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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Essay


Introduction

Benjamin Temple Franklin was born on January 6, 1706 in Milk Street, Boston. His father was Josiah Franklin, a tallow chandler who married twice while his mother was Abia Folger. Benjamin was the youngest son of his father’s seventeen children. He stopped going to school at the age of ten, and at the age of twelve, he was already an apprentice to his brother, James. The latter was a printer who published The New England Courant.

Benjamin became a contributor to this magazine, later becoming its nominal editor. However, Benjamin and his brother James later quarreled. This forced Benjamin to escape to New York, and thence to Philadelphia. He arrived in Philadelphia in October 1723, where he became a printer (Franklin 2).

Benjamin was coerced by Governor Keith to move to London after working as a printer for several months. However, he found Keith’s promises empty, and he again worked as a compositor until a merchant known as Denman brought him back to Philadelphia. Denman gave him work in his business.

Following the death of Denman, Franklin returned to his initial printing career. After a short time, he set up his own printing house in which he published The Pennsylvania Gazette. Benjamin contributed many essays to this publication, through which he aired views for local reforms.

In 1732, he began issuing his well-known ’Poor Richard’s Almanac’. This was for the enrichment of which he borrowed his terse speeches of experienced wisdom, which are the foundation of a larger portion of his popular reputation. In 1758, Benjamin stopped writing for the Almanac and printed in it “Father Abraham’s Sermon”. The sermon is considered the most renowned piece of literature produced in Colonial America (Franklin 5).

In the meantime, Benjamin was busy in the public sphere. He established a scheme for an Academy, which was adopted latter and finally developed into the University of Pennsylvania.

He also founded an American Philosophical Society. This was for enabling scientific men to communicate their discoveries to one another. Personally, he had already commenced his research on electrics coupled with other scientific endeavors, which abandoned in the intervals of business and politics until he died. He sold his business in 1748 in order to get time to study.

This was after he had acquired comparative wealth. In politics, he was at ease with being an administrator and as a controversialist (Franklin 7). However, his term in office was characterized by nepotism-related cases of advancing his relatives. His most significant service in home politics was his reforms of the postal system. Nevertheless, his fame as a diplomat rested mainly on his services linked to the dealings of the Colonies with Great Britain and later with France (Masur 3).

Franklin was sent to England in 1757 to explain to the people and the ministry of England the Colonial conditions (Franklin 10). After his return to America, he was vocal in the Paxton affair, an endeavor that saw him lose his seat in the Assembly. Nevertheless, he was re-dispatched to England in 1767 as agent for the colony.

Franklin crossed to France in 1767 where he was warmly received. However, before he returned home in 1775, he had lost his status as postmaster following his role in exposing to Massachusetts the famous letter of Hutchinson and Oliver.

When he arrived at Philadelphia, Franklin was elected a member of the Continental Congress. Two years later, he was sent to France as representative for the United States. In France, he remained the French favorite until 1785. He successfully conducted the affairs of his country such that when he returned home, his reputation can only be compared to that of Washington. He is among the champions of American independence. Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790 (Franklin 13).

What made Franklin rise to economic success?

Going through the above overview of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography leaves the reader with the mouth agape. This is at the discovery of the multifaceted nature of the Franklin. Simply put, he was an all-rounded personality. He was at ease in politics as he was in science and writing, not to mention printing.

He was, in deed, a practical factotum. Franklin’s autobiography, thus, can be read as a sort of ‘How-to Succeed’ manual for other Americans of his day and after. Franklin worked from the presupposition that wealth and status are objectives that motivate human beings in suffering.

He added that these evolutionary vital aims could be attained solely in a cultural framework. Franklin expounded his astute utilization of existing environmental circumstances, showing the viability of cooperative tactics in creating both wealth and reputation. Constantly, he underscored the gains of mutual philanthropy and related pro-social behaviors. His self-belief in the efficiency of cooperation is a reflection of his compassionate conviction that self-interest and community interest inescapably overlap (Masur 11).

According to Franklin, he rose to economic success through various strategies. One of the key tactics that Franklin used to become affluent and reputable was through industry and frugality. In deed, Franklin devotes a large portion of his autobiography to show how his eagerness to work hand and reduce expenses in order to achieve financial security helped him climb the economic ladder. Franklin also became successful economically because he underscored the viability of long term planning.

His industrious and thrifty character aided him to become prosperous. This is because, at every stage in his life, Franklin had clearly defined objectives. For instance, he purported to educate himself in order to become a good writer, and own his business. With time, his goals grow in various ways. They contributed largely to his scientific research. His well-defined goals also helped him to practice effective community leadership, to the extent of achieving moral perfection (Masur 13).

In order to become affluent and reputable Franklin also used competence as a strategy. He demonstrated that industry and frugality are not enough. The two traits ought to be propped up by competence for maximum effectiveness. This is evident in Franklin’s high level of skill in various capacities as a press operator, compositor, and supervisor.

He asserted that his competence was instrumental in his quick rise to the acquiring of his own printing house. The exemplary exhibition of this high skill later brought in gainful jobs and boosts demand for his services. Franklin’s competence as a writer also added to his rise to affluence and reputation by ascertaining the recognition of his newspaper and almanac (Masur 16).

Traits that Franklin identifies as leading to success and prosperity

In order to be successful, Franklin, in his autobiography offered readers with a number of traits that they ought to possess. One of these is silence. He held that a talkative person might end up benefiting others or oneself. As such, although it is important to remain silent, at times, talking is not altogether bad because it is not possible to determine when it will be valuable to him or her.

Another trait that Franklin identifies as important in order to success is frugality. He believed that frugality enables expense for doing well to others or oneself. Therefore, for one to be successful, it is important to minimize expenses. However, this does not imply that one should not spend even when doing well to others or oneself (Masur 21).

In addition, Franklin identified sincerity as essential in being successful. Nevertheless, he added that this should not be confused with hurtful deceit, which is condemned by this virtue. Franklin also believed that one has to be just in order to succeed. This virtue entails avoiding injuries to others or omitting the gains that are one’s duty. Franklin advocates also advocates for industry as a trait necessary for one to be successful.

This virtue emphasizes the vitality of working hard at a useful endeavor. In addition, moderation is also highlighted as crucial as it stresses the value of cooperation even in hostile conditions. Franklin added that it is not worthy using moral righteousness as a scapegoat for aggression (Masur 25).

In conclusion, although Franklin may have devoted much of his life in amassing wealth, it is also clear that his multifaceted life did not revolve around acquiring wealth alone. It was also dedicated to gaining community reputation and status. This is clearly evidenced in the way he enjoyed contrasting the depiction of his initial runaway predisposition as a runaway boy with the famous man he later became (Masur 29). As such, Franklin tends to suggest that for one to achieve complete success; his or her good traits must be visible to others.

Works Cited

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Arc Manor LLC, 2008. Print.

Masur, Louis. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, with related documents, 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford, 2003. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, January 18). The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-autobiography-of-benjamin-franklin/

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IvyPanda. "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." January 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-autobiography-of-benjamin-franklin/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." January 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-autobiography-of-benjamin-franklin/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin'. 18 January.

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