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The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin

Franklin returned to writing his autobiography from 1788 to 1789, following his return from France in 1785 and his participation in the Constitutional Convention (May 25-September 17, 1787). Now in his eighties, Franklin in Part Three reflects on his life from 1730 through the late 1750s and highlights his involvement in politics, science, and publishing. At this time, Franklin also began to revise the already completed parts of The Autobiography manuscript.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

An Autobiography... was written apparently to apprise his son about the events of his life and also meant to be a treatise that would lead to the self betterment of the younger generation. As a book, it is a difficult and complex read. The tone is often meandering, arrogant and condescending in turn and does not have a consistent feel. Written over an extended time period, there are large gaps in sequence and often the author contradicts his own recounting of events. In fact, it ends abruptly, without a shred of information about Franklin's seminal role in the American Revolution. Yet, two centuries after its debut, it remains widely read and acclaimed, valued for its being almost the first autobiography to have been written in English. Its extensive advice on how to go about achieving a list of virtues is probably the first ever self-help book.

Written between 1771 and 1790, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the name given to the unfinished autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential founding fathers of the United States of America. Remaining unpublished during his lifetime, the first edition in 1791 was in French and was based on a flawed transcript. Franklin's grandson then published the book in English in 1818, but had not only missed out a part, but also made revisions to his grandfather's work. Finally, in 1868, John Bigelow bought the original manuscript and published the first accurate version, which is what this edition is based on. Over the course of his life, apart from being a politician, Franklin was also a printer, scientist, and an inventor. His autobiography charts his rise from humble beginnings in Boston to the self-made man he eventually became.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a blueprint for the prototypical American, chronicling Benjamin Franklin's life as a printer, diplomat, statesman, patriot, scientist, inventor, and writer. Published posthumously in various forms over several years, first in French and then in English, Franklin's autobiography is a literary achievement worthy of the epic U.S. founding father. Franklin originally intended the document of his life and works to be for the sole use and enjoyment of his son, William. The first part, written in 1771, addresses his eldest child, but parts 2-4, written in 1784, 1788, and 1790, reflect its subject's hope that the book would find a wider audience, for the benefit of mankind. Franklin writes,

Once his financial standing was secure, Franklin began to indulge in his passion for scientific inquiry. He investigated the phenomena of electricity and invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, and the flexible urinary catheter, among other things. He held many public offices, was awarded honorary degrees by both Harvard and Yale universities, and was selected to serve on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. In 1776, Franklin was sent to Paris, France, where he served as America's first ambassador. He lived outside of Paris, in a town called Passy, for nine years and became one of its most beloved residents. He returned to America in 1785 and became president of the abolitionist society in 1787. Franklin died at the age of 84 on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia and was buried beside his wife, Deborah. An estimated 20,000 mourners attended his funeral on April 21, 1790. His autobiography was published nearly a century later, in 1886.

According to Franklin, he rose to economic success through various strategies. One of the key tactics that Franklin used to become affluent and reputable was through industry and frugality. In deed, Franklin devotes a large portion of his autobiography to show how his eagerness to work hand and reduce expenses in order to achieve financial security helped him climb the economic ladder. Franklin also became successful economically because he underscored the viability of long term planning.

In order to be successful, Franklin, in his autobiography offered readers with a number of traits that they ought to possess. One of these is silence. He held that a talkative person might end up benefiting others or oneself. As such, although it is important to remain silent, at times, talking is not altogether bad because it is not possible to determine when it will be valuable to him or her.

In this half of the autobiography, Franklin speaks about the list of virtues that he focuses on daily. Although he believes in God, he does not go to church and decides to pray by himself. He does not believe he is learning moral virtue through the preachers on a Sunday. Instead, he developed a list of virtues based on limiting harm to others. He believed that the best way to serve God was to do good to man. He stated that actions are not immoral because religions forbid them, but those religions forbid them because the actions themselves are hurtful. He hoped to eventually publish these virtues under the title the Art of Virtue, but this never happens.

He was also willing to accept novel ideas during the time, as long as they had the weight of evidence. For example, in his autobiography, he advised everyone with children to have them vaccinated. This is due to one of his sons dying of smallpox at the age of four. This would have been a controversial opinion at the time.

The use of the word the at the beginning of the title The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin suggests that this is the one authoritative account of Franklin's life because the subject is also the author. Originally, Franklin referred to the text as Memoirs because the term autobiography was not yet in use. The first part of the text, originally published in French, was titled The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, suggesting a posthumous intimacy with the subject.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Although it had a tortuous publication history after Franklin's death, this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of an autobiography ever written. Franklin's account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them. There are actual breaks in the narrative between the first three parts, but Part Three's narrative continues into Part Four without an authorial break. 041b061a72


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