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Benjamin Franklin Series: Pt. 1 The Statesman Continued

by Faith Eischen, published

The Statesman

Benjamin Franklin's 'The Effects of War':

"I lament with you the prospect of a horrid war, which is likely to engage so great a part of mankind. There is little good gained, and so much mischief done generally, by wars, that I wish the imprudence of undertaking them was more evident to princes; in which case I think they would be less frequent. If I were counselor of the Empress of Russia, and found that she desired to possess some part of the dominions of the Grand Seignior, I should advise her to compute the annual taxes raised from that territory, and make him an offer of buying it, at the rate of paying for it at twenty years' purchase. And if I were his counselor, I should advise him to take the money and cede the dominion of that territory. For I am of opinion that a war to obtain it would cost her more than that sum, and the event uncertain, and that the defense of it will cost him as much, and not having embraced the offer, his loss is double. But to make and accept such an offer, these potentates should be both of them reasonable creatures, and free from the ambition of glory, which perhaps is too much to be supposed."

Benjamin Franklin emphasized the impracticality of war. He explained how monetary exchanges are much more logical and inexpensive than war.

War is inevitably expensive.

What would Benjamin Franklin think of the United States' defense expenditures amounting to $711 billion in 2011?

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