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Origins of Sayings - Nothing Is Certain But Death and Taxes

About the history and origins behind the famous saying nothing is certain but death and taxes from Ben Franklin.

Stories behind Famous Sayings

The Saying: NOTHING IS CERTAIN BUT DEATH AND TAXES.

Who Said It: Benjamin Franklin

When: 1789

The Story behind It: American-born Franklin was a statesman, scientist, and writer who frequently corresponded with the prominent international figures of his time. In 1789, at the age of 83, Franklin was still corresponding with Jean Baptiste Leroy, a French physicist and writer. Many of Franklin's personal letters contained simple maxims-the kind found in his Poor Richard's Almanack-and they prove that his wit and wisdom were not impaired by age. One of these comments was: "Our Constitution is in actual operation. Everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."

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