CAMPAIGN 2016: Looking for a little wisdom from past leaders

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Your net worth to the world
is determined by what remains
after your bad habits are subtracted
from your good ones.

Benjamin Franklin
Entrepreneur, Diplomat and Founding Father of the United States


He saw good habits and bad habits — and knew that every leader is a mix of both.

This year, more than in any year I can remember, we must carefully evaluate the persons who want to lead us. And we must decide whose good habits outweigh their bad habits.

No matter who we choose, or how we choose — we will all have to overlook a great deal.


Carl Francis


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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1705-1790) WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE UNITED STATES. He was a leading author, printer, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As an inventor, he is best known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. He initiated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and The University of Pennsylvania.

Franklin worked tirelessly for colonial unity, serving as the first U.S. Ambassador to France. He defined the American spirit as a marriage of practical values such as thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, and self-governing institutions — along with opposition to authoritarianism, both political and religious — and joined with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment.

Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia (then the leading city in the colonies), publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of British policies.

Ben Franklin pioneered and was first president of the Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive French-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.

After the Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as Governor of Pennsylvania.

Franklin initially owned and dealt in slaves but by the 1750s he argued against slavery and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on coinage and the $100 bill, warships and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions and corporations, as well as countless cultural tributes.