Goodness Party Franklin quote 24 Franklin disliked debasing the spirit of the common people

Never debase the spirit of the common people of our nation

Franklin’s wisdom for US: Do not favor the rich over the common person.

James Madison captured this statement in his notes on the debates during the Constitutional Convention. Oliver Ellsworth delivered this message in his comments.

The context regarded how much property a person should own in order to qualify to hold an elected office, as if owning property made them “independent and respectable.” After debate, property ownership qualifications were stricken from consideration.

Franklin knew that being wealthy or owning property did not mean you were a good person. He also believed that this country should show no favoritism to the rich, and Ellsworth concurred. Here is a fuller rendition of Ellworth’s comments as noted by Madison.

Doctr. FRANKLIN expressed his dislike of every thing that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. If honesty was often the companion of wealth, and if poverty was exposed to peculiar temptation, it was not less true that the possession of property increased the desire of more property. Some of the greatest rogues he was ever acquainted with, were the richest rogues. We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in Rulers, that they should be men hating covetousness. This Constitution will be much read and attended to in Europe, and if it should betray a great partiality to the rich, will not only hurt us in the esteem of the most liberal and enlightened men there, but discourage the common people from removing into this Country.

Franklin’s call to action for US: Ensure laws do not favor the wealthy in any form or fashion, whether citizens or migrants.

Quote on image:

“Doctr. FRANKLIN expressed his dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people.”