“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Benjamin Franklin was asked supposedly, as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation at the Convention of 1787.
And he replied:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, attributed this anecdote to John Adams, when McHenry’s notes were first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, which on pg. 618 reads: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”