The amazing life of Benjamin Franklin touched on many facets of early America, from his numerous inventions to his many writings to his role as a diplomat and as one of the nationÆs founders. This paper will summarize the life of Benjamin Franklin, and analyze whether there was anything ôtypically Americanö about his career and philosophy.
Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Josiah Franklin, had emigrated from England in 1683, where he had been a dyer of textiles. In colonial America, however, there was little need for his skill, so Josiah had become a candlemaker (Franklin, 1961, p. 23).
Josiah had high hopes for Benjamin, his 15th child (out of 17) and youngest son. Benjamin proved precocious, quickly learning to read and write. At age 8, his father enrolled him in grammar school with the expressed hope of Benjamin becoming a minister. Benjamin rapidly progressed, but lasted less than a year. His father saw no future in schooling since he could never afford to pay for college (Franklin, p. 22).
Beginning at age 10, Benjamin apprenticed with his father for two years. He longed to go to the sea, but Josiah was dead set against it, having lost one son that way. BenjaminÆs love of books (he spent all his time and money on that passion) prompted Josiah to apprentice Benjamin to James, JosiahÆs elder son and a printer (Franklin p. 26-27).
Benjamin immersed himself in the printing business-and in books-for five years. During that time his brother started a newspaper (the New England Courant), which Benjamin printed at one point while his brother was in jail for offending the government. Benjamin left his brotherÆs hire in 1723 because of JamesÆ harsh treatment. James responded by telling all of the other printers in Boston not to hire Benjamin, forcing him to leave Boston at age 17 (Franklin, p. 27-35).
Benjamin traveled extensively in the colonies an...