A Companion to Benjamin Franklin by David Waldstreicher

By David Waldstreicher

This better half presents a finished survey of the lifestyles, paintings and legacy of Benjamin Franklin - the oldest, so much precise, and multifaceted of the founders.

  • Includes contributions from throughout a number of educational disciplines
  • Combines conventional and state of the art scholarship, from complete and rising specialists within the box
  • Pays specified awareness to the yank Revolution, the Enlightenment, journalism, colonial American society, and topics of race, category, and gender
  • Places Franklin within the context of modern paintings in political idea, American reports, American literature, fabric tradition experiences, pop culture, and overseas relations

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It was a lesson he would learn well and follow in the decades ahead, as he worked behind a perhaps transparent veil of anonymity to create the Union Fire Company (1736), the American Philosophical Society (1743), the Philadelphia militia (1747), the Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia (later, the College and subsequently University of Pennsylvania, 1749), the Philadelphia Contributionship Fire Insurance Company (1751), and Pennsylvania Hospital (1752). Franklin’s 1784 description of his scheme to found the Library Company – “I therefore put my self as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a Scheme of a Number of Friends, who had requested me to go about and propose it” – summed up his method for calling together his fellow colonists for other means of public improvement (Franklin, 1964: 143).

Here he expressed one of the most explicit demand for equal education for both sexes. Contrary to his usual cynical tone, he wrote with all seriousness that he “often thought of it as one of the most barbarous Customs in the World, considering us as a civiliz’d and Christian Country, that we deny the Advantages of Learning to Women. indd 19 5/17/2011 7:58:43 AM 20 F R A N K L I N ’ S B O S T O N Y E A R S , 1706–1723 might have had more Wit? Shall we upbraid Women with Folly, when ‘tis only the Error of this inhuman Custom that hindred them being made wiser” (Lemay, 1987: 14–16).

As Franklin narrated the story, Deborah’s life became a pathetic tale once he departed for the mother country. ” Calling his treatment of his eventual wife “another of the great Errata of my Life, which I should wish to correct if I were to live it over again,” Franklin began to enjoy the women of London, while Deborah’s friends, “despairing with Reason of my Return,” persuaded her to marry John Rogers, a potter. The exact nature of that couple’s troubles has never been fully discovered. Franklin called his wife’s first husband “a worthless Fellow tho’ an excellent Workman which was Temptation of her Friends,” an odd mixed compliment, to be sure.

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