Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Benjamin Franklin Born in Boston on Jan. 17, 1706 The son of a soap maker, Franklin early rebelled against the narrowness.
Slide 1 Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Slide 2 Benjamin Franklin Born in Boston on Jan. 17, 1706 The son of a soap maker, Franklin early rebelled against the narrowness of the life offered him in Boston. Slide 3 Benjamin Franklin Raised as Puritan, but rejected his parents religion in favor of Deism Arrived at both his religious and social philosophies by his own experimentation and intelligence. He only had approx. 1 yr. of formal schooling at the Boston Grammar School. He eventually acquired learning from his own experience vast readings in American, British, and West European books & newspapers Slide 4 Benjamin Franklin Apprenticed to his brother James Assisted in writing and printing of the NEW ENGLAND COURANT (1721-1723). The brothers wrote satires of the Massachusetts authorities, and Franklin contributed essays (anonymously) that appeared under the pseudonym, SILENCE DOGOOD. Slide 5 Benjamin Franklin At age 17, after quarreling w/his brother, he secretly ran off to Philadelphia with only the clothes on his back. He explains fully in his autobiography the reasons for his departure. Partly he felt restricted by the censorship of the press Partly because he had felt that his brother had exploited him in the role of apprentice-publisher. Slide 6 Benjamin Franklin Worked for a year in a printing house in Philadelphia. With assistance by Gov. Keith, went to England for about 3 yrs. to seek his fortune. Printing jobs there. Returned in 1726 to Philadelphia and soon prospered as a printer. He bought & reformed a newspaper, The PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE (1730), started his own stationer's shop rose to public prominence as the designated public printer for the colony Slide 7 Benjamin Franklin He married Deborah Read in 1730. (d. 1774) Devoted, illiterate, and a good housewife, she bore him two children Tolerant of her husband's infidelities reared his illegitimate son William Franklin Slide 8 Benjamin Franklin 1731: started the Philadelphia Library, the first American circulating library. 1732, he created POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC. It is perhaps the most sustained of his literary productions. Its proverbs illustrate his understanding that Puritan virtues had immense utilitarian value. A Deist and Natural Rights philosopher believing in the perfectibility of man, he felt obligated to show others how they, too, could rise from rags to riches by consciously leading a frugal, industrious life. Slide 9 Benjamin Franklin As his wealth increased, he earned a deserved reputation as a promoter of benevolent projects in Philly.; his civic accomplishments led to his involvement in local politics. By 1748, at age 42, he felt wealthy enough to retire from his business as a printer to devote himself to science and politics. His most important discoveries were in the new field of electricity. His experiments led to the discovery that lightning is a form of electricity and to a theory of electricity which forms the basis of our modern understanding of it. His scientific achievements in this area brought him international acclaim. Slide 10 Benjamin Franklin Soon, his growing involvement in politics overshadowed his interest in science. At the Albany Congress of 1754, he advanced his prophetic plan of union which embodied the federal principle. He always asserted that adoption of his plan, rejected by the colonies and Parliament, would have averted the American Revolution. He became a leading member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and in 1757 he was sent to England to present the Assembly's grievances against the Proprietors of Pennsylvania. Slide 11 Benjamin Franklin In England, he gradually found himself caught up in the battle against Parliament's attempts to legislate for the colonies. He helped to repeal the Stamp Act as an impractical measure Many of his finest satires and political essays date from this period. Left England in 1775 and returned to find America at war. As a member of the Second Continental Congress and later as America's minister to France, he gained his greatest fame. Slide 12 Benjamin Franklin His plan for the union was the single strongest influence on the Articles of the Confederation and his 1776 Constitution for Pennsylvania afforded practical examples of the operation of the unicameral legislature, an executive of weak powers, and a denial of compulsive force by central authority - all soon to be features of the new federal govt. Slide 13 Benjamin Franklin 1778: Went to France helped win recognition of the United States' independence and a treaty of alliance with France. Helped John Adams & John Jay formed a Peace Commission W/Great Britain.. Slide 14 Benjamin Franklin Began his Autobiography in 1771 at Twyford, England. Completed his memoirs up to the year 1757. to guide his son William He died in Philadelphia on April 17, 1790 Slide 15 Benjamin Franklin His style that evolved was a result of his journalistic work: of necessity clear and forceful, plain and brief. His practical-minded readers found it free of nonsense but full of moralizing. In his essay ON LITERARY STYLE three requirements for good writing: that it be "smooth, clear and short" Slide 16 Benjamin Franklin His career as a printer in Philly encompassed three large journalistic projects during a span of about 12 years: The PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE (a newspaper); POOR RICHARD'S ALMANACK GENERAL MAGAZINE AND HISTORICAL CHRONICLE Slide 17 Benjamin Franklin For volume and rapidity of production few writers have matched Franklin. An estimate is that the number of documents written by him numbers in the vicinity of 20,000. Slide 18 Benjamin Franklin Much of his writing is satirical fun, usually in the form of essays or letters to the editor. He tried to make himself morally perfect by self-discipline. He failed to do so, but he did carry out another kind of self-transformation. By hard work and cleverness, he changed himself from the poorly educated son of a candle and soap maker into a world-famous scientist, diplomat, philosopher, and writer. Slide 19 Benjamin Franklin The contrast between Franklin's humble beginnings and his vast success has made him a symbol of America. He is perhaps America's least appreciated major writer. His achievements in other fields usually take precedence over his achievements as an essayist, satirist, political controversialist, letter writer, and autobiographer. Slide 20 Benjamin Franklins Autobiography Each of the 3 parts of Franklin's AUTOBIOGRAPHY reflects the time and circumstances of its composition. When Franklin wrote the first portion while visiting the Shipleys in Hampshire, he liked England. He was enjoying a welcome period of relief from his official duties, and he assumed the role of a retired country gentlemen giving a private acct. of his unusual and adventurous history. Slide 21 Benjamin Franklin The piece began to take the shape of a short picturesque novel. It has the young Benjamin Franklin as a hero. themes are his ambition to be in business for himself his education in writing his inner struggle over religious questions his uneven progress toward marriage Slide 22 Benjamin Franklin the older Franklin publicize his youth and also demonstrate to himself a continuity between the retired gentleman who is writing and the boy and young man who was already receiving attention from men like himself. There is a distinct juxtaposition of youth and age in this part of the Autobiography, symbolized by the device of writing it as a letter to his son William. One is led to believe that William was about the age of the young Benjamin, somewhere in his teens or twenties in 1771, he was about 40 yrs. old and Gov. of NJ Slide 23 Benjamin Franklin First edition published in France in 1791 The first English translation, "The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. Originally Written By Himself, And Now Translated From The French," was published in London in 1793. Slide 24