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Benjamin Franklin: A Self-Designed Man - Essay Example

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Prof’s Name Class name Date month year Benjamin Franklin: A Self-Designed Man Benjamin Franklin helped found the United States of America in 1776, when he helped fashion the Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson. That document put the King of England, George III, on notice the colonists were not happy with their current situation…
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Download file to see previous pages The autobiography began with a salutation to his son. He does not name him, but Franklin historians identify him as William, the first born and illegitimate son of an unknown woman and Franklin (marriage . . . historicalabenfranklin.com). He wrote his text as letter to his son. It is a first person account. Sometimes the timeline gets confusing as Franklin will be explaining a subject and then next sentence returns the reader to another time. As classmate Sarah Middaugh said on November 11, 2011 at 8:59 PM, “In his autobiography he tends to stray and ramble for a bit (a habit I am glad to know existed in one of the nation's most revered men) but would then get back on topic to continue.” That habit could either be endearing or maddening depending on the readers’ tastes. And while the autobiography is somewhat about Franklin’s personal life, readers do not really get to know his personal life. The autobiography enlightens readers to Franklin’s diplomatic life more. Most modern readers will be disappointed in Franklin’s autobiography, as it does not detail many “juicy” areas of his life. ...
Franklin does give some insight into his home life with Deborah. He wrote his wife worked “cheerfully” beside him in his business. She also was as frugal as he but she did purchase a china bowl to serve him his breakfast food. Later on they would add to the set until it was complete. He was more concerned with how the china would make him look to his neighbors and associates. In all, Franklin does not give her any praise for carrying on without him when he is away in England or on diplomatic trips for the Quakers or the united colonies. Above all, it seems Franklin was concerned with appearances. He did not want to seem to be too wealthy, as he did not want to be viewed as different from working citizens but be wanted to be viewed as a hard worker. For instance, he would make sure to fill his wheelbarrow up with paper and walk through the streets to let everyone see how hard he worked. If there is to be a single message taken away from Franklin’s autobiography it would be that in America, a person can design and control how he wants others to perceive him. Franklin tried to control his life by making a concerted effort to be seen as hard working. He tried his hand at cultivating virtues but failed. He made a list and tried practicing each attribute until he thought he had perfected them. However, when one thinks they are being humble, and practicing being humble, the battle is usually lost. At least Franklin was willing to admit to errata although he did not name them. The most fascinating part of the autobiography is the beginning when Franklin describes his humble beginnings and his rise to wealth and importance as a thinker. He was not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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