Summary of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin book summary
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Rating

9 Overall

8 Importance

10 Innovation

9 Style


Recommendation

Benjamin Franklin, one of history’s most remarkable human beings, was born in Boston in 1706. Largely self-taught, he became a respected scientist whose experiments on electricity received international acclaim. He invented the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, bifocals, the glass harmonica, an odometer and more. He was a self-made man who became wealthy as one of America's first commercial printers. He was a respected civic activist, a leading author, a politician and a political theorist. Many of the wise maxims expressed in his immortal Poor Richard's Almanack remain relevant and routinely quoted. Franklin is considered one of America's most accomplished diplomats. He served as minister to France during the Revolutionary War. In that post, he engineered a vital political alliance with the French, winning crucial military and financial aid. getAbstract thinks that anyone who loves history will find this spellbinding autobiography a rare delight. Franklin was on intimate terms with many of the most famous individuals in prerevolutionary America. Indeed, he seemed to have personal dealings with virtually everyone of merit in the New World. His autobiography, written in the best of the archaic language of the time, is a literary classic. Don't deprive yourself of this singular opportunity to learn what the American colonies were like during the prerevolutionary era, as reported by the extraordinary genius who first conceptualized the idea of the United States as an independent nation.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Benjamin Franklin saw his life;
  • How he accomplished milestones in fields as diverse as politics, education and science;
  • How he helped develop America's first fire department and lending library; and
  • How he became rich, famous and respected.
 

About the Author

Benjamin Franklin, a Renaissance man, was a noted author, inventor, diplomat, politician, scientist and businessman.

 

Summary

Ancestry and Early Years

Benjamin Franklin's forebears immigrated to Boston from the small English village of Ecton, in Northamptonshire, where the Franklins had lived for some 300 years. Franklin was his father Josiah’s 15th child, the youngest son of Josiah and his second wife, Abiah. Franklin's older brothers all became apprentices. At age 10, Franklin left school to help his father make and sell candles. Franklin disliked this work and hoped to become a seaman, but his father would not allow it. Since Franklin loved to read, his father decided that he would learn to become a printer and indentured Franklin, then 12, as an apprentice to his brother James. Franklin worked hard and remained an avid reader all his life.

While in his teens, Franklin, who had been raised Presbyterian, started to have doubts about the Christian bible. He began to read books concerning Deism, a philosophy which holds that religious beliefs should be based on reason, not revelation. Franklin found the Deists' arguments very strong and, from this time forward, he discounted revelation. In his later life, he maintained a strong belief in a deity, but he discounted as “unintelligible” the...


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