Most everyone has heard of Benjamin Franklin.... He did some sort of experiment with a kite, right? is most people's knowledge of the man.
Oh yeah, and he attended the Constitutional Convention.
But there is so much more to this man!
Benjamin Franlin was born to Josiah and Abiah Franklin in 1706 in Boston. He was somewhere in the middle of 17 children (some were by Josiah's first wife who died).
Though Josiah Franklin was just a candlemaker (who didn't make much money), people would come from all over Boston to consult him on different issues. They were invited to stay for dinner and there was always some sort of intelligent debate going on at the table, which the children were encouraged to take part in.
Little Ben Franklin delighted in these debates so much that he didn't even notice how little their was on his plate!
When he was 10 or so years old Benjamin was sent to school to become a clergy but with 16 other children to provide for, Josiah Franklin had to pull Benjamin out.
Benjamin Franklin had always loved swimming and the water and wished to runaway to sea to become a sailor. To prevent this, Josiah Franlin apprenced 12 year old Ben to his older brother James who ran a printing press.
Benjamin soon learned the trade and became a very skilled printer.
He and James argued about the business and when Benjamin was 17 he ran away to Philiadelphia to get work there.
Ben was employed at one of the local printing shops and because he was such a hard worker and didn't drink like the majority of other workers, he soon caught the eye of the govenor.
The govenor offers Ben the chance to go to England to get a printing press of his own so he can start his own printing busines. So after a few months of being away from home, Ben goes back and everybody is glad to see him. His father, however, tells his that he is too young and inexperienced to start his own printing business. So Ben goes back to Philiadelphia to continue working for his boss.
The govenor keeps talking to him and eventually Ben decides to go to England. The govenor was going to write him letters of recomendation but when Ben's boat finally reached England, no letters were to be found and another passenger told Ben that the govenor was all talk and no busines.
So now Ben Franklin was stuck in London England. Without much ado he found work in a printing shop in England and stayed there for 18 months.
Ben Franklin had every intention of sailing back to Philiadelphia to continue printing, however another oppertunity arose.
The same passenger who told Ben of the governor's character offered to start a store with Ben. Ben readily agreed and the two carried on in business for a few years until the man died. Then Ben went back to the printing office where his old boss had hired many new hands - of which, none knew how to run a press! So Ben tidied up the office and taught the others the trade of printing.
Ben and one of the men he had trained decided to buy a printing press and building together and start up the third printing press in Philiadelphia.
They borrowed the money from the other man's father and soon became the most popular press in Philiadelphia - especially when they started printing their own newspaper.
Eventually the other man left and Ben payed off the debts of the printing house.
After working in the printing business for some time and amasing great sums of money, he let one of his apprentices take over the trade.
Ben, meanwhile, was working on his electricity experiments and was an active member of his self-formed club the Junto (they were kind of like the Inklings... they wrote philisophical papers and discussed current events with another) and in the Assembly (which was kind of like Congress - only this was before the Revoultionary War and before the Constitution).
Benjamin Franklin was so successful that everyone came to consult him on everything. Hardly anything would be approved by the people if Benjamin Franklin didn't first approve it!
He started the first subscription library, a firehouse, and he aided in starting the hospital and university in Philiadelphia.
Around this time (1755) the French and Indian war started. Benjamin Franklin did a lot to muster the troops in the colonies because he didn't think the British were very capable - especially after the defeat of General Braddock! Benjamin Franklin even led an army for awhile - they built three forts to defend themselves before Franklin was called back to the Assembly.
In 1757 Franklin was sent to England to talk to the government over there about taxation in the colonies.
Then the biography ends because Benjamin Franklin died. The year was 1790. He accomplished many many many things in his life. One thing that stood out throughout the whole book was Franklin's sense of morality. He wanted to achieve perfection - or as close to it as he could get. That is why he created his 13 virtues. He would work on one virtue a week for 13 weeks and by the end of the 13 weeks, his faults would be a little less than they were before. Franklin never drank like the other men of the town and would only support causes that he thought were right.
The only downfall to his life was that he wasn't religious. He seldom went to church and though he believed that God created the world and that we will all be judged eventually, he didn't outright say that he believed Jesus died to save him from his sins.
I read Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin for my literature class and I'm so glad I did! I thought that it was a wonderful read, despite the older english. It wasn't dry (at least I thought so - others might) and Ben Franklin has a very entertaining writing style! I found him quite funny.
Overall, I give this book an 8/10 rating.
Live long and prosper!