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The Autobiography and Other Writingsby Benjamin Franklin
Synopses & Reviews
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin was a true Renaissance man: writer, publisher, scientist, inventor, diplomat, and politician. During his long life, he offered advice on attaining wealth, organized public institutions, contributed to the birth of a nation, and negotiated with foreign powers to ensure his countrys survival.
Through the words of the elder statesman himself, The Autobiography and Other Writings presents a remarkable insight into the man and his accomplishments. Additional writings from Benjamin Franklins wife and son provide a more intimate portrait of the husband and father who became a legend in his own time.
Edited by L. Jesse Lemich
With a New Introduction by Walter Isaacson
and an Afterword by Carla Mulford
300th Anniversary edition
A Founding Father of the U.S., Franklin was a true Renaissance man: writer, publisher, scientist, inventor, and diplomat. During his life, he offered advice on attaining wealth, organized public institutions, and negotiated with foreign powers to ensure his country's survival. Collected here are some of his greatest and most timeless writings.
Discover Benjamin Franklin-scientist, inventor, writer, and politician-through the words of the elder statesman himself and the perceptions of his friends and family.
With writings from Franklin's wife and son-as well as his own essays and letters-this remarkable book paints an intimate, revealing portrait of a truly extraordinary man.
About the Author
Benjamin Franklin, statesman, philosopher, and man of letters, was born in Boston in 1706 of Protestant parents. He entered Boston Grammar School when he was eight and later attended George Brown Ell’s school. When he was twelve his father apprenticed him to his half-brother James as a printer. James was later the publisher of the New England Courant, where Franklin’s first articles, The Dogood Papers, were published before he was seventeen. He went to Philadelphia in 1723 and pursued his trade of printer. He was befriended by William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, who offered to help the young man get started in business. Franklin left for England, where he hoped to arrange for the purchase of printing equipment. Arriving in London in 1724, he was soon deserted by Keith, and again turned to printing for a livelihood. His privately printed Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) introduced him to leading Deists and other intellectuals in London. A year later, he returned to Philadelphia, and by 1730 he had been appointed public printer for Pennsylvania. In 1731 he established the first circulation library in the United States; in 1743-44, The American Philosophical Society. In 1748 he retired from the trade of printer but continued to advise and back his partner and to draw profit from the business. Poor Richard’s Almanack was his most spectacular success as a publisher, having gone through numerous editions and been translated in many languages. During the next thirty-five years he devoted himself largely to politics and diplomacy, but still wrote and engaged in scientific ventures. He resigned as Minister to France in 1785, returned to America, and was elected President of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Still concerned with the rights of the individual, he published papers encouraging the abolition of slavery. He died in Philadelphia in 1790.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
PART TWO: SELECTED WRITINGS
I. The Way to Wealth
Plan for Future Conduct / Advice to a Young Girl / The Art of Conversation / Advice to a Young Tradesman / "The Way to Wealth"
II. Essays to Do Good
Standing Queries for the Junto / "A Short Account of the Library" / Fire-Fighting / The American Philosophical Society / The Pennsylvania Academy
III. The New Prometheus, I: Franklin the Scientist
The Young Naturalist / The Meteorologist / Experimenter in Electricity / Franklin's Kite / The Lightning Rod / Humane Slaughtering / The Franklin Stove / The First American Catheter / The Glass Harmonica / Youthful Inventor / Bifocals / The Long Arm
IV. The New Prometheus, II: Franklin and the Revolution
The Stamp Act / After Repeal / The Weapon of Satire / A Counsel of Moderation / America in Arms / The French Alliance / Busy Days / "Let Us Now Forgive and Forget" / "Sketch of the Services of B. Franklin to the United States of America"
V. The Family Man
Deborah Read / Franky Franklin's Death / Katy Ray / Franklin's London Family / Polly Stevenson / The Shipley Girls / Deborah's Last, Lonely Years / "A Thorough Courtier" / The Ladies of France / A Treaty of the Heart / Rejected Suitor / Home Again
VI. Something of His Religion
A Practical Theology / "A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain" / A Reconsideration of Freethinking / Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion / A Summary of Belief / "Here is My Creed"
Notes on the Sources
Afterword: Imagining Benjamin Franklin
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