“If You Can Keep It”

As Benjamin Franklin left the deliberations at the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia stopped and asked the old man: “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”  To which Franklin replied, “A republic, madam–if you can keep it.”


This republic that Franklin and the other founders gave us isn’t inevitable: it is a precious gift that must be tended and cultivated, like a garden.  On this Fourth of July, I’m thinking about the gift I’ve received to be a citizen of this republic and the stewardship of the people who passed that gift on to me, and I’m thinking about my responsibility in turn to pass it on to the children who will come after me.

A sacred responsibility.



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2 thoughts on ““If You Can Keep It”

  1. Andrew, I have been wanting to tell you how much I enjoy your posts. They really make me think and stick with me long after I’ve read them. I regularly find myself discussing the topics you raise with friends and family. Your posts are deep and thought-provoking but also refreshing… and I’m sure you know that is a rare and also powerful combination. Thank you for continuing to write and for sharing your thoughts with us!

    • Sarah,

      I really appreciate your saying that. I’ve enjoyed learning the discipline of writing 3 times a week, whether I’m ready or not, and I have no idea if what I’m saying is helpful or interesting, but I’m going to do it anyway!