Benjamin Franklin Historians Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1120 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

Benjamin Franklin

Historians often note that the victors write history. In the case of Benjamin Franklin, his accomplishments start well before the American Revolutionary War, where he influenced the Colonists to seek independence to the treaty that ended the war and participation in the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution. Because of his wide-ranging contributions during the Revolutionary period, Franklin deserves a prominent place in United States history.

When Franklin was a young man, it would have been hard to predict his later achievements. Born the 15th of 17 children in his family (Davis, p, 59), he apprenticed with a printer. He pursued this trade when he moved to Philadelphia, arriving at age 17 as a shabby-looking runaway (Isaacson, PAGE). From these difficult beginnings he made astounding achievements as writer, scientist and philosopher, politician, and eventually, diplomat (Davis, p.58). His inventions included bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove (Isaacson, PAGE), and through his famous kite experiment, he proved that lightning was a form of electricity (Davis, p.59). He was an outspoken critic of the Stamp Acts, helped write the Declaration of Independence, negotiated France's decision to assist the Colonists in their fight against England, and after the war, negotiated the "Peace of Paris" treaty, which formally ended the war (Davis, p.78). Along the way he invented civic services such as lending libraries and volunteer firefighting companies (Isaacson, PAGE).

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He also became a newspaper editor, wrote "Poor Richard's Almanac," and while he tried to live a moral life, sired at least one illegitimate son, who sided with the British during the Revolutionary War, causing a permanent rift between the two men (Davis, p. 59). In a period marked by cultural and religious strife, Franklin promoted tolerance.

Term Paper on Benjamin Franklin Historians Often Note That the Assignment

Franklin belongs in recordings of our nation's history because he touched so many different facets of life. His influence led to the post office in addition to all his other accomplishments. His work affected foreign relations, science and philosophy, writing, especially in the form of witty satires (Isaacson, PAGE), and municipal services. The combined effects of the invention of the lightning rod, which prevented house fires from lightning strikes, and the establishment of volunteer fire fighting teams, must have significantly improved the safety of the residents of Philadelphia. His Franklin stoves burned wood more efficiently (Isaacson, PAGE), thus saving people money as well as preventing some of the air pollution that stemmed from burning fuels for heat.

Politically, Franklin was a practical pragmatist who valued and understood the need for compromise (Isaacson, PAGE). While his inventions, scientific experiments and clever writing are interesting to read about, without his political and diplomatic skills, Franklin would probably only be an interesting footnote, a fascinating example of early Colonial life. However, Franklin viewed civic contributions as vitally important, and worked hard first to help lead the country to independence and then to help form its government. In 1764 he traveled to England to try to negotiate an end to the Stamp Acts (Davis, p. 59). This attempt failed, but other diplomatic efforts were tremendously successful. He saw what the most persuasive argument would be to get France to help the Colonists: that if England, enemy of France, lost the Colonies, England's power and influence would be diminished (Isaacson, PAGE). In addition he reminded them that England was acquiring great wealth from the Colonies, and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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