Benjamin Franklin on “The Morals of Chess”

By |2017-06-14T22:28:36-05:00June 14th, 2017|

“The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions”… I have a bit of a confession to make. I have never played [...]

Three Mistakes the Founders Made

By |2016-06-11T09:34:04-05:00June 1st, 2016|

By any objective standard, it would be difficult to claim that the Constitution really matters at any practical level in the United States. At a symbolic level, it still means a great deal. But, what a disconnect: that it matters so much in our minds and language but that it means nothing in our [...]

The Project of Moral Perfection

By |2019-01-10T13:57:54-05:00January 17th, 2016|

Editor’s Note: In honor of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, we remember that the American Founders considered the cultivation of virtue essential to the survival of the republic. The following is excerpted from Franklin’s Autobiography, which he worked on between 1771 and 1790, but which was not published in English in its complete form until 1868. [...]

A Better Constitution

By |2019-04-11T11:27:55-05:00September 17th, 2015|

Mr. President I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, [...]

Blind Benjamin Franklin

By |2015-05-03T22:05:35-05:00May 2nd, 2015|

Apart from his rejection of wigs and the incident with the kite, the key and the lightning bolt, I’m afraid I have never been impressed or attracted to Benjamin Franklin. There was too much of the old-world rationalist and deist in the new-world inventor and sage. Despite his accomplishments, there was something as dull [...]

George Washington & Benjamin Franklin in the Constitutional Convention

By |2019-01-10T13:57:45-05:00August 25th, 2012|

George Washington The title of this essay gives away its complete content, without suggesting its conclusion-namely, that at least one of the two greatest Americans of the eighteenth century was indeed a lawmaker and not merely a symbol in the Constitutional Convention. Washington and Franklin, uniquely, have been lionized as “lending their names” to [...]