The last few days’ reading Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography have reaped insights into the time of the nation’s early days when colonists and then citizens were laying the foundation of what we would become.
Here is what Franklin observed from reading history in 1731; these are on page 76 in The Touchstone Edition of Simon and Schuster published in 2004.
“That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, etc., are carried on and affected by parties;
That the view of these parties is their present general interest, or what they take to be such.
That the different views of these difference parties occasion all confusion.
That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his particular private interest in view.
That as soon as a party had gain’d its general point, each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions more confusion.
That few in public affairs act from a mere view of the good of their country, whatever they may pretend; and, tho’ their actings bring real good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and their country’s interest was united, and did not act from a principle of benevolence.
That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind.”