Many of the founders of the United States were motivated first and foremost by the ideals of the enlightenment. And among them, Benjamin Franklin most closely resembled the modern scientist, in his temperment, discipline and his lifelong quest for understanding of the natural world.
Among his more compelling aphorisms are:
“In the Affairs of the World Men are saved, not by Faith but by the Want of it.”
“To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.”
and (my favorite):
“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
The National Science Foundation has co-sponsored a site celebrating Franklin’s life and writings. Check it out.