‘A republic, if you can keep it’: Did Ben Franklin really say Impeachment Day’s favorite quote?Breaking News
tags: impeachment, Benjamin Franklin, Trump
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.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the first to drop this anecdote as she opened the debate in the morning. But there were many more, from both sides of the aisle, including Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.), prompting inevitable tweets.
So, did Franklin actually say that?
With some changes.
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