Of all of the patriots worth remembering on The Fourth, Benjamin Franklin holds a special place. Not only was he quick, clever, wise and hard working, but he was also one of history’s great visionaries. Well before Philadelphia’s summer of 1776, he clearly saw the potential for a new, democratic nation and its people.
Franklin also saw the wisdom and fairness of planning and providing for the future.
As he put in his last will and testament:
“It has been an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his ancestors is under some kind of obligation to transmit the same to their posterity.”
While he came from humble origins, Franklin felt he owed a lot to the places, people and institutions that contributed to his upbringing and well-being. In addition to providing generously for his heirs, Franklin singled out Boston and Philadelphia in a codicil to his will.
According to Franklin’s plans, about $4000 apiece would be invested and held in trust for these cities for 200 years. As you might imagine, this modest amount has grown since Franklin’s death in January 1790 to be worth many millions.
So, even if you don’t have a lot today, it can grow to be significant in the future. True for our nation…and true for Benjamin Franklin.