Benjamin Franklin’s letter addressed to the Constitutional Convention, held in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, deserves to be dusted off – and perhaps read into the Congressional Record.

At 81, Franklin was too fragile to travel, and thus wrote a letter, which was read aloud to the Convention by a friend and transcribed by James Madison.

It stated, in part: “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

The text can be found in Gore Vidal’s “Inventing a Nation,” published in 2003, and online.

Jon Swan


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