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Meet dr. Benjamin Franklin our most accomplished most. Accessible and most paradoxical founding father he was the entire package scientist inventor journalist businessman and statesman I became convinced that Benjamin Franklin was the great American genius his achievements were unparalleled he was the driving force behind America's first public lending library first non-religious college and first national. Newspapers as a diplomat he helped make American independence a reality next to George Washington Benjamin Franklin is probably. The most indispensable person when it comes to winning the revolution and in matters of science he was nothing less than the greatest thinker of his time. We can certainly compare Franklin's work with electricity with the Wright brothers work with aviation. Beyond his greatness however there was another side to Benjamin Franklin and that side doesn't always show. Up in the history books throughout his life Franklin's governed by sexual passions he says we're not talking about a guy who's some. Moral superstar here Franklin wasn't above engaging in dirty tricks against his opponents and if he could be set to have a great failing. I think it's probably in his family relations that it's most clear for more than 200 years Ben Franklin has inspired and confounded us he has been analyzed criticized and scrutinized by an army of biographers yet the essence of the man. Remains elusive Benjamin Franklin's the founding father who winks at us you know he. Lets us in on the joke a bit Ben Franklin it turns out is everything we think he is and a lot more that we never imagined for someone who has been a national icon for well over 200 years Benjamin Franklin remains surprisingly enigmatic his long public life and prolific writings. Present us with a maze of different personas at times Franklin is diplomatic at others sceptical he can be flirtatious very conciliatory witty or maddeningly patient he is rarely. Stubborn usually wise often candid and whenever necessary artfully evasive the doorway into this hall of mirrors is Franklin's autobiography which he began writing at the age of 65 the autobiography tells us not. Who Franklin was which is how many people have read it but how Franklin saw himself and more importantly how he wished others to see him Benjamin. Franklin was the first great publicist and image maker in America and the greatest image he created was of himself and I think that Franklin is a master of masks Franklin understood that American life is one great masquerade ball Benjamin Franklin arrived at. The party in January of 1706 he was born in a modest home in Boston Massachusetts the tenth boy of seventeen children by the age of sixteen. Ben was already showing. A genius for subterfuge an apprentice printer he was indentured to his brother James publisher of a newspaper called the New England Courant he wants to write for his brothers newspaper but his brothers an older brother and you know sort of jealous so James Franklin is having none of that so Benjamin. Franklin has to disguise his handwriting and slip these essays under the door under pseudonym and here's a kid who's never left Boston writing as if he's a widowed older woman from the countryside named silence do-good he's adopted the persona of this middle-aged woman and he's able to carry it off. So convincingly that it fools his own brother I have now remained. In a state of widowhood for several years wrote mrs. do-good a state I never much admired I could be persuaded to marry again provided I was sure of a good-humoured sober agreeable companion but one even with these few good qualities. Being hard to find I have lately relinquished all thoughts of that nature the public was delighted with silence do-good James however was not amused when he learned her true identity in the. End Ben ran away from his apprenticeship his family and Boston he ended up in Philadelphia Benjamin Franklin was a runaway he was a fugitive from his apprenticeship which made him a fugitive from justice and Philadelphia was a place that took in people like that and allowed them to find a niche in to flourish. At the time of his arrival Franklin does not exactly exude an aura of success he's 17 years old he has no job no prospects and. Just enough money to buy a few rolls of bread it happens that he strolls past the home of a young woman named Debbie Reed who is destined to be his wife and according to the story that he. Tells she was standing in the door of her father's house on Market Street when this rather scruffy looking character walks past with his dirty linen hanging out of his pockets and munching on a couple of rolls which is all he had money to buy for breakfast Franklin described the scene in his autobiography she standing. At the door saw me and thought I made as I certainly did a most awkward ridiculous appearance it. Is difficult to imagine George Washington or Thomas Jefferson portraying themselves in such an inglorious farce he's very self-aware very introspective but he finds himself amusing in a way and you can see the old man riding the Autobiography and being amused by his younger self so it's a very funny guy. He's looking at himself and laughing part of the time there was. Plenty to laugh about for seven years been knocked around Philadelphia and London working as a journeyman printer and getting in and out of scrapes he feuds with an overbearing employer makes a play for his best friend's girl and gets stiffed on a few sizable but ill-considered loans. His endless brushes with human nature through the first section of the autobiography that is one long account of America's first juvenile delinquent and he scams other people other people scam him and out of all of this he comes away with a very considerable appreciation of what. You can expect from others and a very considerable self-knowledge it is during these early years that we first encounter Ben's and during enthusiasm for the company of women you know we often think of Benjamin Franklin as doddering old sage but when he was a young tradesman in Philadelphia he was you know quite a good-looking. Guy he was six feet tall he was a great swimmer he lifted weights he loved dumbbells he was you know had a big broad chest women you know fell in love with him all the time so he was a great hunk back then when he was in Philadelphia. By his own testimony in his autobiography Franklin had a lively. Libido and before he was married he consorted with what he called low women he was evidently. Engaged with prostitutes then put it this way that hard to be governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women which were attended with some expense and a continual risk to my health and he reports to us that it's a stone miracle that he didn't come down with syphilis or some other venereal disease he. Didn't recommend it to people but on the other hand he didn't especially condemn it in himself he recognized it was part of human nature at least his human nature Franklin was all too familiar with his nature both strengths and weaknesses during those first years in Philadelphia he had embarked on a quest for what he called moral perfection he compiles. From his reading a list of what he accepts to be 12 common virtues modesty frugality industry moderation temperance. Chastity and then he defines each of these terms and sets for himself the. Task of conquering each one in the course of a week he even makes a chart where he lists them all and marks how well he does and its industry and frugality and all these virtues I think he was hopeful that he could be incrementally better that it wouldn't do any harm to have. A little bit of a run at modesty a wouldn't do any harm to have a little bit of a run at temperance he never says lay off the sauce he always says less in his autobiography Ben admits. With some amusement that the project was probably doomed from the start while my attention. Was taken up in guarding against one fault I was often surprised by another habit took advantage of inattention inclination was sometimes too strong for reason when he finally gave up on the whole scheme he realized that if he had become morally perfect he would have sinned against the last item on the list humility because he would have been. Too full of himself having achieved perfection and as Franklin himself puts it and this really tells us everything we need to know about Franklin the self improver I could not boast of having accomplished humility but I have made a good stab at putting up appearances by 1730 Franklin's virtues. Such as they were and his indisputable talents had elevated. Him from journeyman printer to owner of his own shop now 24 he was also the publisher of a newspaper the Pennsylvania Gazette with his social. Position improving Franklin thought it was high time to settle down though for more than the usual reasons his intrigues with low women had resulted in the birth of a son William Debby Reid who had once been the object of Ben's romantic attentions was willing to overlook Williams origins and Ben's youthful indiscretions. Shortly after the child was born she and Benjamin settled into a common-law marriage during the following years Franklin worked hard. And paid dutiful attention to. Appearances in every sense Benjamin Franklin was becoming a self-made man he actually did work long hours but he took pain so that people saw him working long hours they knew. That if they gave a job to Franklin Franklin would get to the shop early he would work. Late to make sure that it was done on time Franklin recognized that to be a success he had to be good at what he did but he also had to be seen to be good at what he did and he was a master at both ends of that he. Cares about the image he's always polishing his image he rolls the carts of paper when he's a young printer in Philadelphia up and down the. Streets so people will see he's industrious and throughout his life he's creating this image of the frugal hard-working tradesman in 1733 Franklin created yet another image for himself as Richard Saunders publisher of Poor Richard's Almanack now everybody knew everybody who cared to know certainly knew it was Benjamin Franklin but it was a different. Name and so when he published as poor Richard. He could say things that he didn't want to say as Benjamin Franklin it was as though this other side of Benjamin Franklin's is dying to get out early on poor Richard had to contend with a rival Almanac that had been established for some 20 years Ben was. Determined to take his share of the market I don't think frankly makes any secret of the fact that he's a deeply ambitious man he's really a bundle of ambition and he will proceed sometimes in a rather stealthy way to achieve those ends Franklin wasn't above engaging in what we might call. Dirty tricks against his opponents at one point he even claimed that a competing Almanac maker had died the rival publisher of course was very much alive but readers delighted in Ben's irreverence readers also. Loved the regular installments of Poor Richard's. Proverbs sayings that ring as true today as they did when Franklin wrote them more than two centuries ago many of Franklin's sayings were the sort of thing that were taught to generation schoolchildren a penny saved is a. Penny earned early to bed early to. Rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise others have not been so commonly repeated because they appeal to an earthy err sense of humor so Franklin had one saying force on reasons back well is. Another way of saying might. Makes right Franklin sold a phenomenal 10,000 almanacs each year a circulation equal to nearly three million today Ben however had still bigger plans for his printing business like a great tycoon he's such franchising these print shops up and down the. Coast all of his relatives and apprentices from Boston down to Barbados have these print shop so he takes a 50 percent equity stake he would send out printers and he wouldn't he would enter into a partnership with him he would provide the inventory he. Would provide the equipment they would do the labor and they would split the profits Franklin's media empire was a stunning success from his arrival as a penniless runaway he had remade himself into one of Philadelphia's most distinguished citizens Benjamin Franklin's efforts at improvement did not end with himself however he would also be. The driving force behind radical social innovations that still have an impact on Americans in. The 21st century for very many people Benjamin Franklin is their favorite founding father I think this reflects the fact that Franklin in his temperament and his outlook is the one that's easiest to imagine living at the beginning of the 21st century George Washington in the year 2004 2005 that would be a toughie Thomas Jefferson may. Be easier Benjamin Franklin would be really easy it's so easy to imagine Benjamin Franklin in modern-day America because modern-day America was markedly shaped by Benjamin Franklin Franklin's imprint on the civic life of the country can be traced at least as far back as 1727 when he organized a small social club the junto the. 12-member group which meant every friday evening in a local tavern included a cobbler a clerk a cabinet maker and several printers the junto is a group of apprentices journeyman all of them clearly smart ambitious young kids on the make looking to advance themselves in the Philadelphia economy Franklin very much believes in self-improvement for. What he calls we the middling people. In fact he says. You can't trust the elite or the establishment or the crown to protect our rights it's up to we the middling people you could call it a seminar of self-improvement the people who were part of this seminar part of this discussion. Club were people who were in a similar situation as Franklin and for the most part they didn't have formal schooling but they were very interested in educating themselves that's. Not to say Ben and his cohorts were all work and no play the junto meetings were lubricated with alcohol and punctuated by drinking songs Franklin loved to sing he wrote about eight songs some better than others I have to say but his favorite activity was sitting in a small intimate setting with friends of. His a club a tavern a living room and singing with his friends in between songs Franklin and the. Junto hatched plans that would change the world they helped establish Philadelphia's first volunteer fire department and the. First non-religious college in America the Philadelphia Academy it survives today as the University of Pennsylvania among their greatest achievements was the creation of America's first public lending library the library Company of Philadelphia thanks to the junto books would no longer be. The exclusive domain of the wealthy and well-connected they were simply trying to improve. Themselves but in breaking down this fundamental barrier of class that had separated the uneducated from the educated the wealthy from the the people with lesser resources they made it possible for people like Franklin who should have had no business engaging in political discussions philosophical discussions at a very high level to do exactly that and it's this. Class that's gonna spearhead the American Revolution in the 1760s and 1770s for Benjamin Franklin. The maneuvering required by public life was in itself an education a master's degree. In human nature and gamesmanship life is a kind of chess he wrote in which we have points to gain and competitors to contend with by. Playing a chess we learn not to make our moves too hastily some of Ben's most calculated moves pertain. To matters of religion for starters he had to learn to navigate. Between Philadelphia's various congregations you've got to understand what the Presbyterians like you've got to understand. What the Quakers like though the Presbyterians and the Quakers hate each other and if you're gonna be the kind of. A cultural broker that Franklin was you can't be one or the other of those though nominally a Presbyterian himself been had ties to Christchurch an Anglican congregation it was all part. Of the game if you go into Christchurch today you'll see a very large prominent pew which is marked as the pew of the Franklin family which is weird because Franklin was not. An Anglican not an Episcopalian as we would now call them but Franklin thought that it was politic to have a pew in Christchurch which was the Church. Of the richest denomination the most socially prestigious denomination in the city Ben's ties to organized religion extended beyond Christchurch during his lifetime Franklin donated to the building fund of each and every Church built in Philadelphia he's one of the largest individual contributors in the first synagogue built in Philadelphia he thought religions all did good and he cared not a. Fig about their doctrinal differences but he was perfectly willing to support civic institutions that ameliorated the life of his fellow. Citizens while being a friend to all of Philadelphia's religions Ben also nurtured his own beliefs Franklin was very clear about religion he feels that there is a God and God has created the world and is to be worshipped that the best way one can worship God is to be by doing good among men doing good was a favorite strategy. Of Ben's especially in that murky area where civic duty also promoted personal gain poor Richard had a wonderful saying called but doing well by doing good. Which meant you could serve your community but also do well by yourself and that was really Franklin's Creed in 1736 a few years after opening his print shop Franklin becomes Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly through his position he secures a lucrative contract printing the assembly proceedings the standards of. Conflict of interest for a lot looser back then I mean nowadays were kind of shocked if a Halliburton gets a large number of contracts and works with the government and you know looks like inside our dealings and stuff like that but back then it was. Pretty natural that a person who was a civic leader could also. Do well in his business through his civic. Work Franklin also served the British crown as a royal deputy postmaster Franklin had the responsibility of improving the Postal Service throughout the American colonies and he did a wonderful job at this the delivery of mail in fact around the college from Philadelphia to New York in the 18th century was faster than delivery of mails is today but Franklin's postal. Innovations also helped himself he could now be secure that his newspaper was widely distributed across the colonies as the proprietor the printer the editor publisher of Pennsylvania Gazette he quite commonly. Reported news from other colonies the faster the. News got from Boston into. Philadelphia the faster the news got from Charlestown to Philadelphia the sooner he could get it in the paper the more valuable his paper would be the Pennsylvania Gazette became in essence the New. York Times of its day by the time he was 40 Benjamin Franklin was becoming a household name across the colonies it would be Franklin's discoveries about electricity however that propelled him to international stardom as. An American prometheus a man who tamed lightning Ben Franklin hardly qualifies as a hippie he didn't exactly turn on and drop out but he did reach a stage in life when he decided to quit working and have more fun Franklin is sometimes held up as the archetype of the American capitalist the the self-made man who succeeds. In business and to a certain extent he was but. He was much more than a capitalist Franklin retired from business at the age of 42 why because he had enough he there were other things he wanted to do with his time I should like to give myself leisure to read study make experiments and converse at. Large was such ingenious and worthy men as are pleased to honor me with their friendship. Franklin sold his business keeping a share of the profits to fund his retirement then he unleashed his inventive imagination Franklin was a great inventor and his starts as a little kid he teaches himself how to swim by looking at books about it. And then he wants to swim faster so he invents flippers and fins and stuff like that and then even faster he strips jumps into Boston Harbor and takes a kite. So he's pulled across Boston Harbor with a kite Franklin's inventiveness Franklin's curiosity was just like the Energizer Bunny it never stopped who was always churning Franklin never went anywhere never did anything without looking around and asking himself what is going on why is. This so Franklin's questions and more importantly his answers fueled a lifetime of remarkable discoveries during a transatlantic voyage then becomes curious about anomalies in ocean temperatures and ends up charting what we now know as the Gulf Stream after calculating the physics of heat radiation and convection parents Ben designs the most efficient. Home heating device of the 18th century the Franklin stove when Ben becomes fed up changing between reading glasses and distance classes he mounts half of each lens in both sides of his frames he calls the design double spectacles today we call them bifocals few. Inventors can boast such a string. Of number-one hits but every now and then been uncorked a complete and utter failure most notable his phonetic alphabet in Ben's plan most of the 26 familiar letters are retained but there are also six new letters. Among them in ish. II D and F this letter to a lady friend is one of the few that Franklin wrote using his phonetic alphabet soon after he dropped the system much to the relief of those on the receiving end of such messages after a while he kind of gives up on the phonetic alphabet Noah Webster picks it up write some articles about. It and stuff but Franklin realizes that he's never going to be able to push reform that far and get everybody to use a phonetic alphabet while the phonetic alphabet died a quiet merciful death another of Franklin's inventions was serenading audiences. Across Europe Ben's musical instrument was a new spin on an old trick rubbing the rims of crystal goblets to create musical tones what he did was to say rather than rub your finger around at the rim of. Twenty-five glasses why not have the glasses turn and come to your fingers and that's exactly what he did with a glass harmonica this is Ben's personal armonica built during the 1760s and house today at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia been mounted 37 crystal bowls on an iron rod which was then rotated by. A foot pedal as the Bulls turned in front of him he. Would wet his fingers with water and the friction produced by his fingertips on. Those bulls made that characteristic sound up all the things Franklin invented this was his. Very favorite one while his armonica brought him widespread acclaim during his lifetime. It was Franklin's work with electricity that would make him a legend. For the ages Franklin came to electricity a time when electricity was not quite a science it was a curiosity it was almost well often was a vaudeville act after seeing one of these shows Ben was hooked he acquired this contraption known as a hawk. Speed generator its sole purpose was to create static electricity this Hawks B generator is very similar to the kind of device Franklin used to generate electrical charges this plastic drum will pick up electrical charges from this pad as I crank it those electrons will then be transferred through the brass fingers onto the. Collection cylinder and then out to the distribution point the charge can also be directed along a chain to a pair of. Metal dishes where objects like styrofoam peanuts rise and fall in response to the invisible flow of electrons Franklin performed a similar trick using a small spider made of fabric through simple experiments like these Franklin develops his. Landmark theory of electricity he begins with an entirely new terminology battery plus and minus charge and discharge things we normally use every day Franklin was the first to use these words in relation to electricity Franklin's discovery of the single fluid theory of electricity that. Electricity is a flow from positive to negative is actually the most important. Discovery of that century it compares to both Newton's theory of gravity in the century before and the theory of transistors and microchips in our own century because it has very practical implications Franklin's most. Important contribution however the one for which he is most known was to demonstrate that lightning is in fact a form of electricity this flew directly in the face of the religious concepts. At the time. Of thunderstorms lightning and thunder were definitely acts of God even punishments of God fires started by lightning could decimate entire towns single-handedly Franklin would find a way to prevent these natural calamities Franklin devised a theory of electricity how the particles in the atmosphere jostling around. In a thunderstorm would create these charges just like the ones in the laboratory but most importantly he devised a way to test it Franklin publishes his theories and a plan for testing them in 1751 in May of 1750 two French scientists following his instructions. Are the first to prove conclusively that lightning is indeed nothing more than electricity in June before news arrives from France ban is ready to conduct his. Famous kite experiment the concept seems simple today a small wire on the kite will draw an electric charge from the clouds the charge will then travel down a string. To a key tied on to the line the small electric spark that he got from his kite through. The key definitely showed him that lightning really was just the same static electricity he'd been experimenting with on a small scale except this scale was absolutely enormous within. Weeks Franklin unveils his lightning rod which remains the reliable way to channel a lightning bolt harmlessly into the ground at the age. Of 46 Ben had secured his place in. History there are a number of legacies left over by the founding fathers but one of the most practical ones is the lightning rod created by Benjamin Franklin every building every edifice in the world that stands at some height has one and one might argue that without the lightning rod tall buildings might not have come into existence Franklin. Was the one who well as people saw her put it tamed the lightning. He stole the lightning from the heavens. After Frances researches and electricity became known he was one of the most famous people in the Western world he. Gets honorary degrees and Edinboro and then at Oxford and Cambridge and eventually Yale and Harvard in the United States and thereafter he kind of allowed himself to be referred to as dr. Franklin though been enjoyed the worldwide acclaim he refused to patent any of his inventions he didn't earn a dime from the lightning rod or the stove and that. Was just the way he wanted it he felt that he didn't need any more money and was far more important that he could simply contribute to the well-being of society the lightning rod in particular he. Felt was going to save lots. Of lives save lots of homes and buildings from destruction it. Was far more important to him that this invention be disseminated broadly than that he Franklin should turn a profit from it Ben's discoveries and inventions alone would probably have been enough to guarantee. His lasting fame but Ben Franklin's greatest achievement was still on the horizon challenging the political order and establishing American independence would become Franklin's most enduring legacy before he. Could raise the flag of rebellion however Benjamin Franklin would have to question his loyalty to the. Crown of England in short he would have to question himself these days it seems the British royal family is a non-stop soap opera of petty rivalries naughty scandals and. Epic tragedy the spectacle is of little consequence to most Americans of course there was a time when the Royals. Actually mattered a time when Americans were British subjects and no one was more devoted to. The British crown than our own Benjamin Franklin he felt that the British Empire politically speaking was the best thing going it afforded the greatest protection for rights the greatest scope for individual ambitions and opportunities Franklin. Eventually would be forced to change his mind but it would require a real identity crisis in Franklin Ben's evolution from Royalists to rebel would play out over some thirty years and mirror the changes that shaped America from the 1740s to the early 1760s Ben and his fellow colonists were staunchly. British fighting a common battle against France and its Indian. Allies in the wilds of North America the conflicts culminated in what is known today as the French and Indian War when French Raiders penetrate to within 50 miles of Philadelphia Franklin raises a militia to defend British interests later he and his son William restore British control to frontier. Towns decimated by Indian attacks you don't think of Franklin as a military guy but in the 1750s when the Indians. Are terrorized if he and William go off to the frontier and with this voluntary militia they help. Build a line of forts that try to protect Pennsylvania from the marauding Indians in 1757 Franklin left the simmering conflict for London he had been selected as the agent or lobbyists representing Pennsylvania's assembly before Parliament in addition to his official duties. Ben had personal business to attend to business befitting a prominent citizen of the British Empire Franklin was very serious about getting a land grant in the West and. He brought together a lot of powerful political leaders and. Bankers of London into a syndicate that was going to try to get a land grant so as usual with Franklin there's all sorts. Of interrelated and conflicting interests as he goes about his business once in England Franklin would even seek a post as Undersecretary of a British Ministry larger events would force him to reconsider his allegiance the. Catalyst was the end of the French and Indian War in 1763 Britain had won but his Treasury was depleted the British had spent a lot of money defending the colonies in the French and Indian. War so they wanted to raise some taxes in order to pay for it the Americans understood the need to help pay for these Wars but they wanted the right to impose their own taxes. Instead of having the Parliament in England imposed the taxes the Stamp Act passed in 1765 required Americans to pay taxes on just about every scrap of paper they used from playing cards to court documents and newspapers Franklin opposed the measure in. Principle but did little to lobby against its passage at times he wasn't fully aggressive enough he didn't oppose the Stamp Act strongly enough for his constituents back in Pennsylvania because he saw himself as a loyal subject he wanted a royal appointment he wanted the land-grant and that in some ways helped separate him from the more radical sentiment back in. The colonies the Stamp Act was greeted with outright violence with acts of well what other people might call political terrorism the stamp agents were in some cases tarred and feathered the supporters of the British government had their houses torn down and they themselves were sometimes ridden out of town on a rail Franklin found himself caught. Out on the wrong foot. Here in America Franklin's reputation plummeted one political cartoon even depicted him as an agent of the devil now he quickly had to try to align himself a little bit more with what the position in America was if only. To be an effective mediator between the Americans and the British but he still believed that reason could bring the two sides back together because he thought it would be a tremendous shame and a great loss. To Americans to the British to the world at large if the British Empire fell apart On February 13 1766 Franklin appears before Parliament and argues forcefully against the Stamp Act nine days later Parliament rescinds the measure his testimony against the Stamp Act was a single most important thing that convinced the English government. That it had to repeal the act it also was a single most important thing to making Franklin the premier spokesman for the colonies and restoring his reputation back in America the. Stamp Act episode left Franklin questioning his loyalties to England those doubts increased when. Parliament instituted new taxes on the colonies the real issue was that in London the colonies were perceived as subservient economically and politically they. Were second-class citizens they couldn't have their own manufacturing they couldn't have their own power to tax without london's permission and that was destined. To cause of breach what began as a breach escalated into a disaster on March 5th 1770 British soldiers gunned down five Americans during a sudden explosive street battle the infamous Boston Massacre Franklin was outraged but he still believed relations between Britain and America could be saved to continue his role as mediator he accepted an offer to serve as agent. For the Massachusetts assembly the motherlode of American defiance so he gets dragged in a radical direction by Samuel Adams and John Adams and the. Other leaders of the. Massachusetts assembly and he also has. To satisfy his pennsylvania constituents as well so he's trying to hold things together but it becomes. More and more difficult in late 1772 Franklin began to play a high-stakes game he would crank up the political heat but only against a limited political target Thomas Hutchinson royal governor of Massachusetts Hutchinson and his lieutenant governor were bitter enemies of the Massachusetts assembly by means that still remain something. Of a mystery Franklin obtained letters written by Hutchinson in at least one the governor urged Britain to curtail American liberties Franklin sent the letters to an ally in Massachusetts what was his point his point was to show that the. Laws that had been passed that seemed. To infringe on the rights of Americans were not part of a grand conspiracy but simply the work of a few bad apples what Franklin did was he took these letters and made them public just the way Daniel Ellsberg you know released the Pentagon Papers it was trying to show what the government is doing by. Opening up what the government was doing it was going to explain things he hoped that the king would recall these officials and that would allow the Americans especially Massachusetts but other radicals in America too to recognize or at least to say that okay now we can essentially kiss and make up and as with the Pentagon Papers. In erupts into a huge scandal in London Franklin found himself at the center of. The storm he was summoned to. Appear before the. Privy Council the King's highest-ranking advisors just before Frank can arrives in the Privy Council news of the Boston Tea Party arrives in London and so now Franklin becomes in essence the scapegoat for all of the sins of the Americans over the last 10 years the Stamp Act rides everything leading up to. This recent riot and destruction January 29th 1774 Benjamin Franklin stands before the Privy Council in a hall known as the cockpit once a stage for bloody fights the galleries are filled with members of parliament and other dignitaries most antagonistic to Franklin Alexander Wedderburn Solicitor General speaks for Britain he dresses down Franklin as he. Might a teenaged pickpocket and Franklin is realizing I think now for the first time at really personal level the political has become personal and Franklin must have been thinking I'm always going to be treated as a second class person simply because I'm an American and as I see it Franklin walked into the cockpit on that January. Morning in 1774 a Briton and he walked out an American Franklin returned to Pennsylvania in time to help draft the Declaration of Independence he. Had been a. British subject for seventy years now he declared himself an American this is a man who's committed to the British Empire and several years later is completely committed to American independence I don't think that there was anything wrong about that I think the difference. Is that Franklin actually remains a thinking man and thinking men find their ideas evolve and change independence would. Require battling the greatest superpower on the face of the planet but the United States had few weapons and little money so Congress turned to the man who had plucked lightning from the heavens and asked him to perform another miracle convinced the King of France to bankroll the American Revolution guns ammunition soldiers money in 1776 the. United States was desperately short on all. Counts even as it was staring into the jaws of the world's mightiest superpower George Washington had the unenviable job of moulding farmers and merchants into a credible army Benjamin Franklin set sail for Europe with an equally daunting challenge convinced the king of France to openly side with America against the. British this was by no means an easy task in the first place the United States even if the French recognized it as a legitimate country was weak there was absolutely no precedent for this sort of revolution to think that this new country could maintain its. Independence Franklin had no illusions about what was motivating the French they were operating out of pure self-interest they had an ancient rivalry with England they had a piece of 1763 to seek their revenge for they had. No interest in American independence and complicating things even more was the fact that the Independence of. The United States was premised on something that was absolutely anathema to the. French crown namely revolting against and overthrowing your king in fact the Declaration of Independence itself was. Banned in France selling an anti royal uprising to king louis xvi would test the limits of Ben Franklin's gamesmanship Franklin knew he had little of substance to offer his mere presence in France however became nothing less than a national holiday the man who attained lightning was coming to Paris he was the star of. His day the closest analogy I can make to Franklin's arrival in Paris in 1776 was the arrival of the Beatles in New York in. 1964 and he is immediately the object of a sort of cult kind of worship there are. Franklin ashtrays and Franklin and irons and there would be Franklin t-shirts if the idea had existed there is Franklin wallpaper it's an almost inescapable image Franklin himself was amused by the frenzied my portrait is a best-seller he wrote to one of his children your father's face is. Now as well-known as that of the moon Ben would leverage his unprecedented fame to put the squeeze on louis xvi louis xvi the king of france has to deal with growing discontent within. His own country on. The part of. This rising bourgeoisie the class that is going to take charge in the French Revolution and Franklin takes pains to become as popular as possible with exactly this group there's no question that his prestige is one of the biggest weapons in America's arsenal so if King Louie then. Can't get along with Franklin he risked not only alienating the. Americans but alienating this group that so loves Franklin Franklin quickly learns. To play politics French style he becomes a master of that uniquely Parisian. Institution the salon it is at these late-night dinner parties that the movers and shakers. Of French politics could themselves be shaken and moved so again it's Franklin adapting he realizes the pace of life is different he realizes the approach to work is different and he realizes that much is done on a very social platform Franklin was. A salah' superstar primarily because he was witty and supremely accomplished but Ben also dressed for success one of the great masquerades of his career and he understood almost at once almost intuitively. That the French would not be impressed with some pretender trying to dress as elegantly as they did the way to their hearts was to be a simple backwoods Quaker Franklin was. Never a Quaker Franklin never lived anywhere near the backwoods in his entire life but he began sending back to his buddies. In Pennsylvania I need shipments of Coonskin caps and those ludicrous Coonskin caps that he had never worn in his life he begins wearing to every salon to every public appearance he played it to the hilt the French were enthralled and as Franklin's Fame grew so did the envy of certain other. Americans in particular Franklin's ease with Parisian women whom he sometimes referred to as his mistresses stands in stark contrast to the tortured efforts of John Adams another member of the American delegation Franklin and Adams had two very different approaches of the French. You can even see it in the way they learn in the French language Franklin talked about how he learned to speak French by lounging on the pillows of his French mistresses where's Adams learned to speak French by memorizing a volume of French funeral orations so they have a totally different style he speaks. Of Franklin's charm as if it ought to be a controlled substance or something and there's almost an eternal friction between a sort of classic over and classic. Underachiever between the class nerd and the. Most popular guy between Adams and Franklin he goes to Paris and he discovers that Franklin is the Lion of French society and Adams is a nothing in fact the people of Paris get. Him confused with Samuel Adams and they're always well they end up just calling him the other Adams even routine office work ended in fits. Of sputtering rage for the other Adams John would. Be at work early and Ben would stroll in at noon after a late night at the salon Adams thought it was ironic that the person who had spoken about early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy. Wealthy and wise John Adamson grown up on Poor Richard's Almanack and here was the author of Poor Richard's Almanack not following that kind of advice at all but Franklin. Understood that he was actually getting more business done for the American mission at two o'clock in the morning in somebody's salon then Adams did at 8 o'clock in the morning in the office that's simply the way the world of Parisian politics work in Ben's view John was a mixed blessing he means well for. His country noted Franklin and is always an honest man but in some things absolutely out of his senses the French find Adams even more annoying the foreign minister refuses to deal with him. It is Franklin who patiently works the French government for. More than a year in February of 1778 after learning of a significant American victory at Saratoga louis xvi finally signs on the dotted line next to George Washington Benjamin Franklin is probably the most indispensable. Person when it comes to winning the revolution now what trickle of covert arms becomes a potent battlefield Alliance a steady stream of weapons and soldiers arrived in America. France then provides 90% of the gunpowder we use in the revolution the Marquis de Lafayette has almost as many French troops at Yorktown as George Washington has American troops so that's what allows us to win the revolution militarily still battlefield successes must be translated into diplomatic terms after the decisive victory at. Yorktown Franklin and a team of American envoys would spend two years haggling with the British over details of a final peace treaty in the end the British realized that it wanted to have America as an ally and Franklin is able to play off Britain against France so they're both competing to have better alliances with America because. They realize that America is going to be the great trading and economic. Partner in the new century and it ends up with Franklin being able to make deals with both of. Them with the signing of the peace treaty in 1783 Benjamin Franklin had added diplomat to his long list of achievements he was perhaps the most accomplished man in the world a fact not lost on. Any number of women on two continents one has only to peep through the keyhole of history to glimpse another facet of this remarkable man you might say Ben. Franklin was the 18th century's preeminent heartthrob love me one thousandth part so well as I do you urged one. Woman another confided you are the first man that ever received a private letter from me yet a third implored if it ever pleases you to remember the woman who loved you the most think of me the evidence is right there in black and white women loved Benjamin Franklin and been returned. The favor whether or not these affections crossed the line into naked passion makes for an alluring mystery was Benjamin Franklin an incurable romantic or a reckless womanizer most people that I. Run into associate Franklin with the. Innumerable bastard children fathered by innumerable women. That he had his way with the woman who studied this most closely finds virtually. No evidence for any of it except his one illegitimate son whom he raised throughout his life. Franklin's governed by sexual passions he says and he tries to tame them he tries to tame them by getting married and in some ways he does but he still always love flirting with women Franklin always had a taste for smart women and always had a taste for intellectual exchange. With smart women as well as a taste for beautiful women by all accounts Catherine Rey also known as Katie fit the bill she met Ben in Boston in 1754 soon after they shared a carriage south through New England the events of that trip. Remain unclear the letter Katie wrote to Ben just after no longer survives some say Ben himself made. Sure that it didn't. I think he tried to make it a romantic relationship but she resisted so in the end like almost all of his other relationships it's really a flirtation of the mind and of the heart but not really a romantic. Relationship they remain friends for the rest of their lives Franklin had women friends in Britain as well during much of his tenure as a colonial agent in London Ben. Took a room at this house on Craven Street there he enjoyed the company of his landlady Margaret Stephenson and her daughter Polly and once again Franklin developed a very flirtatious relationship with the young woman also a very intellectual relationship he writes her about all. The scientific discoveries Polly was even among the trusted few who received a letter written in Ben's phonetic alphabet but there may have been something. More between Ben and Polly this sketch was done in 1767 by a. Well-known artist after he had stumbled upon been and a young lady at Craven Street the young lady's identity has never been confirmed though she is said to be none other than Polly Stevenson Franklin's relation with Polly Stevenson is a puzzle we will probably never unravel likewise his relation with her mother. Margaret whether there was something ongoingly romatic whether they were living together in anything other than the sense that he was living in her building who knows it is the period between 1776 and 1785 Franklin's stay in France that has given rise to the most notorious tales about Ben and his girlfriends by that time his. Wife Debbie had died Ben was on his own Franklin and the ladies of Paris has always been. An irresistible subject. The question of what he actually wanted from them what he actually got from them has tat alized forever soon after arriving in France Ben moved into a suite of rooms in this chateau in the town of Pasi just outside Paris despite appearances Ben's lifestyle. Here was far from opulent Franklin had probably the most Spartan existence of any diplomat in Paris Franklin had a household of between three and nine and staff most of the diplomats in Paris. Had upwards of a hundred there was no foreigner ever who sat at Franklin's table and complimented him on his sumptuous fare it was always poor Franklin his Spartan existence we had a very simple republican meal at dr. Franklin's what made Pasi so delectable to Ben was the neighborhood or more precisely the girl. Next door and Louise Bri all the Joey a woman who is nearly half his age very beautiful one of the most beautiful women in Paris quite married the mother of two teenage daughters who adores Franklin Madame Brian was known. For her musicianship and her artistic temperament a tendency towards melodramatic moods it is said that even a few gusts. Of wind might plunge her into a fit of despondency beginning in the spring of 1777 Benjamin Franklin patiently provided comfort to Matt Umbreon he. Called on her twice a week and they wrote to each other between visits it's quite clear that he would have appreciated getting something more in return than simply madam please witty letters and her. Kisses the longer they spent together the more drawn they were to one another and I don't think there's any question that Franklin would have loved it if. Men embryo yielded it would certainly seem that mad embryo was tempted well we might think along the same lines she wrote we must speak. And act differently perhaps there is no great harm in a man having desires and yielding to them a woman may have desires but she must not yield rejection however only seemed to fuel Ben's passion Franklin was very serious in his pursuit of madam Breanna and he wrote her all sorts. Of salacious letters trying to entice her into a relationship in one note Franklin refers to his love in words that almost. Certainly were meant to have a double meaning my poor little boy whom you ought to have cherished instead of being fat and jolly is starved almost to death for what of the nourishment which. You inhumanely deny him Breann stints in you a shion's right back at then the lady advises the gentleman to fatten up his favorite at other tables that hers which will always offer. To meager a diet for his greedy appetites though poetically put the meaning was clear no they finally agreed that he would consider her as a. Daughter and she would consider him as a beloved father she began addressing him as ma chere papa. And he occasionally addressed her as my dear daughter father figure. Was a role Ben reluctantly assumed with more than one young woman even at his age cuz he was always a remarkably vigorous and physical specimen he probably did have some forlorn hopes that they would respond to his advances but he always came on as. An uncle he always came on with an easy escape route for them that was not the case with another French woman Anna Katherine Hale vicious of ravishing beauty in her youth Madame helvetius was an attractive 50-something Widow when she caught. Ben's eye in 1778 she was somewhat bohemian she had both the qualities of the upper class but the bohemian nature of somebody who had been raised poor and he loved that mix in her with Madame helvetius Franklin was apparently more interested. In marriage than lusty adventure but rather. Than asked directly Ben writes her a fanciful story in which he just hints at a proposal and that proposal has. Not always been taken all together seriously I see it as. A perfectly serious bit of work she turns him down but there seems no question that his devotion to her outlast the flirtation even after the return to America even as he's nearing the end of his life he's still writing her and he writes that he still thinks of her in his dreams and he hopes one. Day to see her again and there's a real element of regret there in the later. Years of his life Ben wrote letters not only to Madame helvetius but to Katy Madame Brio and. Polly as well clearly he valued his female friends the friendships whatever their nature survived both time and distance it is no secret however that Franklin showed little evidence of such strong. Connections with his own family in. Fact it is in family matters that Benjamin Franklin would show the most puzzling side. Of his complex. And enigmatic character it is not a total exaggeration to say that Benjamin Franklin could have charmed just about anyone on the planet yet by all accounts Ben's charisma vanished when it came to his wife and children with them Franklin seems to have been cold and aloof a virtual stranger in his own family I. Don't know if this means that he didn't value these. Family relationships or if he didn't know how to express the feelings that he had as a young man the emotional distance was not so obvious Ben's affection for his wife Debbie and the life they shared was genuine that would change with time Franklin's life is a succession. Of outgrowing one environment and growing into the next one Franklin married Debbie he was a young businessman in Philadelphia trying to get a start she was a young woman in Philadelphia her whole world had been Philadelphia for 15 or 20 years Franklin was content to spend nearly. All of his time in Philadelphia Debbie helped Ben raise his illegitimate son William then in 1732 Debbie gave birth to a son Francis been delighted in the miniature perfection of the infant whom he called Frankie what curious. Joints and hinges on which limbs are moved to and fro. He marveled what an inconceivable variety of nerves veins arteries fibers and little invisible parts when Frankie was four a ghastly mistake would bring Ben's fatherly exuberance to a sudden end Franklin had for years been an advocate of inoculation against smallpox but one thing in another including the demands of business. Had prevented him from inoculating Frankie so when smallpox came through that season it. Swept away Frankie and Franken always felt the certain guilt about that after that Franklin does become a little bit emotionally detached walled off from the rest of his family I think it was a searing event and even years later he wrote his sister saying he couldn't think of his young son Frankie without tears welling in his. Eyes seven years after Frankie's death Ben and Debbie had a second child Sarah but Sally as she was called seems little more than a footnote to her father's illustrious life from the time sally was 12 until she was 39. More than a quarter-century Ben spent just over three years in America he even chose to stay in London when Sally was married yet she remained devoted Sally's his daughter is always trying to do things to please them and he's very grudging in his praise perhaps Sally's most pointed attempt. To win her father's approval came during his years in Paris. Sally decides to make some silk and present it to him to give to the Queen of France because she wanted to show the industriousness in American American products and help our French allies and Franklin's totally dismissive sort of saying how can you give so you know two would. Think that you should give something to the Queen of France then apparently refrain from such harsh comments in letters to his wife his absence however spoke volumes Ben was in London. Away from Debbie for nearly 20 years of their marriage his horizons broadened. He outgrew Philadelphia he grew into this larger sphere Debbie refused to join him in. London she knew she would. Have been way out of place in London she wouldn't been comfortable she would have done a disservice to herself and in certain sense she would have done a disservice to. Her husband so she stays home if Franklin felt a pang of homesickness it melted away under the care of the Stevenson's on Craven Street it was a home away from home with the added spice perhaps of romance Franklin has a funny kind of ready-made. Family approach he tends to fall in love with whole families not necessarily his own and there's a real distance there with his own family and if he could be said to have a great feeling I think it's probably in his family relations that it's most clear no matter what. Might be happening at home Ben preferred to stay in London even a family emergency couldn't lure him back November 1769 Debbie suffers a stroke in a letter to Ben she attributes. Her illness to their separation calling it dissatisfied distress I was unable to bear anymore she writes and so I fell and could not get up again the fact that he knows his wife of many years is ill he knows that she wants him to come. Home and he doesn't doesn't really speak well Frank's is attachment to this relationship Deborah Franklin died just before. Christmas 1774 she hadn't seen her husband in more than seven years perhaps the most complex of Ben's family relationships was with his first son William for most of both of their lives Benjamin and William Franklin were not. Only father and son but friends political allies confidants it was William who assisted Ben with the now legendary kite experiment in 1752 an experiment conducted in total secrecy though many illustrations show William as a young boy he was in fact in his early 20s in the decades that followed father and son grew. Ever closer they traveled together they went to the frontier together and he even brings William to England together when he becomes an ende boy of the colonies over in England while in Britain William fathered his own illegitimate son. Temple Franklin the birth of temple Ben's first grandchild was kept secret Ben assumed responsibility for the boy with William's consent they saw eye to. Eye on most important issues they were business partners William and Benjamin were involved in a plan to gain land grants in the Ohio Valley Benjamin Franklin was responsible for Williams appointment as royal governor of New Jersey. So each one was promoting. The career of the other and there was a sort of family business people sometimes criticized almost a family conspiracy the small Franklin mafia was working to promote the interests of. The Franklin family they were that close in the end however Ben's decision to embrace the revolution would tear them apart when he comes back to America right as the revolution has begun his first meeting is with his son William he tells us something that he's. Gonna become a rebel he's gonna join the cause of independence he's can become a patriot on the American cause and he asked. William to resign as royal governor of New Jersey and join the cause but William won't Williams stays loyal to the crown and what you. Have is a personal split that mirrors a political split between the mother country and the colonies the bitter split soon extends to include William's son temple than 15 there's a struggle for the soul of this kid between Benjamin Franklin and William and back and forth Temple goes from New Jersey to. Pennsylvania throughout 1775 until finally he sides with Benjamin Franklin his grandfather and becomes a revolutionary there is more. Bitterness to come in March of 1776 William learns that his father is part of a secret American mission heading to Canada to enlist support for the revolution William passes the information to his British superiors who apparently mobilize soldiers to. Intervene Franklin learned about this he. Became exceedingly heard and it became impossible for Franklin to forgive William it's it's difficult to know where to pin the blame for this I'm not even sure blame is. The right word after Washington's victory at Yorktown. There was little to keep William in America he left for England in 1782 his final meeting. With Ben came in July of 1785 been stopped in Britain on his way home from France his arrival was preceded by a letter nothing has ever hurt me so much as to find myself deserted in my old age by my only son Ben wrote William I ought not to blame your differing. In sentiment with me in public affairs though there are natural duties which precede political ones and cannot be extinguished by them the hurried meeting between Ben and William is a disaster there is no compromise no forgiveness no reconciliation William won't apologize for. What he has done Franklin of course won't. Apologize for what he has done each one believes that the other ought to be. The one making the apologies these two strong headed men Franklin now is nearly 80 William is in his 50s these are full-grown men and each one has a very firm sense of his own rectitude and they simply can't get back together Franklin has put up a wall and there's absolutely. No crossing that wall at this point he'll write his son essentially out of his will and he. Washes his hands of him all-in-all Benjamin Franklin appears painfully ungifted as a husband and father though he did spend his later years living with his daughter Sally whatever his personal shortcomings Franklin's legacy as a founding father shines with his customary brilliance as much as George Washington or Thomas. Jefferson it is Ben Franklin who would see the vision speak the wisdom and set the examples that shaped the personality of. The United States even today when Benjamin Franklin returned from. France in 1785 he was greeted as a hero Franklin was finally home to stay and the people of Philadelphia shouted their respect from every street corner whatever attentions been had withheld from his family he lavished on his country few. Had done more for America perhaps Ben's greatest contributions were his ideas bedrock beliefs upon which the United States has stood for more than 200 years in fact the very notion of a United States can be partly credited to Ben Franklin then first pitched the idea. In the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754 he published this illustration that urged the colonies to unite for the common good it is widely considered the first political cartoon in American history more than two decades later the rest of the country would come around to Ben's point of view. On July 4th 1776 the colonies finally decided to join or die the Declaration of Independence enshrined another bedrock American value the. Separation of church and state hereto been led the way Congress creates a committee in order to write the Declaration of Independence in fact it may be the last time Congress created a really good. Committee because it has John Adams Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin on it once Jefferson completes the draft he presents it to. Adams and Franklin for review Franklin looks at that second paragraph that famous second paragraph and Jefferson has written we hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable and you see the heavy backslashes of Franklin's printers pen in which he crosses it out and he writes we hold these truths. To be self-evident and his point is that our rights come from the consent of. The governed from rationality and from Reason not from the dictates of dogma of any particular religion. And what we have is a separation of church and state and how they have to be kept separate America had cut itself free from the dictates of both church and royalty yet the individual states still jealously guarded their own. Power just as they had as colonies in 1781 they grudgingly agreed to a national government but it was toothless ineffective and doomed to failure the Articles of Confederation did not allow for a strong enough central government it couldn't even impose taxes so after a while they needed to have. A constitutional convention so they could start revising the articles and what they end up doing is throwing them out totally in writing. A whole new constitution may 17 87 the Constitutional Convention assembles in Philadelphia an 81 Benjamin Franklin is the oldest of the delegates he had served in these very halls as a Pennsylvania Assemblyman when many of his colleagues had been young. Enough for diapers now from his perch. In the midst of the debate been watched as the younger generation became hopelessly deadlocked on a vital issue each state's representation in a National Congress not surprisingly it was Ben who offered up a solution Benjamin Franklin gets up and he says I'm older than the. Rest of you and the older I get the more I realize unfappable that I've made some mistakes in my time and you should realize that you're fallible. Too and perhaps the person next to you their opinion is just as valid as your own as he often did he couched his recommendation in a homely little anecdote and he said when I arranged for a carpenter to build me a table a dining room table this carpenter will have two or three pieces of wood and the pieces. Of wood won't fit perfectly together you shave a little from one side and you take a little from the other until soon you have a joint that will hold together for centuries and so too we here at this convention unless each part with some of our demands if we're going to have a constitution that will hold together. For centuries Franklin urged a compromise a legislature of two houses which we now know as the Senate and the House of Representatives in one states would have equal representation and the other seats would be apportioned by population it was absolutely important for the large states and the small states to feel that they. Had a stake in this and Franklin's recommendation for compromise was absolutely essential in giving both the large states and the small states a sense that this is going to promote their interest the proposal was accepted and written into the Constitution of the United. States perhaps the most successful. System of government ever devised yet again Ben Franklin had played a critical role 200 years later his remarkable achievements continue to define the American landscape On January 17th 1790 Benjamin Franklin marked his 84th birthday he was suffering from pleurisy and kidney stones and sometimes resorted to opium to ease the pain in early spring Ben. Took to bed after eight decades America's marvelous guiding spirit was fading among those surrounding Ben during the final days where his daughter Sally and his grandson temple Ben's old friend Polly Stevenson now a middle aged mother came from England to see him off Benjamin Franklin died on April 17th 1790 his funeral procession would be a testament to the ideals. He had lived by Franklin was the exemplar of Tolerance above all and it's seen at his funeral where instead of just his Minister accompanying the casket to the grave all 35 ministers and preachers and priests of Philadelphia when the Presbyterians to the Lutheran's to. The Catholics to the Quakers to the. Rabbi of the Jews all march arm-in-arm with his casket as he's being carried to the grave every biographer basically brings his subject into his home for a while Franklin was the most wonderful houseguest and biographers probably are supposed to admit this but I really did shed a tear when Franklin died I was really sorry. To see him go Benjamin Franklin however is still very much with us this program was produced a Google search on Ben would. Rack up almost three and a half million hits less than half as many as George Washington but a lot more than Abraham Lincoln or even Mick Jagger city's schools colleges streets businesses and even to presidents Franklin. Pierce and Franklin Roosevelt. Have been named after been a steady stream of books and souvenirs continues the fad that long ago raged through Paris there is even a Ben Franklin action figure Ben's final resting place has long been a pilgrimage site in the late 1800s brides bound for the altar would stop to toss penny. On his grave for good luck some 70 years after Ben's death a section of the cemetery wall near his grave was replaced with wrought iron fencing ever since been has been accessible 24/7 even today visitors leave offerings of pennies not unlike the. Notes and tokens left for Saints around the world he's a founding father you can really relate to you got people like Washington or up there and marble on some pedestal and you're scared to go near them. Or touch them but Franklin is the patron saint of the common person Jefferson Washington. Those members of the founding generation stand above and apart from everybody else with Franklin he's right there on a busy street corner in Philadelphia and. He seems to be one of us in a way that most of the other members of the founding generation were not not everyone has wanted to be like. Ben Mark Twain himself a master apparently was one of many who took a good-natured shot at Ben's autobiography he was always proud of telling how he entered. Philadelphia for the first time noted Twain with nothing in the world but two shillings in his pocket four rolls of bread under his arm but really when you come to examine it critically it. Was nothing anybody could have done it as for Franklin himself he remains in the end something of a mystery what are we to make of a man who had a thousand faces a man who fit in both with royalty and with tradesmen. Who was equally comfortable addressing Parliament of whispering to perish in ladies a man who passed up a fortune so that a million strangers would be safe from lightning yet slammed the door on. His only surviving son I think Franklin became so benevolent so. Wondrously been that he was trapped not in a role but in the proliferation of roles and he mystifies everybody. Who tries to study him there's one of his biographers who speculated that Franklin might be the only person in human history without an unconscious that there was no inner life there is no deep Franklin there. Is no secret Franklin and I think that the biographers have felt this that he's a wraith he's a ghost he Flitz out of their grasp just when they think they have so they. Have recourse to things like his. Vast curiosity but. That's just a cover for. Saying. We don't know what makes him tick you.


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