10/12/05 - franklin on war

In today's excerpt - Benjamin Franklin, the most renowned and internationally accomplished of the founding fathers, negotiates the Paris pact in 1782 to conclude the Revolutionary War:

"The independence of the United States was now recognized by the world; ... Best of all, the bloodshed and destruction were over. This prospect, more than anything else, was what inclined Franklin not to argue for the last advantage from either Britain or France. He could congratulate himself and his fellow commissioners for what they had accomplished at Paris, and he could applaud his fellow Americans for what they had won on the battlefield. But he remained utterly unconvinced of the efficacy of war as a general endeavor. If anything, the conflict just reinforced his opposite feeling ... [and he coined] a motto that would forever be associated with his name.

" 'After much occasion to consider the folly and mischiefs of a state of warfare', Franklin wrote 'and the little or no advantage obtained even by those nations who have conducted it with most success, I have been apt to think that there has never been, nor will ever be, any such thing as a good war, or a bad peace'."


H.W. Brands


The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin


First Anchor Books Edition


Copyright 2000 by H.W. Brands


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