Benjamin Franklin. One of my favorite founding fathers and actual patriot. Incredibly bright, and would not survive in the 21st-century in the age of social media because well he had a lot of human failings, didn’t he?
(But I digress, look at all the politicians running this year, after all.)
The thing I always love is when people misquote and misattribute famous people. This is no different.
You see this quotehas been both misquoted and misattributed since January 6, 2021. And the Republican Party of Chester County‘s champion for governor is Doug Mastriano or as I like to call him, Monsteriano. This man is no patriot. Far from it. He took part in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Yes, he took part in the assault on our Nation’s Capital. Oh and apparently until July 2021, he was registered to vote in New Jersey.
Registered to vote in New Jersey for all those years? While he was a Pennsylvania State Senator? So does that mean Monsteriano has been double dipping and perpetrating election fraud?
Monsteriano is voting in New Jersey, running for Governor in PA, being a State Senator from PA, and all the other stuff and this is the guy that the Chester County Republican Party thinks is the second coming of Christ? I would say that’s crazy and you can’t make that stuff up, except this is definitely a case of the truth is stranger than fiction.
But back to Monsteriano and other Trump babies misquoting and misattributing Benjamin Franklin.
I will start with a great article from the Washington Post: https://wapo.st/3Skb2id
Washington Post RETROPOLIS
By Gillian Brockell December 18, 2019 at 6:36 p.m. EST
These are the times that try historians’ souls.
The Founding Fathers had a big day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, as members of Congress debated articles of impeachment against President Trump.
George Washington was frequently invoked — of course. Thomas Jefferson got the nod from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.). Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) brought up Abigail Adams. And Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) even referenced a deep cut from George Mason.
But none of the founders had the day Benjamin Franklin had. As the story was told and retold on the House floor, Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when someone shouted out, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”
To which Franklin supposedly responded, with a rejoinder at once witty and ominous: “A republic, if you can keep it.”…..So, did Franklin actually say that?
With some changes.
The quote doesn’t appear in any of Franklin’s writings, nor in the transcripts of the convention debate, nor in any contemporaneous newspaper accounts.
According to quote trackers Bartleby and the Yale Book of Quotations, it first appeared in 1906 in the American Historical Review. But that doesn’t mean it comes from the 20th century; the Review was publishing for the first time the notes of James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention. This is what he wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”…
. It was a “lady” who asked him, not just “someone.” But the location of the alleged exchange, outside Independence Hall, does not appear here.
Zara Anishanslin, a history professor at the University of Delaware, recently wrote in The Washington Post that even more details are known than that. In fact, in McHenry’s original notes, he included the footnote, “The lady here alluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philad[elphi]a.”
Mrs. Powel is Elizabeth Willing Powel, a prominent society figure and the wife of Philadelphia Mayor Samuel Powel. Like Franklin, Powel was known for her wit and knowledge. She often hosted convention delegates and their wives in her home….Though the anecdote didn’t become well-known until the 20th century, it must have gotten at least a modicum of attention in the 19th century…..Franklin’s witticisms often carry an ominous tinge — and were often edited. Another of his famous quotes from that era comes just after Washington had been elected the first president.
“The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards,” he said.
But that isn’t the full quote. He continued, “The executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy.”
Oh and one other salient truth about this anecdotal quote is that it probably took place in Mrs. Powell’s home, it definitely didn’t take place on the street outside of Independence Hall during the Constitutional Convention. They make it sound like some wizened crone hobbled up to him and asked him a question.
So we also never, ever want the truth to get in the way of anything with the Republican Committee of Chester County and their social media wonks. I will note however that the post about the drag queen event in West Chester they had up seems to have disappeared? Interesting, yes?
Oh and look what else the Republican Committee of Chester County is posting:
But hey we know that the Chester County Republican Committee isn’t racist, transphobic or homophobic, or everything else phobic right?
What we can say is they post early and often in bad taste and so does the Chester County Coalition of Republican Women. Please see next example:
And I have to share one of their welcome to Stepford comments:
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, we are a country operating without a president according to them. And regardless of their crazed conspiracy theories, to show such blatant disrespect for the newly deceased Queen Elizabeth II is appalling.
And every organization affiliated end/the Republican Committee of Chester County does this crazy stuff. It’s like they have no filter. And that is what’s terrifying about what they have turned the Republican Party into. And they do a disservice for any decent Republican anywhere. They also provide a rare opportunity for Pennsylvania Democrats.
“Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”~benjamin franklin (an actual quote)