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DeadWeight I don't know about that. Remember that right before that he says this about said outlook: It seems more the case the Franklin is arguing that everything which is is "good", perhaps in some divine-metaphysical sense, but not necessarily "good" in a practical or pragmatic sense, and so whether or not it's true doesn't have a lot of bearing on our own reality because we don't have access to the same perceptions and intentions that "God" does.

That being said, it isn't practical as human beings who wouldn't understand the divine necessity for this murder to not, say, throw the murderer in prison and condemn the action. See all 7 questions about The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin…. Lists with This Book. Jul 25, Darwin8u rated it really liked it Shelves: There is always just too much to do, too many questions to ask, too many books to read, too much to explore.

My brother recommended this book to me about 30 years ago. I'm not sure why I never read it until now. Part of it must be the feeling that Benjamin Franklin would always just be there. He wasn't going anywhere. He seems to permeate so much of what it means to be an American and is an essential part our shared historical map.

His autobiography, which is divided into two parts, ends in These are his early years. It is a portrait of a polymath as a young man. It shows his curiosity, his work ethic, his creativity, his risk-taking, his bridge-building. All the things that would later be used as part of the myth-making around Franklin. After reading this autobiography, I kinda agree with Christopher Hitchen's take about the role of Benjamin Franklin as the Socrates of his day: He was drafted onto the committee that drew up the Declaration and may well have been the one who imposed the ringing term "self-evident," as against the more pompous "sacred and undeniable" in its crucial opening stave.

When George Washington's horse bore him into Philadelphia for the grueling meeting that would eventually evolve the United States Constitution, it was at Franklin's front door that the president necessarily made his first stop His humor was dry and sharp. He could adapt the language of his foes and flail them with it. He was happy to guide and get things done, rather than glory and stay stationary. He was an American original and we are all better for his curiosity, his humor, his readiness to take risks, his ability to learn and adapt.

When people talk about standing on the backs of giants, I imagine we all have climbed a bit on the back of Franklin. View all 13 comments. Sep 03, Trevor rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a curious little book. This is a bit like reading an autobiography of John Lennon that ends a few years before he meets Paul McCartney. There are very amusing parts of this — particula This is a curious little book. There are very amusing parts of this — particularly around how he sought to improve himself both morally, through a thirteen step plan, and as a writer.

He would read what he considered to be well written articles and then, a day or two later, would try to re-compose them, as accurately as possible, from memory. Then he would go back to the original article and compare his effort with that. As he persisted with this strategy he would sometimes find he had improved on the original, making the ordering of the points raised more logical or finding a particularly apt phrase that made the point in a way better than had been done in the original.

This is such good advice. It is remarkably hard for us to take the reader into consideration when we write — and this method forces us to do exactly that. We think we know what we mean when we write something, but all too often we are only sure of our meaning at the moment we write it, and sometimes not even then. And that is the level of care that is called for in our writing. His advice on arguing and avoiding words that imply too much certainty in our views is also well worth heeding.

It is interesting to read someone so steeped in the Enlightenment. To read a humanist who, as much as anything else, was keen to see a general improvement in humanity — whether through more universal access to learning he set up the first subscription library and was instrumental in forming the first university in Pennsylvania or in finding ways to ensure the streets are kept clean and well lit. View all 18 comments. The charm and pleasure of this book, for me, is that it is not about the famous Benjamin Franklin, the inventor and one of the fathers of the American Revolution, but that it is about the young Franklin; about his education and apprenticeship as a printer to his brother, about his love of books and his determination to improve his writing skills, about how he uprooted himself from his birthplace and family and moved to Philadelphia, and began a business there.

He meets rogues and swindlers, has The charm and pleasure of this book, for me, is that it is not about the famous Benjamin Franklin, the inventor and one of the fathers of the American Revolution, but that it is about the young Franklin; about his education and apprenticeship as a printer to his brother, about his love of books and his determination to improve his writing skills, about how he uprooted himself from his birthplace and family and moved to Philadelphia, and began a business there.

He meets rogues and swindlers, has unexpected fortune both good and ill, and eventually prospers through his own cleverness and industry. The first half of the book - and parts of the second half - is as entertaining as any novel. I especially like what it reveals about early and midth century America and its inhabitants. The journey from Boston to Philadelphia was far different in those days!

The way he talks about men being "bred" to their various professions is fascinating, as is his discussion of religious beliefs and doctrines of the time. And it's so interesting to see the workings of the pre-Revolutionary government, in which each colony is nearly a separate country, and yet all absolutely subjects of the Crown.

Franklin is a sly and entertaining narrator. He does not shy from making himself look bad on occasion, but it's clearly calculated to gain the reader's sympathy and goodwill. He's a schmoozer and a schemer, but he schmoozes and schemes to what he perceives to be the common good, not to his own betterment. The book does have some serious flaws. For one thing, it is an abandoned WIP, ending abruptly with his passage to England in He also laid it down in the middle for a long time, and the second half is markedly different from the first; when he starts again, he repeats himself quite a bit, and then goes into this rather preachy and to me boring discussion of virtue, and how he attempted to become a Better Person through diligent self-examination.

I also thought his accounts of his involvement in the French and Indian War a little dull in parts. But overall, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audiobook version of this book, narrated by Adrian Cronauer, whose own story formed the basis for the movie Good Morning, Vietnam. Cronauer has a pleasant voice, but in my opinion he reads too fast, and his uncompromisingly modern American accent is somewhat at odds with the 18th-century language.

I think the audiobook would have been improved by using the accent used in e. Maybe I'm just too accustomed to theatrical portrayals of Franklin to accept a modern voice! Mar 15, Shannon rated it really liked it. Man oh man, that dude had some mad skills. This book is written somewhat sloppily - changing narrative styles throughout, carrying on from time to time, and not even finishing it - but the content is truly amazing.

Why didn't I learn in school about how awesome Ben Franklin was? In addition to his kite flying escapade, he invented a better type of wood burning furnace, and a better street lamp. He created the first public university in America U. Penn , helped create one of the first public hos Man oh man, that dude had some mad skills. Penn , helped create one of the first public hospitals, and came up with the idea for the first fire department, and the first public library.

His main profession was a printer and newspaper man which served him well in marketing many of his projects , but he also served as a colonel, a postmaster general, and an assemblyman. His career is just astounding. Also - it isn't covered in this book, but he was one of the core founding fathers. According to Wikipedia, "He is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States: It's because the dude pretty much single handedly built America: Jan 28, Ilyn Ross rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: His sensible father was of good character.

Franklin was a deist. What God has given man, he purposefully, methodically, and continually used to improve himself. A self-driven independent thinker, he endeavored to improve, not only mentally and financially, but morally. He did it for his own sake, and the fruits became the glory of mankind. Franklin resolved to practice virtues every moment. He said he was not so successful in some, e.

Order, but his ambitious efforts did him well. Some in the list, e. It is clear from his depictions of his practice of humility that he did not mean self-abasement nor self-negation — he practiced diplomacy. He said about humility: Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it perhaps, often in this history; for even if I conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should be probably proud of my humility.

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Franklin had no mean bone in his body. He used reason and persuasion to advance his convictions. His integrity earned the respect and trust of his fellowmen. Franklin earned the virtue of pride. He depicted errors that he regretted. He had the misfortune of losing a four-year-old son to smallpox. I found page 63 very interesting. I dearly enjoyed reading Dr. I laughed heartily at this part: Benjamin Franklin had an exemplary, glorious life. View all 3 comments. Jul 06, Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing Shelves: Ben Franklin did it all. He was an incredible self-made human. Why wouldn't someone want to read more about him?

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is fairly short and to the point. It took a while to come to grips with Franklin's olde timey speech, but once I got up to speed or slowed down?

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He was a natural storyteller. Seriously, was there anything this dude couldn't do? Not only was he industrious, but he made an admirable mora Ben Franklin did it all. Not only was he industrious, but he made an admirable moral compass, without being overly pious or self-righteous. He might have had to learn modesty, but considering his success and obvious intelligence -not to mention some of the buffoons he was surrounded by- it's a wonder he didn't constantly show up his contemporaries.

He details his change in speech, reducing definitive statements, in order to avoid shame and embarrassment for both arguing parties. He is forthcoming in this way, just as he is generous in his inventions. When they could have made him a fortune, he would not take out a patent, thus allowing the less fortunate and society as a whole to benefit. It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with this man's wisdom. Once upon a time Americans models their behavior on his proverbs, etc as set down in Poor Richard's Almanac. Franklin relates losing a 4 year old son to small pox, regrets not having inoculated him, and encourages parents to do so.

This was over two hundred years ago. What in the world has become of us? It's time we get to know this man again. I was happy to do so over the Fourth of July holiday.

Benjamin Franklin - HISTORY

View all 5 comments. This is a wonderfully inspiring Read. It's a small book packed with great insights into virtuous living. So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable. But though this were denied, I should still accept the offer.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Since such a repetition is not to be expected, the next thing most like living one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing. Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so natural in old men, to be talking of themselves and their own past actions; and I shall indulge it without being tiresome to others, who, through respect to age, might conceive themselves obliged to give me a hearing, since this may be read or not as any one pleases.

And, lastly I may as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody , perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of life.

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done: The notes one of my uncles who had the same kind of curiosity in collecting family anecdotes once put into my hands, furnished me with several particulars relating to our ancestors.

From these notes I learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when others took surnames all over the kingdom , on a freehold of about thirty acres, aided by the smith's business, which had continued in the family till his time, the eldest son being always bred to that business; a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest sons.

When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an account of their births, marriages and burials from the year only, there being no registers kept in that parish at any time preceding. By that register I perceived that I was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back. My grandfather Thomas, who was born in , lived at Ecton till he grew too old to follow business longer, when he went to live with his son John, a dyer at Banbury, in Oxfordshire, with whom my father served an apprenticeship.

There my grandfather died and lies buried. We saw his gravestone in His eldest son Thomas lived in the house at Ecton, and left it with the land to his only child, a daughter, who, with her husband, one Fisher, of Wellingborough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the manor there. My grandfather had four sons that grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, Benjamin and Josiah. I will give you what account I can of them, at this distance from my papers, and if these are not lost in my absence, you will among them find many more particulars. Thomas was bred a smith under his father; but, being ingenious, and encouraged in learning as all my brothers were by an Esquire Palmer, then the principal gentleman in that parish, he qualified himself for the business of scrivener; became a considerable man in the county; was a chief mover of all public-spirited undertakings for the county or town of Northampton, and his own village, of which many instances were related of him; and much taken notice of and patronized by the then Lord Halifax.

He died in 17O2, January 6, old style, just four years to a day before I was born. The account we received of his life and character from some old people at Ecton, I remember, struck you as something extraordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of mine. Benjamin was bred a silk dyer, serving an apprenticeship at London. He was an ingenious man. I remember him well, for when I was a boy he came over to my father in Boston, and lived in the house with us some years. He lived to a great age. His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston.

He left behind him two quarto volumes, MS. I was named after this uncle, there being a particular affection between him and my father. He was very pious, a great attender of sermons of the best preachers, which he took down in his short-hand, and had with him many volumes of them. He was also much of a politician; too much, perhaps, for his station.

There fell lately into my hands, in London, a collection he had made of all the principal pamphlets, relating to public affairs, from to ; many of the volumes are wanting as appears by the numbering, but there still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty-four in quarto and in octavo. A dealer in old books met with them, and knowing me by my sometimes buying of him, he brought them to me.

Benjamin Franklin His Autobiography 1706-1757

It seems my uncle must have left them here, when he went to America, which was about fifty years since. There are many of his notes in the margins. This obscure family of ours was early in the Reformation, and continued Protestants through the reign of Queen Mary, when they were sometimes in danger of trouble on account of their zeal against popery. They had got an English Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool.

When my great-great-grandfather read it to his family, he turned up the joint-stool upon his knees, turning over the leaves then under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained concealed under it as before.

This anecdote I had from my uncle Benjamin. The family continued all of the Church of England till about the end of Charles the Second's reign, when some of the ministers that had been outed for nonconformity holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, Benjamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued all their lives: Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three children into New England, about The conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom.

By the same wife he had four children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton Mather in his church history of that country, entitled Magnalia Christi Americana, as 'a godly, learned Englishman," if I remember the words rightly.

I have heard that he wrote sundry small occasional pieces, but only one of them was printed, which I saw now many years since. It was written in , in the home-spun verse of that time and people, and addressed to those then concerned in the government there. It was in favor of liberty of conscience, and in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries that had been under persecution, ascribing the Indian wars, and other distresses that had befallen the country, to that persecution, as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous an offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws.

The whole appeared to me as written with a good deal of decent plainness and manly freedom. The six concluding lines I remember, though I have forgotten the two first of the stanza; but the purport of them was, that his censures proceeded from good-will, and, therefore, he would be known to be the author. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church. My early readiness in learning to read which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read , and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his.

My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short-hand volumes of sermons, I suppose as a stock to set up with, if I would learn his character.

American History : The life of Benjamin Franklin - Full Rare Documentary

I continued, however, at the grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain--reasons that be gave to his friends in my hearing--altered his first intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.

George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally, and that by mild, encouraging methods. Under him I acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler and sope-boiler; a business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England, and on finding his dying trade would not maintain his family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc.

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the sea, but my father declared against it; however, living near the water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim well, and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharff there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and which would very well suit our purpose. Accordingly, in the evening, when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working with them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharff.

The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones, which were found in our wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest. I think you may like to know something of his person and character. He had an excellent constitution of body, was of middle stature, but well set, and very strong; he was ingenious, could draw prettily, was skilled a little in music, and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when he played psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimesdid in an evening after the business of the day was over, it was extremely agreeable to hear.

He had a mechanical genius too, and, on occasion, was very handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools; but his great excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential matters, both in private and publick affairs. In the latter, indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had to educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him close to his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of the church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his judgment and advice: At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.

By this means he turned our attention to what was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon.

This has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and appetites. My mother had likewise an excellent constitution: I never knew either my father or mother to have any sickness but that of which they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 years of age.

They lie buried together at Boston, where I some years since placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription: They lived lovingly together in wedlock fifty-five years. Franklin also was a key figure in the colonial postal system. In , the British appointed him postmaster of Philadelphia, and he went on to become, in , joint postmaster general for all the American colonies.

In this role he instituted various measures to improve mail service; however, the British dismissed him from the job in because he was deemed too sympathetic to colonial interests. In July , the Continental Congress appointed Franklin the first postmaster general of the United States, giving him authority over all post offices from Massachusetts to Georgia. He held this position until November , when he was succeeded by his son-in-law.

In , Franklin, then 42 years old, had expanded his printing business throughout the colonies and become successful enough to stop working. Retirement allowed him to concentrate on public service and also pursue more fully his longtime interest in science. In the s, he conducted experiments that contributed to the understanding of electricity, and invented the lightning rod, which protected buildings from fires caused by lightning.

In , he conducted his famous kite experiment and demonstrated that lightning is electricity. Franklin also coined a number of electricity-related terms, including battery, charge and conductor. In addition to electricity, Franklin studied a number of other topics, including ocean currents, meteorology, causes of the common cold and refrigeration. He developed the Franklin stove, which provided more heat while using less fuel than other stoves, and bifocal eyeglasses, which allow for distance and reading use.

In the early s, Franklin invented a musical instrument called the glass armonica. In , at a meeting of colonial representatives in Albany, New York , Franklin proposed a plan for uniting the colonies under a national congress. Although his Albany Plan was rejected, it helped lay the groundwork for the Articles of Confederation , which became the first constitution of the United States when ratified in In , Franklin traveled to London as a representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, to which he was elected in Over several years, he worked to settle a tax dispute and other issues involving descendants of William Penn , the owners of the colony of Pennsylvania.

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After a brief period back in the U. While he was abroad, the British government began, in the mids, to impose a series of regulatory measures to assert greater control over its American colonies. In , Franklin testified in the British Parliament against the Stamp Act of , which required that all legal documents, newspapers, books, playing cards and other printed materials in the American colonies carry a tax stamp.

Although the Stamp Act was repealed in , additional regulatory measures followed, leading to ever-increasing anti-British sentiment and eventual armed uprising by the American colonists. In , he was part of the five-member committee that helped draft the Declaration of Independence , in which the 13 American colonies declared their freedom from British rule.