Franklin & Marshall


Poor Richard and Marbury

Diplomacy, Discipline

The power of restraint, and the restraint of power;

The necessity of virtue, and the virtue of necessity;

The passions of experiment, observation, logic, 

reason, reflection, and decision.


The light and the law:

Our founding dialectic, defining

The tensions of a great republic,

Key to finding equilibrium 

on the vast canvas of democracy.


About this:

Written for a friend at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Josiah Quincy, a Massachusetts patriot in 1775, [Quoted in Gordon Wood, Creation of the American Republic, at 23] said:

"It is much easier to restrain liberty from running into licentiousness than power from swelling into tyranny and oppression.”

The point of a liberal arts education is to equip each student to find their balance on both of the competing axis of liberty and power.

We could not endure life in a world of unrestrained power; We cannot cohabit in a society of unlimited liberty. Governed only by passion, we become unruly—a mob; ruled only by power, we become judgmental and oppressive.

Franklin represents the world of passion, inquiry, restraint of liberty by the rule of personal virtue. Marshall, the world of reason, logic, restraint of power by the rule of law.

Together, they form the essential synthesis, the dialectic that allows each of us to find equilibrium. 

 © Philip Knight 2018