“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A republic, replied the Doctor, if you can keep it.”

— Benjamin Franklin (1706–90)

His words to a woman at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberations. From the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.

Source: The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934)