Short Paper

Essay by msmill15College, UndergraduateB-, October 2014

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Matt Miller

History 102

Second short paper


Ben Franklin

I chose a thought from Benjamin Franklin involving religion, and the importance of god to him.

"And now I speak of thanking god, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I attribute the mentioned happiness of my past life to his divine providence, which led me to the means I used and gave the success (Franklin, The Autobiography, page)."

The words I looked up are "Humility," "Divine" and "Providence." These words are unfamiliar to my everyday vocabulary. I want to find out how they were used in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Humility (noun) - The quality of being humble or having a lowly opinion of oneself; meekness, lowliness, humbleness: the opposite of pride or haughtiness. (Oxford English Dictionary,

1757 a dissatisfaction with ourselves on account of some defect or infirmity (D. Hume Passions in Ess.).

1809 All the tricksy humilities of the ambitious candidates for the favorable suffrages of the judicious Public (S. T. Coleridge Friend)

Divine (adj) Of or pertaining to God or a god. (Oxford English Dictionary,

1711 To Err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine (Pope Ess. Crit).

1878 Divine acts are not less Divine because they do not happen to be recorded in the Canonical Scriptures (R. W. Dale Lect. Preaching ).

Providence (noun) Foresight; anticipation of and preparation for the future; prudent management, government, or guidance. Also: an instance of this (Oxford English Dictionary,

1702 This is not to exclude that providence of tracing premisses into consequences and causes into their effects (Eng. Theophrastus).

1867 The creature who bears His image is intended to exercise providence (F. D. Maurice Patriarchs & Law-givers).

My paraphrasing of the of his quote if I were to...