Every January between 1943 and 1961, the Saturday Evening Post featured an image of Benjamin Franklin on its cover, along with a quote from the famed inventor, printer, and statesman. Below is a selection of those covers along with his wise words, which still resonate hundreds of years later.
“God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man may pervade all the Nations of the Earth so that a Philosopher may set his foot anywhere and say This is my Country.”
“The Eyes of Christendom are upon us, and our honor as a People has become a matter of Utmost Consequence to be taken care of. If we give up our Rights in this Contest, a Century to come will not Restore us to the Opinion of the World; we shall be stamped with the character of Poltroons & Fools — Present Inconveniences are, therefore, to be Borne with Fortitude, and Better Times expected.”
“The Rapid Progress True Science now makes, occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is Impossible to imagine the Height to which may be carried, in a Thousand Years, the Power of Man over Matter…O that Moral Science were in a fair way of improvement, that Men would cease to be Wolves to one another, and that Human Beings would at length learn what they now improperly call Humanity!”
“Friends and Neighbors, the Taxes are indeed very heavy, if those laid on by Government were the only Ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride, and four times as much by our Folly; and from these Taxes the Commissioners cannot ease or deliver us.
“I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the strength of a state for more so than riches or arms.”
“Do not believe the reports you hear of our internal Divisions. We are, I believe, as much united as any People ever were, and as firmly.”
“If all Printers were determin’d not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed.”
“Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.”