. Essay, Research Paper
Why Benjamin Franklin Embodies The American Enlightenment.
During the sixteen and seventeen hundreds an enlightenment was taking place. An American enlightenment. During this enlightenment people began to view things differently. They began to ask questions like how and why. People instead of looking to god for an answer they looked to science. They began to view things as miracles of chance instead creations of god. Benjamin Franklin, a New England puritan, ironically embodied this enlightenment.
Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 to a tallow maker. He became a printers apprentice and began to write a number of satiric pieces for his brothers paper. Though he was puritan he viewed things differently. In his life time he invented many things including the glass harmonica, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. Though he was puritan he performed many scientific experiments. He, along with many other people began to view his education on a different level with god. He instead of relying on god for his answers began to find them for himself. This view of science was becoming more and more widespread. People during the enlightenment viewed science as a completely different topic than religion, though the two were quite overlapped at the time. All the previous information had been basic and ruled by the church. The church s view of science was that it was a sin. Though people were viewing science as tool they were wary of the repercussions of using it. Benjamin Franklin used science to try to make himself perfect by making a list of what he viewed as virtues. The list is as follows:
h Temperance- Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
h Silence- Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
h Order- Let all things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
h Resolution- Resolve to perform what you ought: perform without fail what you resolve.
h Frugality- Make no expense but to good to others or yourself.
h Industry- Lose no time: be always employed in something useful: cut off all unnecessary actions.
h Sincerity- Use no hurtful deceit
h Justice- Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
h Moderation- Avoid extremes
h Cleanliness- Tolerate no uncleanness in body
h Tranquility- Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
h Chastity- Rarely use venery but for health or offspring.
h Humility- Imitate Jesus and Socrates
Franklin used this list scientifically by creating a chart and attempting to perfect himself by following his list. An experiment. His results: No man can be perfect, it is impossible. Franklin realized some unchangeable truths, the basis of science. Many followed Franklin s example and applied science to their own lives. This leading the American Enlightenment.
Benjamin Franklin not only embodied the American Enlightenment, he helped to lead it. Many followed his examples and created the train that led to our views of the world today. His use of science gave us many tools we still use today. Franklin today is known as a scholar, musician, superb politician and for his superb wit. What we have omitted in remembering though is his leading role in the American enlightenment.