Benjamin Franklin was without a doubt one of the smartest and most influential citizen-statesman our great country has ever produced. He had an understanding of history and the rise and fall of empires and governments. He realized that the republic he helped form was something unique and special. He also realized that it had it’s weaknesses.
During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, after four months of deliberating and crafting, our constitution and current form of government were designed. The American population was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the convention. Were they forming a democracy, a constitutional monarchy, a republic? When the delegates work was done, Ben Franklin exited the hall. A woman approached him and asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got- a republic or a monarchy?” Doctor Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” He realized that keeping our form of government would not be an easy task.
A republican form of government was the best way to secure and protect our liberty, but would also be difficult to keep it. There would always be those whose hunger for power, ignorance of the law and Constitution, or ideology would be harmful to liberty and freedom. There would always be those who would chip away at our liberties and rights, piece by piece, causing them to all but disappear before we even knew anything was happening. Franklin knew what the best protection was for our liberty: knowledge. Franklin said, “This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
Franklin warned us that ignorance leads to tyranny but we haven’t listened. Ignorance of our rights and the Constitutional limitations of government allows tyranny to take hold and once tyranny has taken root it is difficult to dislodge. Thomas Paine said, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” We must arm ourselves with knowledge; knowledge of what is right and wrong, knowledge of what has made this country great, knowledge of our individual liberties and of our Constitution. Tyranny has already taken a secure hold on our great republic, and it must be fought with knowledge. Over half of our income is confiscated from us in taxes. Rights are being taken away from us almost daily. Knowledge of our liberty has dramatically decreased over the last few generations and, as a result, we are rapidly heading towards complete tyranny at a greater pace than ever before in our history. Make no mistake, the goal of tyranny is to enslave us and it must be fought at every turn with knowledge.
Do not be taken in by the false promises of those whose real goal is tyranny. They will promise money, safety, security and freedom from want, but in the end, all they really have are empty promises, dependence on government and the chains of slavery. Arm yourself with knowledge and fight tyranny at every turn. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to keep our republic and our liberty. We should honor their sacrifice by regaining and securing what they fought for. The first step in this battle is to arm ourselves with knowledge and truth.
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