American Myths: Benjamin Franklin’s Turkey and the Presidential Seal

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H/T The Smithsonian.

How the New Yorker and the West Wing botched the history of the icon.



Great American Thinkers on Free Speech

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Some amazing quotes.


“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved,” wrote Founding Father Benjamin Franklin in The Pennsylvania Gazette.

You’ll find more notable quotes on the freedom of expression, a right U.S. citizens have held dear for more than 200 years, below:

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”

— Silence Dogood aka Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father

“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”

— Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father

“But none of the means of information are more sacred, or have been cherished with more tenderness and care by the settlers of America, than the press.”

— John Adams, second U.S. president

“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state.”

— John Adams, second U.S. president

“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”

— George Washington, first U.S. president

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

— Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Founding Father

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

— U.S. Constitution

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

— Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Founding Father

“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”

— Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father

“It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

— Louis D. Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court justice

“We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.”

— William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review magazine

“Of that freedom [of thought and speech] one may say that it is the matrix, the indispensible condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”

— Benjamin N. Cardozo, U.S. Supreme Court justice

“Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment.”

— Henry Steele Commager, U.S. historian

“We cannot have a society half slave and half free; nor can we have thought half slave and half free. If we create an atmosphere in which men fear to think independently, inquire fearlessly, express themselves freely, we will in the end create the kind of society in which men no longer care to think independently or to inquire fearlessly.”

— Henry Steele Commager, U.S. historian

“The freedom of speech and the freedom of the press have not been granted to the people in order that they may say the things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say the things which displease, the right to say the things which may convey the new and yet unexpected thoughts, the right to say things, even though they do a wrong.”

— Samuel Gompers, U.S. labor leader

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

“We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear — unruly men, disturbers of the peace … in a word, free men. … Freedom is always purchased at a great price, and even those who are willing to pay it have to admit that the price is great.”

— Gerald W. Johnson, U.S. journalist

“Freedom of conscience, of education, or speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. president

“You tell me that law is above freedom of utterance. And I reply that you can have no wise laws nor free entertainment of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people — and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive.”

— William Allen White, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor

Terror Watch List – A Good Idea Gone Bad? Or A Bad Idea All Along?

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I am not and I do not know of any sane person willing  to give up their rights.

I say the Terror Watch was a bad idea all along.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.Benjamin Franklin

Are you willing to sacrifice free speech? Are you prepared to surrender your firearms? Are you willing to sacrifice freedom from unreasonable searches?

Source: Terror Watch List – A Good Idea Gone Bad? Or A Bad Idea All Along?

Ben Franklin’s best inventions and innovations

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This is from Mental Floss.

Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin.

In his day, Benjamin Franklin was Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg, and Henry Ford, all rolled into one. Here’s a look at his most enduring innovations and inventions on January 17, Ben’s birthday.









Like the above-mentioned people, Franklin invented his own widely used devices, or found innovative ways to improve on other people’s inventions.

His reputation as a scientist, inventor, author, and statesman extended to Europe, where the French considered Franklin a Renaissance man. The British, after Franklin endorsed revolution against the crown, considered him a dangerous traitor with a price on his head.

Of course, Franklin had his own media empire, and he was a postmaster, politician, firefighter, musician, and expert swimmer, among many things.

Here’s a look at Franklin’s top innovations, most of which are in use today somewhere in the United States.

Invention: The Franklin stove (1742). Previously, fireplaces in Colonial homes were inefficient and smoky. Franklin’s stove gave homeowners a second option. The Franklin Stove, enclosed in iron, provided more heat with much less smoke, using much less wood. Franklin passed on patenting his invention because he thought it was for the greater good.

Invention: The lightning rod (circa 1753). Franklin used his understanding of electricity to develop a cheap solution to keep houses from burning down. The rod diverted electricity from a lightning strike into the ground near a building. They became very popular, and even King George III had one installed at his palace. The lightning rod has since undergone improvements, including a version from Nikola Tesla.

Invention or innovation: Bifocals (date unconfirmed). Historically, Franklin has been credited with inventing bifocals late in his life, as he needed corrective lenses to solve two vision problems. In recent years, there has been a debate about if Franklin was the first to invent bifocals, or if he was an early adopter that made them famous. An analysis from the College of Optometrists details the debate and suggests the technology existed in England in the 1760s, when Franklin was living there. Others believe Franklin invented the devices. Either way, he was the biggest “celebrity” in his day to use them.

Invention or innovation: The flexible catheter (1752). When Franklin’s brother was having problems urinating due to kidney stones, the inventor came up with a practical, less painful solution than the rigid tube that doctors used for patients. The flexible catheter is still used today. There were apparently similar devices in Europe, but Franklin’s was popular in America.

Invention: Key words to describe electricity. Franklin was famous for his experiments with electricity, which also endeared him with the scientific community in France (which helped his later diplomatic career). The late Professor Leo LeMay from the University of Delaware, who was an expert in all things Franklin, credited Franklin with adopting four words we all know today when it comes to electricity: battery, positive, negative, and charge. The words existed before Franklin’s time, but had different usage and meanings.

Bonus factoids: Things Franklin didn’t invent. In 1997, LeMay posted a list of things Franklin didn’t invent on the University of Delaware’s website. These things included the first street light, the odometer, daylight savings time, the first volunteer fire company, and the first fire insurance company.


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This is from Patriot UpDate.

I am in agreement with Benjamin Franklin on security.

During Obama’s speech to ram through his new gun control executive orders, he made a comment that without a doubt indicates how far we’ve fallen from the view our Founders had of liberty and security. Check this out.


For the record, I’m on Mr. Franklin’s side, you know, in case you didn’t already know.

Safety and security, as provided by the government, is an illusion.

How can one be kept safe from the evil and corruption of man by the evil and corruption of men in power?

No, the only true safety is through liberty and personal responsibility.

Putting guns in the hands of good, law-abiding citizens who will look out for each other is how we stay safe, not through suspending our freedom.

No surprise at all. Obama is a Marxist. His opponent is the freedom and liberty of the people of the United States.



Twelve Things EVERYONE Should Know In Order to Preserve Our Republic

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This is from Clash Daily.

I think this quote from Benjamin Franklin is appropriate.

If we do not wake up and act soon we will lose our Republic.

QUOTATION: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

We are a republic, and it’s important that we remain one.  Unfortunately, some of the citizens of this country have fallen for all the lies, distortions, and withholding of information by this Socialist, pro-Muslim, anti-Israel, anti-American administration.   Of course, the mainstream media is complicit in assisting in this fundamental “transformation” of America.   We need to remind Americans and those who are guests in this country of many things.   This is the United States of America and if you are fortunate enough to live here and enjoy all that this land has to offer, then abide by the following:

1. Our law is the Constitution of the United States.   No, there will be no sharia or any other foreign law.

2. This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and we prefer to live that way.   All religions are free to worship as they wish, but do not impose your religion on others.

3. To the atheists…if you choose to not have a religion and not believe in God, that is your prerogative, but stop imposing your ideas on everyone else.   By the way, how come you never target Muslims, only Christians and Jews?

4. I personally do not agree with the liberal, progressive mindset, but they, of course, are free to express themselves.   However, this doesn’t work both ways.   They want everyone to agree with them and think like them.   If you don’t, then you’re immediately bashed and demonized.   There is no civility or freedom of thought with progressives.

5. Political correctness has to go.   The use of certain words are prohibited in some universities, such as “American”, “opposite sex”, “senior citizen”, and “obese”.   Every time you turn around someone is offended by what you say or don’t say.   Enough!   Freedom of speech must be maintained, and if some are offended, so be it.

6. Let’s look at the Muslim situation.   Mr. Obama keeps bringing them here, giving in to their demands and spending millions of taxpayer dollars on them.  Why?   Many  do not assimilate, hate our culture and traditions, demand everything and get offended constantly about anything and everything.   We need to stop importing them and send many back where they came from.   This administration does not import Christians from the Middle East, who are being tortured, raped, sold into slavery and beheaded, daily.   Why doesn’t he bring them here as well?

7. There are over 35 Muslim terrorist training camps here in this country.   Why aren’t they being shut down?   They pose a tremendous security risk for Americans.

8. It seems to be fashionable these days, among the left, to hate America.   Well, that’s easily remedied.   Those who hate this country should leave.   We do not need, or want, them here.

9. Our flag should always be displayed with pride.   If some are offended by this then I suggest that they go somewhere where they will like the flag of that country.

10. Too many schools, universities and organizations are giving in to ridiculous demands from Muslim and atheist groups.   Stop it!

11. Don’t believe everything you read or see on television.   The mainstream media has forgotten what journalism is supposed to be, and objectivity and fairness are no longer found.   Instead, they have become the lackeys for the White House, Democrat party, Academia, and the looney-lefties in Hollywood.

12. Teach our children American history, not the five pillars of Islam.

It’s time to wake up and start using common sense and logic.   It’s time to remember what so many have given so much to preserve our republic.   Do not allow it to disappear.

It was 239 years ago today: The name “United States of America” becomes official

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This is from the National Constitutional Center.

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted a new name for what had been called “the United Colonies.” The moniker United States of America has remained since then as a symbol of freedom and independence.


Benjamin Franklin popularized the concept of a political union in his famous “Join, Or Die” cartoon in 1754. A generation later, the concept of unity became a reality.

Thomas Jefferson is credited as being the first person to come up with the name, as he was drafting the Declaration of Independence. In June 1776, Jefferson’s draft version of the Declaration started with the following sentence:

“A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.”

The final version of the Declaration starts with the date July 4, 1776 and the following statement: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.”

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia had used the name “United Colonies” in a June resolution to Congress: “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved,” Lee wrote.

These thoughts are included in the Declaration’s final paragraph.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States,” it reads.

On Monday, September 9, 1776, the Congress moved to approve some important resolutions, including payments for the army. The fifth resolution read as follows: “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”

John C. Fitzpatrick from the Library of Congress, back in 1920, explained the origin of “United Colonies” and the abbreviation “U.S.A.” in an article for the Daughters of the American Revolution magazine.

Fitzpatrick said the words United Colonies were used by the Congress when it appointed George Washington as commander in chief in June 1775. The abbreviation U.S.A. had its origins as a way that government inspectors approved official gunpowder. Fitzpatrick said the army needed to have inspectors verify that gunpowder met certain standards, and it stamped “U.S.A.” on the casks as a mark, starting in August 1776,

Also, the words “United States of America” appeared in the first draft of the Articles of Confederation on July 8, 1776, as it was submitted to Congress. The Articles weren’t ratified by the states until March 1781.

10 fascinating facts on the Postal Service’s birthday

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This is from the National Constitution Center.

 After being appointed as Postmaster Ben Franklin hired clerks to help at the post office. Thirty seconds after being hired the clerks went on break.   


On July 26, 1775, the Continental Congress created the Post Office, naming Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. Here’s a look at 10 fascinating facts about a unique American institution.

Railway Mailbag640











1. The Founding Fathers were all for a postal system, especially Franklin.  It was Franklin who modified and improved the postal delivery system as Joint Postmaster General for the Crown, greatly expanding its services in the Colonies. He was fired by the British in 1774 for sympathizing with rebellious forces. When the new nation needed a postmaster, it turned to Franklin in 1775 and Congress paid him a salary of $1,000 a year.

2. The post office was in the Articles of Confederation, too. Article IX said that the government “shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of … establishing or regulating post offices from one State to another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage on the papers passing through the same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office.”

3. The Constitution gave the Post Office (and Congress) even more power. The Constitution gives Congress the ability “To establish Post Offices and post Roads” in Article I, Section 8. That means it not only does Congress have the power to create a postal system, it had the ability to acquire and control the land for the “post roads” to carry the mail and the buildings needed to maintain the system. In 1789, that meant 75 Post Offices and about 2,400 miles of post roads!

4. Today, the Postal Service is slightly larger. It has more than 31,000 Postal Service-managed offices and 511,000 employees. Carriers and drivers travel more than 1.3 billion miles (yes, that is billion) a year transporting and delivering the mail.

5. Abraham Lincoln was a local postmaster. As a postmaster in New Salem, Illinois from 1833 until 1836, Lincoln would occasionally deliver the mail by stashing it inside his hat.

6. According to the Postal Service’s web site, here are some other famous people who delivered the mail or worked as clerks, or postmasters: Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, William Faulkner, Charles Lindbergh, Richard Wright and Adlai Stevenson.

7. The Postal Service as high-tech innovators. The quest to deliver the mail faster and more consistently led to the pioneering uses of steamboats, trains, boats, cars, planes and horses.

8. The Pony Express was a financial failure. Like all great technological innovations, the privately operated Pony Express than ran in 1860 and 1861 had a lot of risks. The use of relay horses cut mail-delivery times in half, but another technology, the telegraph, grounded a Pony Express that was deeply in debt.

9. The Post Office had a dog as a mascot, until …. Yes, Owney the dog was befriended by workers in Albany in 1888 and soon became a sensation as he rode on the rail cars along with the mail to New York. For the next decade, he was an international postal ambassador until he committed a cardinal sin: Owney bit a mail worker. Although a postmaster put Owney down, his co-workers paid to have him stuffed and he’s at the National Postal Museum today on display.

10. The price of stamps has gone up slightly in the past few years. Until 1968, it cost 5 cents to mail a one-ounce piece of mail, and it only cost 3 cents in the 1930s. Times have changed as has the cost structure of the mail business. The current cost of a first class stamp is 49 cents for the first ounce.

8 Things to Know About the Founding Fathers

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This is from Warrior Scout.

Some interesting bits of information.

Stories like Benjamin Franklin advocating a method for “improving the odor of human flatulence” have surrounded the Founding Fathers throughout the centuries. Some have proved true, others not so much. Here’s a list of legends and facts surrounding some of America’s finest statesmen.

8. RUMOR: Although they were some of the most prestigious and prudent men in American history, the Founding Fathers are said to have loved their booze. Evidence indicates that during the long, hot Constitutional Convention summer of 1787, delegates drank like Mel Gibson Shia Labeouf at a New Year’s Eve bash. According to a bar tab from one local tavern–racked up days before the document was signed–delegates drank enough to clean out a small liquor store: 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of porter, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 bottles of beer, and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch.

All that debating apparently made them thirsty.

7. RUMOR: At first blush, Benjamin Franklin would seem the most likely man to write the Declaration of Independence. However, legend has it that he wasn’t given the honor because his peers feared he would insert a joke. This rumor might actually have some truth to it, as Franklin was widely known for his rapier wit. Unfortunately, his wittiness quite possibly led to him missing out on a historic opportunity. The honor instead was given to a young Thomas Jefferson.

6. RUMOR: Benjamin Franklin probably would’ve been today’s avid texter, as he was a fan of using short-hand writing. In fact, it was suggested that Franklin loved short-hand so much that he advocated the simplification of all English words! Now, next time you hear someone associate the denigration of the English language with texting or Tweeting, just mention that one of America’s most eloquent and brilliant writers probably would’ve been a huge fan.

5. FACT: Although one of the most influential American patriots, James Madison was the country’s smallest president. He weighed just 100 pounds and measured a meager five foot four. We’re hoping that Madison was not responsible for a large portion of that bar bill (see above).

4. FACT: George Washington reportedly had a fear of being buried alive. This still remains a rumor as there’s no written evidence to support it. However, what is a fact is that in his will he stipulated that he was not to be buried for three days after his death – presumably to make sure he was actually dead.

3. FACT: Samuel Adams beer is one of the most popular beers in America. But the face on the patriotically-themed beer is that of Paul Revere (left in picture below), not Sam Adams (right in picture below). Who knew?

2. RUMOR: Reportedly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were such fans of William Shakespeare that they clipped off a piece of his chair as a souvenir when visiting his house in Europe. The story is feasible since Jefferson and Adams were two of the most eloquent and brilliant English-speaking writers and studied Shakespeare’s style in depth. But there is no direct evidence to support the claim.

1. FACT: The Declaration of Independence was actually approved by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. Most of the Founding Fathers thought that this day would be the day remembered and celebrated throughout American history instead of the day we currently celebrate as Independence Day. Even John Adams believed July 2 was most appropriate as he wrote a letter to his wife saying, “the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable in the history of America.”



Top Ten: Quotes from 1776

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This is from Warrior Scout.



Here are 10 quotes from 1776 every red-blooded American needs to know.

  1. “There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight and that time has now come.” – Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, in a sermon delivered in Woodstock, Va.

  1. “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine, The America Crisis No. 1
  1. “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.” – (attributed) Stephen Hopkins upon signing the Declaration of Independence
  1. “The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this Army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are free men, fighting for the blessings of Liberty – that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men. – Gen. George Washington, General Orders, July 2

  1. “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – The Declaration of Independence

  1. “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” – (attributed) Benjamin Franklin
  1. “The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America.” – John Adams, in a letter to Patrick Henry

  1. “There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!” – (attributed) John Hancock, upon signing the Declaration of Independence

  1. “The cause of America is in a great measure the call of all mankind.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense
  1. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” -Nathan Hale, (his final words before being hanged by the British)


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