One of the most famous biographies ever written is said to be made by Edmund Morgan, when he accounted that of Benjamin Franklin’s life. He did so by presenting a very special style in analyzing Franklin’s existence. He made it possible by not narrating an everyday account with the use of dates, but instead accounted for the overall legacy of Franklin’s life. After reading the book, it can be said that the book establishes a broad view of Franklin’s existence. Franklin has been discussed as universally well-known for three things: his discovery of electricity, his writings, and his participation in the American Revolution.
In this way, Morgan was able to present how Franklin has influenced the American, the government and the society as a whole. Born on January 17, 1706, young Franklin was presented by the author as a vigorous and curios one. It was also mentioned that his favorite past time was playing chess and singing songs. A further reading of the article shows that he also has his own belief in religion, which is “Sin is not harmful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is harmful. Nor is a duty beneficial because it is commanded, but it is commanded because it is beneficial.
” As an individual, though he believes that God is the creator, he does attend mass and does not read bible. Nevertheless, it was at this stage of his life where he started writing about the virtues he believed in. A decade later, Franklin’s curiosity was instigated, when his English friend sent him Leyden jars for static electricity storage. Immediately, he started his own experiments with electricity. Subsequently, he discovered that a metal rod with a sharp end can ignite a spark from a greater distance than that of a rounded one.
Based on the said findings, he proceeded on and proposed to conduct an experiment with a kite and a key to confirm that lightning is indeed electricity. His efforts proved him right, and his successful experiment discovering electricity made him famous. Among the study Franklin has made, includes that of the effect which ocean current has on travel and the pre germ theory. Morgan also touched the life of Franklin being a writer. According to Morgan, Franklin, though he left the field of printing earlier, he never left it totally.
This was possible because he continuously carried out his work secretly as a printer in the field of philosophy, alongside with the renowned Poor Richard’s Almanack. He also succeeded in circulating numerous satirical hoax discourses. One of the popular speeches he made talks about a woman who had five illegitimate children and ironically claims to be following God’s word to increase and multiply. Franklin’s prominent pieces of writing talks about the qualities which he said would lead one to moral perfection, which includes Temperance, Chastity, Cleanliness, and Humility.
It bears stressing that Franklin wrote these articles based from his own insights of good deeds against faith and not from religious dogma and sermons. The core of Franklin’s writings on religion imparts that a human being can be moral and god-fearing even without dogmatic presence of the church. As for Franklin’s participation in American Revolution, it can be gleaned from Morgan’s statement that the transition of America into an independent nation may not have been as easy were it not for Franklin’s efforts.
His international relations with the British government and the French before, during, and after the hostilities proved very useful to America in instituting and re-instituting alliances. In the book, Franklin was presented to be one who is so influential in defending a pre-Revolution Philadelphia from French privateers, evenly allowing the British to preserve their influence in America and the colonies to resist division. This was due to Franklin’s belief that the British government was unyielding, but necessitates several modifications.
All the complexities which were faced by Franklin in his life were discussed in the later part of the book. This occurred after he was sent to England in 1764 as a colonial agent, where he realized how complicated for someone from America to tackle these corrections, principally that of the colonists’ aspiration to elect their officials and to enjoy rights. On an ending note, Morgan went further when he made statement that depicted Adams as the most contentious colleague of Franklin during that time, and the reason for making living miserable for Franklin. BOOK REVIEW
A reading of the book reveals that it was written in a narrative form, which trails more chronological events in Franklin’s life. Morgan made this possible by utilizing several quotations and pictures from Franklin’s works in telling his account. These help the person who reads in appreciating the events and thoughts from Franklin’s viewpoint. In some way, it can be said that the book is the best speech ever written, which comprises of an all-encompassing prologue, followed by a comprehensive series of events that is supplemented with optimistic tales and motivating truth imparted by Franklin.
At this point of view, readers can say that Morgan’s writing technique is interwoven efficiently and wittily. Furthermore, he vividly sketches the outlines of Franklin’s growing outlook while unremarkably helping his readers grapple the details of his life in politics and the surfacing international condition during the American Revolution. From time to time, he even personally directed statements to the reader and alludes to what he himself is trying to understand about Franklin.
On a different note, it could also be said that the story is of an adventure type that take hold of readers with the anecdotes of Franklin’s participation in the political events of 18th-century America. Nevertheless, the author did not lose sight of the significance of the other facet of the man’s qualities and the opinion and actions of others toward him. This was the reason for the biography’s success since it engages readers’ attention in the grand live stage show of this intriguing man’s life.
One of the topics which were concentrated by Morgan in Franklin’s life, is his being diplomat. It was presented by the detailed account of Franklin’s vital role in the lengthy progression of calculations and miscalculations that pressed the loyal and dutiful British colonies into revolution and forged them into the United States of America. As written, Franklin, can be seen in every event, frequently behind the picture, but always exceptionally influential, a compelling catalyst for change, which has left an impact in the life of Americans and British government and society.
Importantly, in this book we can learn that Franklin is the sole man whose signature maybe found on all four of the important founding documents of the American republic which are the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution. As for the impact Franklin’s life and this book may have in the society and public policy, it is important to mention that even if he did not believe in bible writings and the of the existence of God, he seems to have lived in an otherwise moral existence and have not lost sight of the need for people to be living with such religious morality.
The most essential aspect of Franklin’s personality was his unselfish way of sharing to others and his belief that what is right is that which is beneficial. Thus, it can be inferred that one of the lessons in Franklin’s life which is being taught is that, being useful means providing the needs of other inhabitants, not only for one’s self, and that a man with an intelligence concerning him comes only to those individual who possesses a great heart.
As for the economy, this book made us learn that Franklin, after experiencing his first achievement, had launched several successful commercial partnerships which lead to the development of the law of partnerships in America. This is said to be one of the many contributions Franklin has made in the history. Aside from the foregoing influences of Franklin has given to the society, it is of everyone’s knowledge that his greatest contribution was his discovery of electricity. This discovery was the product of his scientific curiosity which has originally established his fame in the world.
In sum, it can be said that Morgan’s biography of Franklin imparts a representation of the renowned man with the kite that one might not anticipate in an intellectual biography. It is manifest from the opening that Morgan wishes the person who reads to see beyond the characterization of Franklin that we often read in books and articles. In this work, we came to learn, as stated at the outset, that Benjamin Franklin is famously known for three things: his experiments with electricity, his writings, and his involvement in the American Revolution.
However, it is important to note that the behavior that Morgan actually wishes for the reader to be aware of is that to successful in this world, one should posse’s inquisitiveness and enthrallment with the world around him, coupled with a serene obsession for the intellectual strength of persons, and a benevolent social servitude. Reference: www. class. uidaho. edu/Engl440/NYRB/NRYB_Edmund_Morgan. htm, Retrieved April 09, 2007. http://www. brothersjudd. com/index. cfm/fuseaction/reviews. detail/book_id/1183/Benjamin%20Fra. htm Retrieved April 09, 2007
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Topic: Benjamin Franklin by Edmund Morgan
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