Benjamin Franklin

Early Life

Benjamin Franklin was born on the 17th of January in 1706 in the town of Boston, Massachusetts, the United States. He was a great publisher, an astute politician, and a recognized statesman. Josiah Franklin, a soap maker businessman, was English by birth, while his mother, Abiah Folger, belonged to a literary family. Benjamin spent the major part of his childhood time in Boston along the Charles River with his other siblings James and Jane, playing in natural settings.

Education and Early Experiences

Strangely enough, Benjamin Franklin, the key figurehead of American history had little or no formal education. First, he attended Boston Latin School for only two years but left without completing his degree. At 10, he started helping his father in his business finding no purpose in education. Later, in 1718, he joined his brother, James, who taught him the printing trade. Soon he was master in printing and laid the foundation of his independent newspaper, The New-England Courant. Right from the early years, he acted on free will and was an advocate of free speech. Therefore, his newspaper came in handy to him to reflect his ideas about free will and freedom in the material he published. Though Benjamin received a less formal education, his services for his nation and the world are praiseworthy. His self-study and thrust for knowledge not only made him a skilled writer but also earned him honorary degrees from the University of Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Personal Life and Death

Benjamin Franklin established his career as a printer and publisher. He married Deborah Read on the 1st of September in 1730. Soon after the marriage, the couple had a son, Francis Folger Franklin in 1732 who could not survive. Later, they had two more children; Sarah Franklin Bache and William Franklin. After leading a prosperous life, he died at the age of eighty-four on the 7th of April in 1790.

Some Important Facts of His Life

  1. Benjamin Franklin is adored for his work, Poor Richard’s Almanac, and for arranging the first successful lending library.
  2. He designed a musical instrument “glass armonica” in 1761, while great composers like Mozart and Beethoven composed music for it.
  3. With an intention to have a more natural order, he developed his own phonetic alphabets in 1786.
  4. He stood as the only founding father who signed all the four documents the United States used to liberate itself from Britain’s clutches.
  5. He wrote his epitaph when he was just 22.
  6. In 1976, the US congress dedicated a marble statue of Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute.

His Career

Benjamin Franklin, a great inventor, and the ambassador were extremely multi-talented, having achieved great things during his lifetime. With little education, he started his career as a writer. As an apprentice to James, his brother, young Ben decided to write letters for his newspaper, but instead of encouraging him, his brother refused to publish his letters. As a last resort, he preferred to speak his heart under the fake name “Silence Dogood.” After knowing the true identity of Silence Dogood, James became inimical toward him. This unjustified hatred resulted in Benjamin’s escape; he fled to Boston and later to Philadelphia, where he worked with another printer.

So, he published his first pamphlet “A Dissertation upon Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain,” which discussed human flaws. Later, in 1729, he came up with another publication “A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency,” which highlighted the fact of boosting the economy requiring an increase in the money supply. He also authored the famous Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732, besides his autobiography, which appeared after his demise. Besides writing witty literary pieces, his scientific pursuits included investigations into mapmaking, mathematics, and electricity.

His Style

Benjamin Franklin’s realistic writing style followed a plain, clear, and self-deprecating tone. Most of his works provide insight into the human psyche and nature. He burned the midnight oil on writing those pieces which they reflect in the shape of a perfect blend of humor and wit. A perfect example of the combination of wit and humor can be traced in his most celebrated work, Poor Richard’s Almanack. Almost all of Benjamin’s publications demonstrate his careful use of literary devices such as extended metaphors, irony, aphorisms, and proverbs. The use of simpler words and engaging language, nonetheless, compels the readers to appreciate his intellectual rigor. Also, the use of compact sentence structure, pictorial description, and strong vocabulary make his writings a treat for the readers.

Benjamin Franklin’s Impact on Future Literature

Benjamin Franklin, an iconic figure spent most of his life caught between different worlds, yet he left a considerable legacy. During his lifetime, he was counted as one of the prominent and respected figures of the West. As a writer, he used his pen to change the world. As a public servant, his diplomatic efforts and his hands in producing the Articles of Confederation led his country to win independence and unity. His political career, literary pursuit, and deep public involvement won him great respect as a lucid and eloquent American writer.

Important Quotes

  1. The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often pointed to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: – the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. (The Morals of Chess”)
  2. Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech. (The New England Courant)
  3. “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” (Poor Richard’s Almanac)