Famous Fasts in History Benjamin Franklin

About the famous faster Benjamin Franklin who promoted fasting in his Poor Richard Almanack.



In advocating fasting, Mark Twain and later American fasters were literally taking a page from one of the most famous early Americans--Benjamin Franklin, author of Poor Richard's Almanack. Throughout this book of common sense proverbs and memorable aphorisms, Franklin cautioned that overeating was far worse for the body than undereating, advice derived from Franklin's own experience with occasional fasting. In the words of Poor Richard: "Eat few suppers and you'll need few medicines"; "Dine with little, sup with less; do better still, sleep supperless"; "To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." Franklin also proposed the institution of Pennsylvania's first public fast day, to be observed by all citizens on Thursday, Jan. 7, 1748. Though prompted more by political, philosophical, and religious motives than by concern over public health, such public fast days were common in the American colonies at the time.

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