Franklin, Benjamin


Statesman, Inventor, and Founding Father

In a career spanning the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin succeeded at nearly everything he did, leaving an indelible mark on American history, politics, and intellectual life. In his Autobiography, written between 1771 and 1789, one of the most widely studied texts of the American eighteenth century, Franklin portrayed himself as a consummate stylist of the eighteenth-century masculine self. Born the son of a soapmaker and regarded as a founding father of the nation upon his death, he helped created the idea of the self-made American man through his activities as a printer, entrepreneur, inventor, moralist, revolutionary, and writer.

Franklin began his career as an apprentice to his brother, James, the printer of the New England Courant. During this apprenticeship, Franklin took up ...

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