Essay: Franklin Autobiography Benjamin

Pages: 3 (1413 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] He soon acquired a reputation for being honest, loyal, efficient and industrious, which meant a great deal to him, and he expected those who did not follow his principles to fail in life, as they often did. [4: Franklin, p. 48.] [5: Franklin, p. 53.] [6: Franklin, p. 54.]

Clubs, associations and societies were always very important in Franklin's life even at a young age. He formed a club for mutual improvement called the Junto, which later became the American Philosophical Society, making Philadelphia the center of the American Enlightenment, and also went on to found a newspaper and a lending library. At the same time, he was admitted shrewd and cunning, and stole business from a rival firm, which did a poor job of printing the legislature's official records, by reproducing them "elegantly and correctly, and sent one to every member."[footnoteRef:7] Friends also advanced him the money to take over the printing business from his partner, who was often seen drunk in public and gambling. Franklin was of course on the side of printing more paper money, even though wealthy creditors feared inflation then as they do today. This has never changed. He wrote a pamphlet on the necessity of paper money, of which the common people approved, and his friends "thought fit to reward me by employing me in printing the money; a very profitable jobb and a great help to me."[footnoteRef:8] In paying off all the debts he incurred to buy his business, "I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no places of idle diversion."[footnoteRef:9] [7: Franklin, p. 59.] [8: Franklin, p. 61.] [9: Franklin, p. 62.]

Yet he also admits that the printing business seemed to offer very poor prospects, which made it difficult for him to find a wife with money. He said of the woman he did marry, Rebecca Read, only that "she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever mutually endeavored to make each other happy."[footnoteRef:10] This does not exactly sound like a passionate love match or Romeo and Juliet story, but ideas about marriage were quite different in that society and his views were not unusual. Franklin's central religious belief was that that "the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man."[footnoteRef:11] All throughout the Autobiography, Franklin presents himself as a man of strong discipline and self-control, although he wrote that when his son died at age four from smallpox he "long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation."[footnoteRef:12] [10: Franklin, p. 65.] [11: Franklin, p. 89.] [12: Franklin, p. 95.]

Over time, the Franklin best known to history gradually emerges in the Autobiography, the revolutionary leader and statesman who decides that the American colonies must sever their ties with Great Britain and set out in a more democratic direction as an independent country. This version of Franklin is much more than a calculating, self-interested entrepreneur telling the story of his own rise to wealth and power. For many years, as leader of the anti-Proprietary party in the assembly, his goal was to remove then Penn family and make Pennsylvania a royal colony. In London as the agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly, though, he was told by Lord Granville that the instructions of the king were "so far as they relate to you, the law of the land, for the king is the LEGISLATOR OF THE COLONIES. I told his lordship this was new doctrine to me."[footnoteRef:13] Over the next ten years, many other such encounters with the rulers of Britain would change Franklin dramatically from a loyal servant of the king and British Empire to a radical revolution. In this he was absolutely sincere, since had he been on the losing side of the American Revolution who would have lost his property… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Franklin Autobiography Benjamin.  (2012, January 30).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/franklin-autobiography-benjamin/2604644

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"Franklin Autobiography Benjamin."  Essaytown.com.  January 30, 2012.  Accessed May 25, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/franklin-autobiography-benjamin/2604644.