenty, Franklin was looking for ways to build up his own character and created a list of thirteen virtues:

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity: Rarely use venery (sexual indulgence) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation"

13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Even more than his striving to be upright, Franklin is known for his witty words, and is still one of the most quoted individuals in history. Some of my favorites:

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.”

“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”

“To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girlfriends.”

Other well-known quotes:

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

So, take a moment to honor the memory of this man by sharing this story, or your favorite Franklin quote, with your world.

Three cheers, and long live the memory of Benjamin Franklin!

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