Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Benjamin Franklin (170690)
Well, Doctor, what have we gota Republic or a Monarchy?
A Republic, if you can keep it.
The response is attributed to BENJAMIN FRANKLINat the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberationin the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Marylands delegates to the Convention.
McHenrys notes were first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, and the anecdote on p. 618 reads: A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it. When McHenrys notes were included in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934), a footnote stated that the date this anecdote was written is uncertain.