Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin, (1706-1790) US Founding Father

Famous Benjamin Franklin Quote

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin
~ Benjamin Franklin


Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

A wise man, with insight into the minds & hearts of men... then and now.

Joel, Rochester, MI

Our representatives vote themselves money...our money. We are no longer a republic, but a socialist tyranny. Not a tyranny of one person, but of more than 535 in Washington.

Joanna Parker, Ocean Shores, WA

--and of freedom itself, in any temporal context.

Jose' A. Morales, New Jersey

It's Rome...all over again. Don't we learn?

Greg Walton, Eustis, FL

Truer words have never been said.

John-Douglas, Nassau

How very, very true - and how tragic!

Jodopo, Canada

I hope you Americans realize you are witnessing the demise of your Republic even as you live and breath, (and pay taxes)under the Patriot Act and its pernicious additives.

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Anonymous    7/21/06

True. Here, from the army's own website, is one of their plans for us...

Joseph Hudson, Chambersburg, PA

If Ben Franklin lived in 2008, he would probably hear a funeral dirge playing in his mind because we are whom he has described.

Nancy, Marion, OH

Time to take our Republic back. We've been patient long enough. We've attempted to reason and that isn't working. Contact your representatives and congressmen. Vote, or with hold your vote, as the situation warrants. We must learn from the history and legacy of our founding fathers.

Niel Young, Laconia,NH

We are all in agreement.........and that is unfortunate. Why more Americans cannot see what has been happening since the 1960's is baffling. Little by little (incrementalism) is what I have been preaching for years during my self-financed Saturday morning radio program ( The Advocates 8:05-Noon Eastern) and within my column in The Weirs Times ( page 12 this week. My thanks to Liberty-Tree for a lot of motivational material! Niel Young Laconia, NH

Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

This quote goes to the heart of Bastiat's book, "The Law." It goes well with another Franklin quote, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner." Democracy must always be bound by the rule of law in that it may never be used to violate the minority's rights to life, liberty or property. It should never be used as a means to legitimize murder, theft, slavery or fraud.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Thank God the people have not found that yet. There is only about 500 billion of currency in existence. If the people or the government could just print money then the government nor the people would be in debt. While our national debt is about 40% of our GDP many nations are worse, the Japaneese debt is 150% of their GDP. A World Values Survey of 350,000 people rated 55 nations in terms of happiness. The US came in at sixteenth and Denmark as first. The administrator of the survey said, "there is a strong correlation between happiness and democracy". Democracy is simply a form of government or organization of people wherein the most number of people, at any given time, feel that they are in charge of their lives. When the minority is in control this feeling of euphoria for the most number of people ceases and happiness plummets. Thus the least happy nations in the survey were Zimbabwe, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine. Nations with little experience with democracy.

Chris, Durham

To comment on Waffler's statement, Oh, I think the people have found out that they can vote themselves money. They are called Democrats.

E Archer, NYC

What are you babbling about, Waffler? Voting for money is all that Congress does!!! That is what so-called democracy has done to the nation -- it has bankrupted us -- according to this quote, the Republic has ended. Again, Waffler, you seem to misunderstand the meaning of the word 'currency.' Currency includes both the specie (i.e. the actual paper notes being used as money), cheques (most of us pay our bills with cheques), and electronic transfers (i.e. credit and debit card charges, wire transfers, etc.). Our bank balances are indeed just bits and bytes with no specie or backing behind it. Waffler, you might just get this -- and when you do I believe you will see that how 'money' is actually issued is completely corrupt. Forget about all those numbers you have quoted. EVERY SINGLE 'DOLLAR' in circulation (whether in specie or cheques or electronic) has been borrowed (that is how it is created in the first place) at interest, AND if we paid every dollar back we would still owe much, much more even though there would be no more money. That is what is called an unpayable debt, and the IRS collects enough for the interest the US government owes for the T-Bills it has issued -- that's all. This year's budget is over 1.5 trillion dollars -- most of which will be borrowed/created thus causing the value of the currency to drop. If this isn't voting for money, I don't know what is. Unchecked democracy leads to unpayable debts and eventually totalitarianism -- the borrower serves the lender.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Archer there are different measures of funds like M1, M2 etcetera. But currency is defined as green backs.

Logan, Memphis, TN

It is a statistical principle that correlation does not equate to causation.

E Archer, NYC

For heaven's sake, Waffler, being a devil's advocate for the plain fun of it is a waste of one's energy. Do you have any M1, M2 money in your bank account? NO. Then, does your bank have enough 'dollar bills' in their vaults to cover your bank balance? No -- but they can write you a cheque. Are you paid your pension in cash? No, you are paid with a cheque -- it is still currency -- all of your 'money' is currency and it is not backed by paper bills or even gold/silver -- it is backed by a 'promise to pay.' It is merely ledger entries in a book. 'Printing money' is merely a bank writing a cheque whenever someone borrows it -- it does not exist until someone borrows it. This is not M1 money, but it is issued in the same manner. And when you pay back your mortgage, the 'money' returns to the void from which it came -- it disappears and is found in no one's account again. You can't do that with a hard currency. The hard truth is that what passes for 'money' is in fact not money -- not even pieces of paper printed to look like money -- we are dealing in promises -- 'I owe you another IOU' ad infinitum. The difference between Colonial Script and the currency in use today is that it was issued interest-free. Neither M1 or M2 is issued interest-free -- and the so-called funds are simply created out of thin air -- with interest due. This is a scam of colossal proportions resulting in the theft of our labors and property to be used against us. Is there any question why the colonies revolted?

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Good Logan but correlation gives the observer a feel and for the serious observer a desire to understand the relationship or causation. I think it is a universal that people feel happier when they are in control rather than being controlled. Democracy appears to give people conrtol. Some like Mike would rather control people with the despot "natural law". The same old devil that enslaved Europe for centuries under the "natural law of Kings". I am with Voltaire on this one "crush the infamous thing".

Ken, Allyn, WA

I say the gubmint should send out a million dollar rebate check to everyone. Then we'll all be rich and never have to work again, or better yet, we can all be politicians and vote ourselves a raise.

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Dan    7/3/08

There are three basic forms of govt in the world, 1. Where one rules himself in respect of anothers right to do the same, (a republic). In America a constitutional republic. 2. Where the many rule the few, (a democracy). 3. Where the one rule the many, (a monarchy). In degraded form despotism or tyranny. In America the constitution is supposed to be a law that protects the individual rights of the one from the abuse of the many and to protect the individual rights of the many from the abuse of the one. The only place democracy entered into it was the election of those to ensure the constitution was enforced. This is the true meaning of democratic republic. Unfortunately it wasn't long before the electees realized they could gain favor with the electors by granting them access to the public coffers. The birth of democratic socialism "herald(ing) the end of the republic". Democratic socialism. Where the people are dependent on the govt. for their welfare and the one who gets elected is the one who promises the most and lies the best. Do you ever wonder why our politicians use the term democracy to describe our govt. and very rarely use the term republic? In the pledge of allegiance we pledge "to the republic", not even to the "democratic republic" because democracy was only a minor exercise to elect officials and never considered the main form of govt. Will we ever learn before it's too late?

jim k, austin

Waffler, check out the wording on a dollar bill. It says "Federal Reserve note". News Flash!! A note is something that you pay interest on, and guess who collects this interest.

Robert, Albany,NY

Does anyone know when and where Benjamin Franklin said this? "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." Thanks.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Yes, natural law, that damned despot... When will gravity ever cease to be such a menace and dictator upon the human race?!?! After billions of years of oppression and attracting coercion, when will we ever break free from natural law?! Your misunderstanding of history and how thought evolved is staggering. Through the Enlightenment, the "divine right of kings" was rejected, and the "sovereignty" of the people was acknowledged as a self evident state of being.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Robert, Albany,NY, We haven't found a source yet, but the quote has been popularly attributed to Franklin.

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Dan    7/8/08

This is addressed to Waffler's defense of democracy. "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Adams.
"It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority" -- Lord Acton.
In our Costitutional "Republic" The danger of oppression is from the govt. exceeding its limitations of power. They exceeded those limitations decades ago.

warren, olathe

Waffler, Waffler, Waffler. You seem to always be floating around in outer space somewhere.

Anonymous, Lake Orion, MI

With the $700B "bailout" that has just passed Congress, we've helped seal our own doom. Next year they will want $1.6T to promise to do the same - help us indeed!!!

Patriot, Kingsport,Tennessee

What is it going to take to return us to our Constitutional foundation?

jwala sharma, jwala sharma indore

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god

Steve Gorden, Kernersville, NC

Franklin's quote, in light of our socialists in Congress voting for this nearly $800 billion spending monstrosity is noteworthy. It should be supported by this from Hamilton: “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62, 1788 This is precisely what our elected morons have now done to us by passing this bill and none of them knowing what is truly in it. To them, this is "Monopoly Money", but our coming generations will truly pay for their political gamesmanship. Our generation will pay for it through the loss of our republic by our spiral into socialism. We may have a coming Second American Revolution. This is precisely why our founding fathers let us have the second ammendment.

Matthew, Tallahassee

That day was 11/04/08

David Major, Beaumont TX

Just say, NO! As for Franklin, Brilliant!

JTM, Rochester, NY

Where were you people when Bush was sowing the seeds of economic disaster, spending the surplus, growing the largest government in history, spending billions we don't have on war, bypassing the Constitution at every turn, and taking more vacations than any other President in history?

David England, Santa Fe NM

Anyone have a better idea?

TheInterest, US

What is the source of this quote? I've been looking and looking for the source.

John, Madison, MS

the United States today. Bush was not even an average president. BHO is worse. In the last 50 years, Reagan was the only president that was a leader. Why do we elect these people? Ignorance of the basic history of our country.. Look at our educational system. I will bet that 4 out of 10 graduating kids cannot tell you the major countries that fought on either side in WWII. Another 10 years and our school history books will omit George Washington and insert Madonna, leave out George Patton and add Michael Jackson. With the help of liberal teachers, I bet that graduating kids will be able then to tell you about queers and whores.

francis, Pinetop, Az

wow he came up with so many wise quotes...its a wonder how many people dont think more of them.

Scott, Houston

Umm... you konw Franklin didn't say this, right? It's taken from the Alexander Tytler quote. Now figure out who's feeding you this nonsense and get angry with them. Please.

Chris, Denton, TX

With the exception of retirees, no one receiving any type of government assistance should be allowed to vote.

Mike, Norwalk

ahhh yes, the dumbed down patrons of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land have found that they can vote themselves money as evidenced by the last fraudulent selection of Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench the assassin (proving the quotes accuracy).

jim k, Austin, Tx

When you rob Peter to pay Paul you will always have the support of Paul. This works pretty well until Peter runs out of money. Reminds me of the old joke about a cop asking two vagrants how they make a living. The first one says that he borrows money from the second one. The cop then asks number two how he makes a living and he says to the cop, he pays me back. Sounds a lot like our government.

Diana, Decatur

Waffler says; 'There is only about 500 billion of currency in existence. If the people or the government could just print money then the government nor the people would be in debt.' This reminds me of my daughter when she was a child, asking me "If you don't have the money why can't you just write a check?". Or the famous "I can't be out of money, I have checks left!". Plain math to me: $16 Trillion our country owes and ONLY $500 billion DOLLARS? Somehow this does make any sense at all. (Oh yeah, TAX THE RICH!)

E Archer, NYC

Each president doubles the debt of the previous president. I am afraid that there is a point at which we can no longer handle it, then, BOOM, we are beholden to our creditors -- China mostly. The debt can only be cleared by war or servitude. Looks like Obama and the gang of Wall Streeters he actually represents will bring us more crushing debt and executive orders from the Oval Office laying claim to all our property and labors -- actually that has already been done -- we are slaves on the plantation but don't know it yet.

Bob, Eugene OR

We've crossed that bridge decades ago. That condo in China is looking better and better.

Danny, El Paso, TX

To think that we are at this point in history where this quote has become reality!

Phillip, Denver, PA

I don't think, I know that Ben Franklin never uttered these words. Liberty Quotes should know that these words were never uttered by Franklin, if Liberty Quotes was not so biased in favor of reporting error. I love the source: "ATTRIBUTED."

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Phillip, there are a great many famous quotations 'attributed' to speakers -- they are 'attributed' because no source has been found. This is a famous quotation attributed to Franklin, and thus has a place in our quotations database.

Phillip, Denver, PA

No such thing Editor. By claiming such drivel, you debase Franklin's memory. If you didn't hear Franklin speak it, or it was not recorded for future generations, don't print it! You do not have the right to mislead.

Mike, Norwalk

Editor, well said. Phillip, debase ? Maybe it enhances memory of the individual? The truth (which would debase or enhance) is unknown here thus, the 'attributed to'. By someone, such as you, emphasizing that the quote is only attributed to, and not proven to have come from, emphasizes to the reader not to debase or enhance the author's stature because, it is an unknown - simply 'attributed to'.

Phillip, Denver, PA

Mike, I don't subscribe to the liberal/conservative debate. I am a historical researcher who does not accept misattributions. If you know Franklin's body of work, as I do, you know that these words were not his thinking on the subject matter. I also read your above comment about Democrats. Sounds to me as if you have strained your brain with bias. By the way, debase is a verb. It means the Editor has no respect for Franklin, and I have no respect for the Editor. Good day.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

The quote is marked as 'attributed', and that is the way it will remain.

Phillip, Denver, PA

"Mankind naturally and generally love to be flatter’d: Whatever sooths our Pride, and tends to exalt our Species above the rest of the Creation, we are pleas’d with and easily believe, when ungrateful Truths shall be with the utmost Indignation rejected. “What! bring ourselves down to an Equality with the Beasts of the Field! with the meanest part of the Creation! ’Tis insufferable!” But, (to use a Piece of common Sense) our Geese are but Geese tho’ we may think ’em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho’ it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful." Benjamin Franklin

Mike, Norwalk

Phillip, you somewhat contradict yourself when you say you don't subscribe to the liberal/conservative debate then, you reference my comment on another quote's comments about the GOP and Dems being basically the same despots. You cherry pick Dems to say: "Sounds to me as if you have strained your brain with bias". My temperament inclination, discernment and judgment of Party Platform following Democrats is not based on an unsubstantiated bias but rather, reason, analytical critique and comprehensive comparisons of such individuals, as are averse to liberty, natural law, inalienable rights and prosperity. Reading my comments, with given examples, explains clearly with facts and events, not bias. Your Benjamin Franklin quote: (thank you by the way, very appropriate) fits both the GOP and Democrats, both Parties are ungrateful and indignant of truth, as both Parties regularly reject truth, along with rejecting natural law, the originating principles of the Constitution and liberty.

Liberty is: “The power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) “Liberty: exemption from extraneous control. The power of the will, in its moral freedom, to follow the dictates of its unrestricted choice, and to direct the external acts of the individual without restraint, coercion, or control from other persons. Liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men.” (Blacks Law Dictionary 1st ed.) Liberty: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." (Thomas Jefferson)

cal, Lewisville, TX

Once you are on the Roman road there is no getting off of it until you hit that dead end. It would take a sharp U-turn and that is not going to happen.

Ronw13, Oregon

The Statement is True to Point, Regardless of the author. Very Applicable, regardless, of any controversy brought forth, from the peanut gallery.

bruski, naples FL

Right on Ben!

"...a republic madam; if you can keep it!"

To paraphrase and emphasize a classic quote of Ben's.

Jack, Phoenix

Benjamin Franklin never said that or anything like it.

This is a meme generated (or at least circulated) by Americans for Prosperity. Given that this organization likes to pass itself off as a responsible participant in the nation’s political life, you’d think they’d take 10 seconds to check the veracity of the quotes they attribute to founders like Franklin. But Franklin never said this, even though you wouldn’t know it from the hundreds of times it’s been attributed to him on the web (without citation), almost always by folks with Conservative/Libertarian politics.

Bryan, Bismarck, Ar

Doesn't matter who said it, the words are true.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

When the people find they can speak the truth with no retribution, a nation will form, and we can call it the United States of America.


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