Autobiography of Ben Franklin

Essay by sdubuque43College, UndergraduateA, December 2006

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I agree that Benjamin Franklin's autobiography does indeed provide us with an insight into the evolution of the American way of thinking. For one, Franklin dismissed the belief that life should be wholly mandated by religious absolutes and instead turned his focus to obtaining knowledge with a practical approach, an American notion that has since become commonplace. Secondly, Franklins actions, or the way he handled certain situations throughout his political career during this tumultuous Revolutionary epoch, reveals in Franklin an understanding of the close relationship between the colonies, and how crucial this relationship would be when a young America would have to rise up as its own nation against the British. Correspondingly, this autobiography shows, as the stage was gradually being set for the American Revolution, an increasing disenchantment with the British - not only within Franklin, but among everyone living in the colonies.

Franklin had a very persistent, practical approach to knowledge.

In one instance, a ten-year-old Franklin, after being withdrawn from school resulting from a lack of finances, was to reside at home with his family. Employed by his father Josiah, a young Ben Franklin would cut candle wick and perform other various tasks to help the family business. Ultimately, Franklin disliked this trade. He did, however, show a strong interest for the sea, which, located very near to his house, provided him with an opportunity to learn how to swim well, manage boats, and develop leadership skills among his friends.

Franklin and his friends enjoyed fishing for minnows in a nearby salt-marsh, but, after trampling the ground thoroughly, they had taxed the soil. Franklin, with his practicality in full swing, proposed to " a wharf there fit for us to stand upon...which would very well suit our purpose (p6)". To build this wharf, however, would require them...