[H]e offered up what may be the best one-line definition of this country. The New World, he asserted, judged a man not by who he was, but by what he could do. And what Franklin could do was staggering. His legacy is not a political philosophy but a protean existence, act after act of bold curiosity, brash risk-taking, raw ingenuity. Once those constituted a definition of the American character. Today they would more likely be termed "hypomania," a fair diagnosis for any individual who manages single-handedly to found a library, fire company, police force, hospital, university, insurance company, sanitation department and militia.How to celebrate his birthday? Go accomplish something.
January 17, 2006
Stacy Schiff pays tribute to Benjamin Franklin, born 300 years ago today:
Posted by Ann Althouse at 7:49 AM