Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin FranklinHe was never a president of the United States, nor did he lead any army in a battle. He had no talent in public speaking, preferring to write out his thoughts on paper and for them to be read aloud by others. Yet in his day he was certainly one of the most well known celebrities, beloved in both the United States and through most of Europe. He is Benjamin Franklin, and he has become a symbol of American civilization.Benjamin Franklin was the youngest of ten sons of a Boston soap and candle maker, had little formal schooling, and was trained in adolescence as a printer’s apprentice. Ben’s father, “intending to devote Ben as the tenth of his sons to the service of the church” put Ben into grammar school at the age of eight (Franklin (book) -335). With his parents intending for him to have a career in the church it was a sure shock that Franklin became a Deist, a religion based on reason and logic, rather than revelation or tradition. As a teenager, Franklin was given some books against Deism, and it just so happened that they wrought an effect on him that was quite contrary to what was intended by them. He realized that the arguments of the Deists appeared to be much stronger than the refutations, and soon after became a thorough Deist. He attacked Christian principles of free will and morality in a 1725 pamphlet, A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.Franklin was then apprenticed to his half brother James, a printer and publisher of the New England Courant. Unbeknownst to his brother young Ben was secretly contributing letters to the publication under the name of “Silence Dogood.” In total, he published thirteen essays under that pseudonym which were widely read and praised for their satire. In 1723, after much disagreement with his brother he left and went to work in Philadelphia as a printer. After a sojourn in London from 1724-1726, he returned and in 1729 acquired an interest in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Soon after in the year 1730, Franklin became the owner and editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette and made the periodical popular. His common sense philosophy and his neatly worded phrases won public attention in things such as: the Gazette, later in the General Magazine, and especially in his Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he published from 1732 to 1757 under the pen name Richard Saunders.

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