- About Benjmin Franklin
- The Biography
America was founded on the principles of truth, justice and equality ? we believe (or did, at least) that if we are intelligent, true, and work hard enough, we will succeed in this land of opportunities. Nowhere is that belief and its fulfillment better shown than in the life of Benjamin Franklin. He was born the son of a soap and candle maker, the youngest of seventeen children (Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Masur, 2). His beginnings could not have been plainer: he was given a public school education just like every other child in his neighborhood and started working in his father's business when he was still a young boy (33). Like Louis Masur puts it, Benjamin Franklin ?embraced knowledge and experimentation, rational thought, and natural religion. And at the center if the Enlightenment ethos was a faith in the written word, an obsession with compiling and categorization? (6). This search for knowledge led Franklin to seek out his own place in the world. Before he turned 17, he was brave enough to leave his family, board, and certain source of income to sail almost 300 miles away so that he could be independent, ?without the least Recommendation to or Knowledge of any Person in the Place, and with very little Money in [his] Pocket? (44). In this way Benjamin Franklin became an example of the economically successful American as a bold risk-taker. He had a quick business mind: early on in his career, he told brother to give him half of what he paid for his board and that he would pay for the board himself, and so had money to pursue his own interests at the time (40). His father disapproved of his profession, and he was at odds with his brother who thought he had risen too high too fast (52). After a disagreement with his boss, Keimer, he still refused to leave the printing business (75). Time and time again Franklin was faced with failure and rejection, yet was never daunted.
Instead, he took a lesson from it and did better the next time. He always advanced upwards in life and never let anything set him back ? the same advice that he gives to those reading his autobiography. When he was in his twenties, he started writing ?poor Richard's Almanac' ? also known as ?The Way to Wealth? which was basically his how-to guide for the common man. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, his how to get rich guide made him rich, with the end result that he was well provided for after ?retirement' while he appeased his other appetites of reading, philosophy, and public work. Rung by rung he climbed up the economic and social ladder, realizing the great American dream and providing an example for others along the way.
[...] Time and time again Franklin was faced with failure and rejection, yet was never daunted. Instead, he took a lesson from it and did better the next time. He always advanced upwards in life and never let anything set him back the same advice that he gives to those reading his autobiography. When he was in his twenties, he started writing ?poor Richard's Almanac' also known as Way to Wealth? which was basically his how-to guide for the common man. [...]
[...] Benjamin Vaughan's letter to Benjamin Franklin to be an astute summary of the latter's greatness and success, and thus would like to conclude the essay with his words: your biography will not merely teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man. And why are weaker men to be deprived of such help, when we see our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost without a guide in this particular, from the farthest trace of time, both to sons and fathers; and invite all wise men to become like yourself; and other men to become wise? (87). WORKS CITED Franklin, Benjamin. Louis P. [...]
[...] This unorthodox education is vouched for by admirers of Benjamin Franklin. Louis Masur says in his introduction that ?Franklin is seen as the ultimate self-made man, the man of humble origins and upward mobility, the most successful and recognized American in the world? (16). Others have praised his enthusiasm for hard work and willingness to challenge the status quo. Masur calls him ?crafty and ruthless?, and yet an ?embodiment of those values we associate with American Individualism and capitalism: industry, frugality, sobriety, diligence, prudence? A letter included in the autobiography by Mr. [...]