"A life as full as Franklin's could not be captured in a phrase - or a volume. Yet if a few words had to suffice, a few words that summarized his legacy to the America he played such a central role in creating - and that, not incidentally, illustrated his wry, aphoristic style - they were those he uttered upon leaving the final session of the Constitutional Convention. A matron of Philadelphia demanded to know, after four months' secrecy, what he and the other delegates had produced.
'A republic,' he answered, 'if you can keep it.'"
- H. W. Brands, The First American, pg 716