Benjamin Franklin: a Man of Many Talents

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Say or hear the name Benjamin Franklin and you picture a chubby man holding a kite during a lightning storm or you think of bifocals. Both would be true however there was so much more to Benjamin Franklin. A man of many talents. He was a scientist, businessman, philosopher, etc. Many figures have left their mark in American history but not quite like Benjamin Franklin. He was as famous as a president but never elected for public office. Reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin one can visualize and understand how great of a man Benjamin Franklin was. 

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Some critics may argue and say he was not a noble man and may not have been telling his whole story. The book was entertaining as well as educational. A book written more than 200 years ago yet still relevant today. He not only contributed to society and America, but to the world. He tried to make the world a better place with better lives. He had a pretty busy life. He was a well-respected, passionate, energetic man who was motivated by his own self determination and had a strong work ethic. He was a self-made man that was an inspiration. 

Benjamin Franklin was a remarkable man and deserves the title “famous American leader.’ His inventions and discoveries set furthermore inventions and discoveries. He was a genius. If Benjamin had still been alive today, he would probably be a very famous man. Benjamin Franklin had a great and noteworthy influence on the growth of his nation. His autobiography shows all his achievements. Throughout his autobiography, Benjamin makes the reader picture a vivid image of the many contributions he made to society. He improved education, healthcare, and many more projects. In his early life, Benjamin created a group of friends that met every Friday and were called the junto also known as the Leathern Apron Club. 

It was to improve the society as well as themselves. He specifically used intellectuals such as a mathematician, mechanic, etc. He did this so intelligent people can discuss intellectual issues. This was smart since he can relate more to them and they can help each other with their business. “The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy”. The first public affair of the Junto club was the city watch. The club led to many more projects so overall it was a great and effective club.

Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is an example of the American Dream. He started in a middle class and large family and found work very early in his life. He ended up growing into an educated, respected and humble man. He started with nothing and became wealthy and happy. He faced many challenges thought his life. One challenge was he was dropped from school at a very young age. “His schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to his brother James, a printer,…” At 10 he dropped out of school and made candles with his father. 

He could not afford college with such a large family. Another challenge was his brother would not allow him to publish any papers. “…and suspecting that my brother would object to printing anything of mine in his paper…” Franklin then had to send an anonymous paper instead. This leads to the third challenge where Franklin’s brother James would often beat him. 

“But my brother was passionate, and had often beaten me, which I took extremely amiss;” He became restless and was tired of James harsh behavior thus leading Ben to run away and going from New York to Philadelphia by himself. He only had wet clothes and three pennies. These challenges shaped who he became and led to future happiness.

Benjamin Franklin was wise, hardworking, and ambitious. Philadelphia is not a big place but small enough for people to quickly notice his efforts which made his reputation grow. “The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy.” He knew that having a good reputation was useful. He made sure everyone knew what was going on resulting in gaining credibility and customers. 

Franklin practiced a long list of virtues to improve his character. Such as Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility. What made me admire him the most was that he wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.” We are all in a way his “descendants”, so he wants us to be following these virtues to heart.

Benjamin and his relationship to his father was poor. He would always be against him. His father wanted Ben to serve in church, but he did not want to. His father made him drop out of school since he could not afford it. He worked with his father at 10 making soaps and candles. He wanted Ben to run the shop when he retired but Ben did not want to follow his footsteps. Instead wanted to be a sailor even though his father was against it. To prevent him from becoming a sailor he made Ben work for his brother James. 

He made him sign an indenture for his apprenticeship until 21 and only then he can earn his wages. Ben’s relationship with his brother was not so well. He wanted to write for the paper as well, but James would not allow it. When he sent them in anonymously James had found out and beat him since he was jealous of the attention Ben was getting. 

One of the points in the paper was offensive to the Assembly so James was imprisoned. Upon release, he was not grateful that Ben kept the paper going. Instead harassed him and kept beating him. Franklin following the many 13 virtues made him a better man. It linked to his success and happiness. He did not even finish school and yet became the person he is today. He started adulthood at a very young age.  

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