Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ben Franklin Autobiography

These sections of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography were interesting to read. In the first four paragraphs of chapter one Franklin begins his work by addressing his son, and explaining why he believes he should put the major events of his own life into writing. In the last four paragraphs of the chapter Franklin tells the story of how he first arrived in Philadelphia. In the beginning of chapter two he describes the events of his first few days in the city. It is also in the beginning of chapter two that Franklin describes his first job in Keimer’s printing house. Finally our last section, chapter six, begins with two letters addressed to Franklin, both pleading with him to continue to work on his autobiography. Each of the men who wrote the letters agree that Franklin’s work would be very beneficial to the youth of America. After these letters Franklin goes on to write about his own ideas on reputation, the church, religion, and virtues.
  As I read these parts of Franklin’s autobiography I found I enjoyed reading the sections in the first few chapters much more than the sixth chapter. Franklin seems much more genuine and humble in the beginning. The first chapters were more entertaining to me, and I think these chapters related more to the portions we read of The Sot-Weed Factor. The first chapters showed what life was like in America during this time. I found it fascinating to try to visualize the events in my head as Franklin rowed the boat to Philadelphia, walked around the city in dirty clothes trying to buy bread, or visited the first print shop he would work in. The sixth chapter went into much further detail about Franklin’s virtues, and beliefs. While still interesting, this chapter was much more dry than the earlier chapters. Rather than explaining what physical life was like in early America, this section seemed to portray the philosophical beliefs of one of our founding fathers. 


  1. Nicely done. What did you learn about Franklin's philosophical beliefs? What does this tell you about what our founding fathers had in mind for America? Is it any different than you would expect?

  2. Franklin really seemed to value moral virtues such as temperance, moderation, justice, etc., and emphasized how those virtues could make people better citizens. I think this shows his concern for a newly developing nation. He did not place much stock in the christian church, or any form of organized religion for that matter. Though this is odd for a man of his time, this fact did not surprise me. I had learned from prior classes that Franklin was considered to be a deist.