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Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin Impact on American History * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Diplomatic Success Against tremendous ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
  • Impact on American History

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
  • 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).

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

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

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

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

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
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

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

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
  • Franklins talents were soon recognized by the
    governors of PA and NY
  • Even Cotton Mather expressed an interest

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

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

Changing Times
  • By the middle of the 18th century a new economic
    class was emerging
  • This group was neither born into wealth nor
  • 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

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

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

Franklins Dilemma
  • By the 1730s Franklin was
  • Successful
  • Wealthy
  • Civic Minded
  • But not a Gentleman
  • Feared being ridiculed as a
  • Molatto Gentleman

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

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

Franklin the Gentleman
  • Painted by Robert Feke

Franklins 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

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

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

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

Changing Fortunes
  • Franklin in London
  • Supported the Stamp Act
  • His enemies blamed Franklin for the Stamp Act
  • Franklins response to the Stamp Act
  • a firm loyalty to the Crown will always be
    the wisest Course for you and I to take

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

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

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

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 Kings Privy Council.
  • March, 1775 sailed for America.

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

Franklin the democrat
  • Proposed radical Constitution for
  • Pennsylvania
  • Simple democracy and popular radicalism

Franklin the Diplomat
  • July 1776, Lord Howe wrote Franklin
  • Franklins 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

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

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

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

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

Franklin in 1785
  • Portrait by Charles Wilson Peale

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 draftbut
    signed it anyway

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

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

Franklins Death
  • Religious views kept private
  • Child of the Enlightenment
  • Believed in one God, Creator of the Universe
  • Doubted Christs divinity
  • But recognized Christs
  • significance
  • Died April 17, 1790

Reaction to Franklins Passing
  • France reacted more then America
  • Eulogized many times over
  • In America things were different
  • While the House adopted a tribute, the Senate did
  • John Adams, VP, and others were jealous of
  • Others linked Franklin to the French Revolution

Franklins Legacy
  • In the 1790s many of Franklins 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

Franklins 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 Richards Almanac.
  • Franklin Way to Wealth was and continues to be
    very influential

Franklins 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
  • "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"

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

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

Pat Lyon at the Forge John Neagle, 1829
Changing times, changing attitudes
Lasting Legacy
  • Important concepts that have defined Americans
  • Self made man
  • Enterprise and opportunity
  • Innovation
  • Industry
  • Work for a living

And in the End
  • Franklin was the second most important figure in
    the Revolution
  • In the early years of the Republic, Franklin
    personified the American Dream

  • The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin,
  • Gordon S. Wood
  • Benjamin Franklin, Edmund S. Morgan
  • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin,
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Way to Wealth, Benjamin Franklin