This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for November 13, 2017: Opposing Forces

November 13, 2017: on this day: Ben Franklin writes “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”

It was on this day in 1789 that Ben Franklin wrote this famous phrase: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The words were the second half of a sentence he’d written in a letter his friend Jean-Baptiste Leroy. It was shortly after the United States Constitution had been ratified, and his entire sentence was this: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency, but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”