"We had prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and
they were graciously answered....And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?
Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?"
The Constitutional Convention was in a deadlock over how large and small states
could be represented equally.
Some delegates left.
Then, on JUNE 28, 1787, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin spoke and shortly after, the U.S. Constitution became a reality.
"Groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us,
how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights...
In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.
Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.
All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending Providence in our favor...
And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?"
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it'...
I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed...no better than the Builders of Babel."
Ben Franklin had given another address at the Constitutional Convention on June 2, 1787, titled Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy:
"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men...ambition and avarice - the love of power and the love of money...
When united...they have...the most violent effects.
Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall, at the same time, be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it...
What kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters?
It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust.
It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.
These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers..."
Franklin explained further:
"There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able, in return, to give more to them.
All history informs us, there has been...a kind of warfare between the governing and the governed;
the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less...
Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries...and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more.
The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure."
"There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh - get first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever.
It will be said that we do not propose to establish kings...but there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government...
They would rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like.
I am apprehensive, therefore - perhaps too apprehensive - that the government of the States may, in future times, end in a monarchy... and a king will the sooner be set over us."
Plato wrote of this in The Republic, 380 BC, that government would transition from being ruled by lovers of virtue, to lovers of honor, to lovers of money:
"Now what man answers to this form of government... He is a...lover of honor; claiming to be a ruler... Busy-bodies are honored and applauded..."
"Is not the passionate element wholly set on ruling...and getting fame?"
"Not originally of a bad nature, but having kept bad company...becomes arrogant and ambitious..."
"Such an one will despise riches only when he is young;
but as he gets older he will be more and more attracted to them, because he has a piece of the avaricious nature in him, and is not single-minded towards virtue..."
"The love of honor turns to love of money; the conversion is instantaneous."
"Because they have no means of openly acquiring the money which they prize; they will spend that which is another man's."
"They invent illegal modes of expenditure; for what do they or their wives care about the law?"
"And so they grow richer and richer...the less they think of virtue...and the virtuous are dishonored..."
"Insatiable avarice is the ruling passion of an oligarchy..."
Plato added of this politician:
"He has...allowed the blind god of riches to lead the dance within him..."
"He will have many slavish desires, some beggarly, some knavish, breeding in his soul..."
"If he...has the power to defraud, he will soon prove that he is not without the will, and that his passions are only restrained by fear and not by reason."
Frederic Bastiat explained in The Law, 1850, how politicians are tempted toward 'legal plunder':
"Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources.
This process is the origin of property.
But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others.
This process is the origin of plunder.
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain - and since labor is pain in itself - it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work..."
Frederic Bastiat continued:
"It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work...
But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men...
This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law.
Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice.
It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder.
This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds."
In The Spirit of the Laws, 1748, Montesquieu wrote:
"In a popular state, one spring more is necessary, namely, virtue...
The politic Greeks, who lived under a popular government, knew no other support than virtue...
When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community...
When, in a popular government, there is a suspension of the laws, as this can proceed only from the corruption of the republic, the state is certainly undone."
The Law of Moses admonished in Exodus 18:21 on how to choose leaders:
"Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness."
Harvard President Samuel Langdon stated in his address "Government Corrupted by Vice," May 31, 1775:
"They were a sinful nation...who had forsaken the Lord; and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger...
Everyone loved gifts, and followed after rewards...more than the duties of their office; the general aim was at profitable places and pensions; they were influenced in everything by bribery;
and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hurried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, so that they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power, and increase their wealth."
Noah Webster wrote in his History of the United States, 1832:
"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers 'just men who will rule in the fear of God'...
If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted;
laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes;
corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws;
the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men;
and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.
If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."
President Jackson warned December 5, 1836:
"There is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people...
The practical effect of such an attempt must ever be to burden the people with taxes, not for the purposes beneficial to them, but to...support a band of useless public officers...
All would be merged in a practical consolidation, cemented by widespread corruption, which could only be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally overthrow the despotic systems of the Old World."
On JULY 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General of the
United States, a position he held under the British Crown before the Revolution.
Franklin's public career began when he organized Pennsylvania's first volunteer militia during threaten attacks from Spanish and French ships.
He then proposed a General Fast, which was approved by the Colony's Council and printed in his Pennsylvania Gazette, December 12, 1747:
"As the calamities of a bloody War...seem every year more nearly to approach us...there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord & amend our Ways, we may be chastized with yet heavier Judgments,
We have, therefore, thought fit...to appoint...a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People, to observe the same with becoming seriousness & attention, & to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent Supplications;
That Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the Rage of War among the Nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian Blood."
Franklin published evangelist George Whitefield's sermons, thereby spreading The Great Awakening Revival.
He established a volunteer fire department, a circulating public library, an insurance company, a city police force, a night watch and a hospital.
He set up the lighting of city streets and was the first to suggest Daylight Savings Time.
He invented bifocal glasses, the Franklin Stove, swim fins, the lightning rod, and coined the electrical terms "positive" and "negative."
In 1754, Franklin wrote a pamphlet, "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," for Europeans interested in sending their youth to this land:
"Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised.
Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.
And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects treat each other; by the remarkable prosperity with which he has been pleased to favor the whole country."
On September 28, 1776, as President of Pennsylvania's Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin signed the State's first Constitution, "the most radically democratic Frame of Government the world had ever seen. It stated:
"Government ought to be instituted...to enable the individuals...to enjoy their natural rights...which the Author of Existence has bestowed upon man; and whenever these great ends...are not obtained, the people have a right...to change it, and take such measures as to them may appear necessary to promote their safety and happiness..."
Pennsylvania's Constitution continued:
"All men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences...
Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right...
No authority...shall in any case interfere with...the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship."
Pennsylvania's Constitution added:
"And each member...shall make...the following declaration, viz: I 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 Divine Inspiration. And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required."
Pennsylvania's Constitution had in Section 45:
"Laws for the encouragement of virtue, and prevention of vice and immorality, shall be...constantly kept in force... Religious societies...incorporated for the advancement of religion...shall be encouraged."
At the end of the Revolutionary War, Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783, which began: "In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity..."
As Pennsylvania's President (Governor), Ben Franklin hosted the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where on June 28, 1787, he moved:
"That henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning." When Congress began debating slavery, Franklin became President of Pennsylvania's Society for the Abolition of Slavery.
In his last published letter (Federal Gazette, March 23, 1790), Franklin satirically indicted the Southern States for defending slavery just as the Muslim pirates did:
"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 dogs.
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 of cultivation."
Franklin composed his epitaph:
"THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer.
Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents torn out,
And stripped of its lettering and gilding,
Lies here, food for worms;
Yet the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more,
In a new, and more beautiful edition,
Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."
Franklin wrote April 17, 1787:
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."