Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter IsaacsonBenjamin Franklin is the Founding Father who winks at us. An ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings, he seems made of flesh rather than of marble. In bestselling author Walter Isaacsons vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin seems to turn to us from historys stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. By bringing Franklin to life, Isaacson shows how he helped to define both his own time and ours.
He was, during his 84-year life, Americas best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical—though not most profound—political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite that lightning was electricity, and he invented a rod to tame it. He sought practical ways to make stoves less smoky and commonwealths less corrupt. He organized neighborhood constabularies and international alliances, local lending libraries and national legislatures. He combined two types of lenses to create bifocals and two concepts of representation to foster the nations federal compromise. He was the only man who shaped all the founding documents of America: the Albany Plan of Union, the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with France, the peace treaty with England, and the Constitution. And he helped invent Americas unique style of homespun humor, democratic values, and philosophical pragmatism.
But the most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. Americas first great publicist, he was, in his life and in his writings, consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity.
Through it all, he trusted the hearts and minds of his fellow leather-aprons more than he did those of any inbred elite. He saw middle-class values as a source of social strength, not as something to be derided. His guiding principle was a dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklins amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklins tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
So Why Is Franklin Famous?
One of the leading figures of early American history, Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, author, publisher, scientist, inventor and diplomat. Born into a Boston family of modest means, Franklin had little formal education. He went on to start a successful printing business in Philadelphia and grew wealthy. Franklin was deeply active in public affairs in his adopted city, where he helped launch a lending library, hospital and college, and garnered acclaim for his experiments with electricity, among other projects. He also negotiated the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War In , in his final significant act of public service, he was a delegate to the convention that produced the U.
Behind the benevolent smile lurked the master of intrigue, skillfully maneuvering the vacillating courts of Europe. So too was our want of guns, supplies, and everything needed in a war against one of the major powers of the earth. Above all we needed an ally. And so the man who believed that there never was a good war or a bad peace, old Dr. Miss Augur, one of many writers who have honored the great old man on his th anniversary this year, is the author of several other books, including Tall Ships to Cathay and biographies of Anne Hutchinson and John Ledyard. Late in October, , Benjamin Franklin sailed for France to direct the foreign sector of the extraordinary war into which his young country had been plunged. It was an entirely new sort of war because the United States was a new sort of country, whose survival depended less on land fighting than on a complex of factors in which Franklin was deeply involved.
Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher , politician, Freemason , postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.
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Founding Father Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues of health and wellness
One of the foremost of the Founding Fathers , Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, represented the United States in France during the American Revolution , and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He made important contributions to science , especially in the understanding of electricity , and is remembered for the wit, wisdom, and elegance of his writing. - Although Benjamin Franklin was not a soldier, his diplomacy secured French support during the Revolutionary War.
Franklin is appointed Agent for Georgia. Strahan's Queries. During the year , Dr. Franklin was on the point of returning to America. In the present agitated condition of public affairs with respect to the colonies, he despaired of drawing the attention of the British rulers to the principal purpose of his mission, a change of government in Pennsylvania, although the Assembly had renewed their application every year with increased urgency, and the last time by a vote of every member except one. His private concerns, he said, required his presence at home, and the general business of the province could be transacted by his associate, Mr.
A portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Photo: Getty Images. Benjamin Franklin was a lover of knowledge; after all, he was the quintessential Renaissance man. He gave us the lightening rod, the Franklin stove, bifocals, and Poor Richard's Almanack. He was also an indispensable politician and civic activist who not only helped lay the groundwork for the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution but was also the country's first ambassador to France. As a teenager, he made advances towards his good friend's mistress yes, that was the end of their friendship , and let's not forget in his early 20s, he fathered an illegitimate child whom his wife, Rebecca, would eventually help raise. Franklin's libido was apparently so strong, he himself was scared of it.