Benjamin Franklin's "end of the republic"

Ruth Kimble's picture

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

Originally posted this quote fourteen months ago, but it bears repeating based on the current challenges our nation is facing. If we continue on the spending spree recent administrations have engaged in, it is only a matter of time before the republic our forefathers envisioned is no longer recognizable.

This next quote elaborates on the same theme:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
• From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
• From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
• From Courage to Liberty
• From Liberty to Abundance
• From Abundance to Selfishness
• From Selfishness to Complacency
• From Complacency to Apathy
• From Apathy to Dependency
• From Dependency back into Bondage"
--- most commonly attributed to
"The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic"
by Alexander Fraser Tytler Lord Woodhouselee (1748-1813); Scottish judge and historian at Edinburgh University

However, this has also been attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Alexis de Tocqueville, R. G. LeTourneau and others.

Our great nation will probably not devolve to dictatorship (unless Islamic fundamentalists are successful in eliminating all infidels and re-establishing the Caliphate). However, believe we are square in the middle of the second to last phase, "From Apathy to Dependency".

Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. And it's good to finally see that some Americans are starting to ditch apathy in favor of action.

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Joe Kawfi's picture
Submitted by Joe Kawfi on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 7:58am.

School Kids Sing For Health Care Reform On Set Of CNN

It's things like this that keep CNN far behind Fox News in ratings.
I mean, c'mon - where's the diversity!!

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 8:33am.

. . . looking for diversity!!

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 6:54am.

There does seem to be an awakening from the apathy that we have been in for about 20 years. I mean how else does a Clinton, young Bush and Obama get elected President of the US unless 90% of the country is napping.

Now that Obama is doing a great job of showing his true colors as an agent of change (like the Manchurian Candidate who was also an agent for change) the people are actually starting to pay attention and imagine what it will be like to live in Obama's America.

This is why the 2010 elections are so very important - to get our country out of the hands of these immature, inexperienced, idealistic socialists before they push us into the bondage stage. Bondage does not have to be a dictatorship - at first. It can be huge government that controls every aspect of your life. Are we there yet?

Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 8:10am.

when your words shine the light on your true fears - you and those who think like you are transparent - and no longer scary. Keep writing.

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