Benjamin Franklin (1706—1790)

by Benjamin Franklin (1706—1790)

This proposal by Benjamin Franklin was accepted, with minor corrections, by the provincial d

by Benjamin Franklin (1706—1790)

Franklin Court, Underground Musuem, Philadelphia, PA.

by Benjamin Franklin (1706—1790)

The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

Top portion of a lightning rod, designed by Benjamin Franklin.

I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. This, with its echo of the Declaration (self-evident) was Jefferson at his most terse. Except for the phrase in usufruct — a legalism meaning the right to use property for a certain time — Jefferson’s words could be chiseled in stone, or shouted on the hustings.

Richard Brookhiser
James Madison (2011)