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Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin

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  1. Benjamin Franklin Impact on American History

  2. California State Standards 3.4 Students understand the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of the U.S. government. 1. Describe the lives of American heroes who took risks to secure our freedoms (e.g., Anne Hutchinson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr.). 5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era. 5.5 Students explain the causes of the American Revolution. • Describe the views, lives, and impact of key individuals during this period (e.g., King George III, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams).

  3. Founding Father • Writer • Printer • Politician • Scientist • Inventor • Statesman • Diplomat

  4. The Paradox of Franklin Owned slaves Railed against Germans in PA Not a feminist Supported the military Rejected Christianity Socialistic views Fathered an illegitimate child Held Americans in low regard

  5. The Man of Many Faces • The Oldest of the Founders • Washington, 26 years younger • John Adams, 29 years younger • Jefferson, 37 years younger • Madison and Hamilton, nearly 50 years younger

  6. The Man of Many Faces Prior to the Revolution, Franklin was already world famous: Member of the prestigious Royal Society Honorary degrees from St. Andrews and Oxford A world leader in science and philosophy

  7. The Man of Many Voices • Pseudonyms: • Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue, Cecilia Shortface, Polly Baker, Busy Body, Obadiah Plainman, Anthony Afterwit, Richard Saunders, Poor Richard, An American, A New-England Man, A Briton, A London Manufacturer • While in London, used 42 different signatures

  8. Apprenticeship and Printer Hierarchical New England Two years of formal education Candle and soap maker Apprenticed to his brother James, printer 1721, New England Courant, James’ newspaper In 1722, at 16, Franklin secretly submitted satires, signed by Silence Dogood

  9. Leaving Boston • James’ paper was shut down • Franklin found apprenticeship intolerable • Franklin had become • “a little obnoxious to the governing Party” He was viewed as an “Infidel or Atheist” In 1723, left Boston for Philadelphia

  10. Young Franklin and Social Mobility • Patronage was the accepted way of achieving upward social mobility • Not uncommon for men of humble birth to rise to prominence • Franklin’s talents were soon recognized by the governors of PA and NY • Even Cotton Mather expressed an interest

  11. The Great Social Divide • Gentlemen and Commoners • Gentlemen were born wealthy • Gentlemen did not work • Puritan hard work ethic were meant for commoners

  12. A Gentleman • By 18th century standards, Gentlemen did not labor or toil with their hands • They inherited wealth • Income was generated through rents, or interest on money • They were free to pursue interests or leisure • This is what Franklin aspired to…

  13. Changing Times • By the middle of the 18th century a new economic class was emerging • This group was neither born into wealth nor commoners • They were the known as “middling” men • Included: commercial farmers, artisans, merchants, traders, shopkeepers, etc • They were becoming wealthy and saw themselves as better then commoners

  14. Middling Men • Franklin epitomized this new man • Wealthy and Industrious • Interested in learning • Interested in giving back to society • Franklin organized local artisans who met to discuss common issues

  15. Freemasonry • Secret fraternity in England • Emphasized: Generosity, Goodwill, and Sociability Also, allowed artisans to mix easily with Gentlemen Perfect organization for Franklin

  16. Franklin’s Dilemma By the 1730s Franklin was: Successful Wealthy Civic Minded But not a Gentleman Feared being ridiculed as a …Molatto Gentleman…

  17. Franklin the Entrepreneur • Monopolized printing in Philadelphia • Franchised print shops from New England to Antigua • Was postmaster general • Rented houses • Owned paper mills • Creditor

  18. Retirement at 42 • By 1748 Franklin had acquired enough wealth to retire • Timing significant • Purchased several slaves • Moved to a quieter part of town • Franklin attributed his success to • Industry and Frugality

  19. Franklin the Gentleman Painted by Robert Feke

  20. Franklin’s Experiments • Time to read, write, and experiment… …with electricity Proved that lightning was electricity Published Experiments and Observations on Electricity in 1752 Made him an international figure

  21. Fame and Recognition • Degrees from Yale, Harvard, and William and Mary • Praised internationally for the invention of the lightning rod

  22. Franklin and the Kite

  23. Public Service • More important to Franklin than his scientific achievements • Member of Philadelphia City Council • Justice of the Peace • Member of the Pennsylvania Assembly

  24. A Citizen of the Empire • Albany Plan for Union • Return to England, 1757 • London, lived the next 15 of 17 years • Met with Britain’s preeminent figures in science, literature, the arts, etc. • Became a great supporter of the Empire • A Royalist

  25. Changing Fortunes • Franklin in London • Supported the Stamp Act • His enemies blamed Franklin for the Stamp Act • Franklin’s response to the Stamp Act: • “… a firm loyalty to the Crown… will always be the wisest Course for you and I to take…”

  26. Return to Philadelphia • In 1763 Franklin returned to Philadelphia • was instantly looked at as a colonial leader • inspected the colonies postal service -- helped quell the rioters from western PA • Returned to London in 1765, as an agent for pro loyalists forces who wanted PA to become a royal colony. Planning a short visit, he stayed another 10 years

  27. Parliament • House of Commons, Feb. 1766 • Argued against the Stamp Tax • Parliament repealed the Stamp Act • Parliament enacted the Declaratory Act

  28. The Crown vs. Parliament • Franklin viewed the king as a benign power for good • He saw Parliament as the problem for the empire/colonies • He believed only the King could rule the colonies and not Parliament

  29. Finally taking up the Cause • After repeated attempts to reconcile, Franklin changed his mind. • Franklin had come to realize the pejorative view many in England had. • Franklin humiliated by the King’s Privy Council. • March, 1775 sailed for America.

  30. Super Patriot • Upon returning, Franklin had to become a super patriot. • Member of Second Continental Congress. • Immediately embraced independence. • Some suspected Franklin’s motives. • …Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee • Son William, an embarrassment

  31. Franklin the “democrat” • Proposed radical Constitution for Pennsylvania Simple democracy and popular radicalism

  32. Franklin the Diplomat July 1776, Lord Howe wrote Franklin Franklin’s response was swift and strong After the defeat at Long Island, Howe, again sent out peace offerings. Franklin and John Adams met with Howe and rebuffed his call to return to conditions that existed in 1763

  33. France the Ally Foreign aid and involvement was essential Franklin lobbied to go to France In February 1778 France and the United States signed two treaties: commercial and military

  34. Diplomatic Success Against tremendous odds, Franklin solely responsible for the Franco-American alliance Franklin also participated in the peace negotiations with Great Britain

  35. A Stranger in his Nation By 1784 Franklin had spent 23 of the last 27 years abroad While he had countless admirers, he had made enemies as well When he was recalled by Congress, in 1785, Franklin thought he might be a …stranger in his own country…

  36. Returning Home On September 14, 1785 Franklin returned to Philadelphia Philadelphia had become the leading city in the new nation Soon Franklin was elected to the ruling executive council in Pennsylvania

  37. Franklin in 1785 Portrait by Charles Wilson Peale

  38. The Constitutional Convention Represented Pennsylvania Did not know most of the delegates Did not make any great speeches Seemed detached for most of the proceedings… and did not agree with much of the final draft…but signed it anyway

  39. Franklin and Slavery Franklin’s thoughts on African Americans evolved over time By the early 1780s Franklin had become a leading abolitionist In February 1790 Franklin petitioned the Congress to abolish slavery

  40. Franklin vs. Congress Franklin’s petition generated outrage in the Congress and nation Franklin was accused of upsetting the social order The petition was rejected as Congress decided it had no authority to interfere in the affairs of the states

  41. Franklin’s Death Religious views kept private Child of the Enlightenment Believed in one God, Creator of the Universe Doubted Christ’s divinity But recognized Christ’s significance Died April 17, 1790

  42. Reaction to Franklin’s Passing France reacted more then America Eulogized many times over In America things were different While the House adopted a tribute, the Senate did not John Adams, VP, and others were jealous of Franklin Others linked Franklin to the French Revolution

  43. Franklin’s: Legacy In the 1790s many of Franklin’s writings/ autobiography were published While reviled by the Federalists, many Republicans embraced Franklin The new rising “middling” class of artisans saw Franklin as their hero This group now saw themselves as worthy to aspire to higher stations

  44. Franklin’s “Way to Wealth” Published in 1758 Franklin published his influential work as an essay. Franklin used adages and advice that he had dispensed in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Franklin Way to Wealth was and continues to be very influential

  45. Franklin’s Way to Wealth, quotes • "There are no gains, without pains" • "One today is worth two tomorrows" • "Time is money" • "A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things" • "Get what you can, and what you get hold" • "Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright" • "Have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today" • "The eye of a master will do more work than both his hands" • "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"

  46. Celebration of Labor Work and virtue became synonymous Parson Weems praised Washington as a man of industry and later wrote about Franklin Hard work was now viewed as admirable Men of low birth were encouraged to work their way to success…..just like Franklin

  47. Franklin as an Inspiration James Harper, publisher, mayor of New York City Thomas Mellon, founder of Mellon Bank

  48. Pat Lyon at the ForgeJohn Neagle, 1829

  49. Changing times, changing attitudes

  50. Lasting Legacy Important concepts that have defined Americans: • Self made man • Enterprise and opportunity • Innovation • Industry • Work for a living