Benjamin Franklin and Beer


 “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy”

Alexander Marcus and Kaitie Flores

Widely known and attributed to Benjamin Franklin, few know the truth behind this simple quote. Although it is known Franklin enjoyed beer, he was known foremost as a lover of wine. Initially paraphrased and intended to regard wine instead of beer, this quote does not originate with Franklin. According to a scholarly blog hosted by economist Fred Shapiro, the quote actually originates from a 1779 undated letter to the theologian, economist, philosopher, and writer Abbe Morellet in which Franklin while in France writes:

“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana,     as of a miracle.  But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes.  Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”

There is limited information as to how this letter originally written in French evolves into the beer quote that is widely known today. Although Shapirio is able to trace the “beer version” as far back as 1996 to Beverage World, there is no evidence of Franklin using the quote. On the other hand, Franklin does express his love for beer in 1768 during a visit to a London printshop he had operated in forty years before. Upon rediscovering his old printing press, Franklin celebrated by ordering a gallon of porter to share with his fellow printers. 


1. Franklin’s letter and translation from Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, by his grandson, William Temple Franklin, 1819.

2. “Say What? Says Who? Benjamin Franklin on Beer – or Not.” Anchor               Brewing. N.p., 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

3. Shapiro, Fred. “Quotes Uncovered: Beer or Wine as Proof? – Freakonomics.”Freakonomics. N.p., 24 Mar. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

Silence Dogood Essay #13

Between September 17th and September 24th of 1722, Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym of “Silence Dogood” writes and submits his thirteenth essay addressed to the author of the New England Courant. In this brief essay, Franklin writes in the character of a woman who describes her encounters with the people she observes as she travels around town on a “pleasant moonlight evening”. As the story progresses, Franklin smoothly shifts from exploring the imagination associated with adventure to questioning women and their natural craving for pleasure.
Throughout the essay, Franklin repeatedly references women that Dogood observes the night of her walk. Franklin first illuminates women when Dogood encounters a crowd of about twenty people and describes it as one that consists of “both genders”. Soon after first spotting the crowd, Dogood would once again draw attention to women when she engages in conversation with “one of the females” that pretends to know her. By continuously citing women enjoying themselves, Franklin promotes the escapism of late night adventure while enticing his female readers to seek pleasure outside of the home.
As Franklin describes the enjoyment of various groups Dogood encounters, he also revives the spirit of his readers who might otherwise hesitate seeking excitement outside of the home. An instance of this occurring is when Dogood recalls a memory in which a woman asks a shoe maker how long he expects her shoes to last. Replying to the woman’s question, the shoe maker tells her “that he knew how many days she might wear them, but not how many nights because they were then put to a more violent and irregular service than when she employed herself in the common affairs of the house”. By referring to the woman’s role in the home, Franklin intends to question the gender roles of his time. This particular passage serves as another example of how Franklin explores gender roles in addition to the livelihood of all middle class people. Although much of the essay seemed to be a “night’s ramble”, Franklin reminds his readers that his imagination gives him too much to write stating that anything more “would take up too much room in your paper”. Statements such as this one where Franklin communicates directly with the reader demonstrates how his writing style elicits interest. In doing so, Franklin succeeds in stressing the power of imagination and how it can be used to understand people around you. To conclude, Benjamin Franklin tells the story of his encounters on a walk after dark to prove the existence of imagination and adventure.

Old South Meeting House


Beginning in 1729, the Old South Meeting House served as a Puritan house of worship where American leaders such as Benjamin Franklin regularly attended meetings. Being the largest building in Boston at the time, the house would become a forum for dissent and free speech. In regards to the building’s significance, it served as a meeting place for the debate that ignited the Boston Tea Party.