Quote: We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 6 01:29:55 UTC 2012

I was asked about the quotation in the subject line which is usually
credited to Benjamin Franklin. The statement is discussed in "The
Quote Verifier" of Ralph Keyes and "The Yale Book of Quotations". The
evidence linking Franklin to the saying appeared many decades after he
supposedly said it to John Hancock in 1776.

Barry Popik has examined this quip and provides key information. The
first instance he has listed on his website is in a comic play in
1801. Barry also lists an 1819 cite connecting a version of the
quotation to "Old Mr. Penn". Here is a link to his website which has
more information:


Short link:  http://bit.ly/QIr5W2

Here 1836 citation for a newspaper account of the anecdote featuring
Ben Franklin:

Cite: 1836 November 30, Jamestown Journal, Anecdote, Page 3, Column 1,
Jamestown, New York. (GenealogyBank)

[Begin excerpt]
Anecdote.- "We must be unanimous," observed Hancock on the occasion of
signing the Declaration of Independence, "there must be no pulling
different ways; we must all hang together." "Yes," added Franklin, "we
must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang
separately." – Rochester Dai. Adv.
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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