University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languagesand LiteraturesStudent: Irina-Alexandra IlieProfessor: Drago? Manea Benjamin Franklin”The Autobiography”-Handout- 1. Who Was BenjaminFranklin? “I was commonly allow’d to govern, especially in any case of Difficulty; andupon other Occasions I was generally a Leader among the Boys, and sometimes ledthem into Scrapes, of which I will mention one Instance, as it shows an earlyprojecting public Spirit, tho’ not then justly conducted.” (Franklin, “TheAutobiography”) He was one of the founding fathers of America, but he was also never president,the only reason for this was nothing else but his age for he was in his lateeighties when America came into being. Anyway, he did not even have anyintention of being remembered as a rich or politically influential character.He wanted to be remembered as a very balanced soul, the embodiment ofperfection, both innerly and in his real daily life.
In this sense, he has managedto contour this image of the perfect American Man and he is actually known asthe creator of the American Dream and the first person ever to fulfill it.Moreover, he was also a sort of founder for the American character –courageous, determined, talkative and populist. 1 Franklin, Benjamin. “The Autobiography”2. Benjamin Franklin’sLife In A NutshellBenjamin Franklin was America’s best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer,business strategist and political thinker. He managed all of this without stayingin America his whole life, he travelled between Boston, London, Paris,Philadelphia and some other places. After all his adventures, he eventuallyquasi-retires to become a civic leader, to do his electricity experiments andform civic groups.3.
Benjamin Franklin –The Writera. Schoolb. Self-educationc.
Silence DogoodRegarding his writing career, it is mandatory to beaware of the fact that having a boss did not fit Benjamin’s mindset, a veryAmerican trait, and decided to teach himself how to be a good writer. He didthis by reading everything he found at the printshop he first worked in(Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the essays of Plutarch, Swift, Defoe). Next, hethought himself how to write by writing down the arguments between Addison andSteele in their essays, cut them up and put them in a different order – so hetried to rewrite their essays in a better order (he was 14-15 years old). Asexpected, at some point, he wants to have his work printed, so he makes up apseudonym – Silence Dogood (a widowed old woman married to a minister). Whileshe was very different in her circumstances than Franklin, he used her toexpress some of his core beliefs. She spoke out against tyranny, the connectionbetween church and state and the colony’s government.
4. Benjamin Franklin –The Diplomat a. America’s First Diplomatb. Supporter of theAmerican Coloniesc.
American Independenced. Treaty of Parise. American RevolutionHe became one of thePennsylvania colony and later on he represented all the other American coloniesfighting against their taxation. Later, he joined the cause of AmericanIndependence so he starts working on the Declaration of Independence.
Over thecourse of his career he would also represent the United States of America as anambassador in London and Paris. Franklin was one of, if not the most,distinguished men in the early history of the US. He was accomplished in a widevariety of areas and participated in most of the key events in the nation’sfounding. His active role in colonial and national affairs did not prevent himfrom contributing to the civic life of Philadelphia. While Benjamin Franklinmade many contributions to the case of Independence, he never participated inany of the military conflicts of the Revolutionary War.
He served in diplomaticand legislative roles during the American Revolution helping to procure supportfor the struggle for independence.5. Benjamin Franklin –The Printera. Pennsylvania Gazetteb. Poor Richard’sAlmanacc. First American PostService Benjamin Franklin arrives in London and words for almost two years tomake enough money to buy printing equipment – he has a printshop inPhiladelphia – his newspaper was called the Pennsylvania Gazette. His newspaperdiffered from other periodicals of his time in that it was not affiliated witha specific religious denomination or political party, it was independent.Another interesting fact is that he writes everything by himself underdifferent pseudonyms.
While thinking about what to print, he thought about theBible first, but gave up the idea because people only but the Bible once intheir life, whereas an almanac appears every year. This was like the World WideWeb of that time – there was pretty much everything one wanted to know, so hecreated Poor Richard’s Almanac. What is more, in the margins of the almanac,Franklin put ‘Poor Richard’s sayings’, many of which are still repeated today,for example, ‘Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead’ or ‘Fish andVisitors stink in 3 days’.His almanac became wildly popular throughout all of the Americancolonies, which is why he needed to create a distribution network for the book,as well as other work produced by his printing colleagues. This network wouldbecome the first American postal service. 6.
Benjamin Franklin –The Civic Leader a. The Leather ApronClub / Juntob. The First LendingLibraryc. Insurance Company forWidows and OrphansBenjamin founded the Leather Apron Club for other middle-class tradesmen.It was called this way because it was not for the rich elite, nor for the poorworking men – it was really for those who put on a leather apron every morningand opened up their shop and stayed behind the counter. The goal of the organizationwas to train good civic leaders.
The club worked to promote virtues that publicleaders should work to cultivate. Franklin’s Leather Apron Club reflected hisbelief that the backbone of America would be a shopkeeping middle class that formedcivic organizations that brought people together.Some important things that hecame up with together with the Leather Apron Club were: the first lendinglibrary – free for everyone; a Street Sweepin Corps, an academy for theeducation of the youth which became the University of Philadelphia, aninsurance compay for widows and orphans (this baffled his mother because sheconsidered that one can get to Heaven only through God’s grace, not throughgood works. Frankling said he’d rather hate it said that he lived usefully thanthat he died rich). “Scripture assures me, that at the last Day, we shall not be examin’dwhat we thought, but what we did; and our Recommendation will not be that wesaid Lord, Lord, But that we did Good to our Fellow Creatures.” 7. BenjaminFranklin – The Scientista. Practical Problemsb.
Electricity Experiments Franklinbelieved that it was essential for citizens to be knowledgeable about scienceand engaged in a great deal of scientific research. Much of his work was gearedtowards practical problems and the invention of products that would improveeveryday life.Examples:the fireplace, the bifocals.
Franklin’stheoretical work was done on the nature of electricity and brought him internationalacclaim. Through his kite experiments, he was able to confirm that lightningwas electricity and that it could be manipultaed. In order to preservebuildings from being struck by lighting, Franklin designed an object that woul wardlightning off from striking tall building, a big problem during his time.
2Phelen, Elaine Paulionis. “Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father andFreemason.” MASONIC PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, ., 12 Mar.
2016, blog.philosophicalsociety.org/2015/11/07/benjamin-franklin-founding-father-and-freemason/ 8. Conclusion As a conclusion, itcan be said that he was a renaissance man because he was fond of science aswell as writing and humanities. He invents the Americancharacter – being proudly middle class – the shopkeepers are the backbone ofAmerica, they form civic organizations that bring people together, which iswhat he also did through the universities, hospitals and academies. We can say that he was an important representant of the American Dream – “the ability to rise from rags toriches through hard work” (Giemza, “The Autobiography: Literature and CulturalDiversity”) “WhenThomas Jefferson arrived in Paris in 1785, the French Foreign Minister,Vergennes, asked, “It is you who replace Dr. Franklin?” Jeffersonreplied, “No one can replace him, Sir; I am only his successor.
” (“Benjamin Franklin: First American Diplomat”) 3. Giemza, Bryan B. “TheAutobiography.” English 22: Literature and Cultural Diversity,Bryan Giemza, 20 Sept. 2015, www.unc.edu/~bgiemza/ENGL22.
htm. 4. Historians, Office of the. “BenjaminFranklin: First American Diplomat, 1776–1785.” U.S. Department of State,U.
S. Department of State, 23 May 2012,history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/b-franklin. Biography 1 Franklin, Benjamin.
“The Autobiography” 2Phelen, Elaine Paulionis. “Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father andFreemason.” MASONIC PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, ., 12 Mar. 2016, blog.philosophicalsociety.
org/2015/11/07/benjamin-franklin-founding-father-and-freemason/ 3.Giemza, Bryan B. “The Autobiography.
” English 22: Literature and CulturalDiversity, Bryan Giemza, 20 Sept. 2015, www.unc.
Historians, Office of the. “Benjamin Franklin: First American Diplomat,1776–1785.” U.S.
Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 23 May 2012,history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/b-franklin.Biography