Benjamin Franklin Essay Research Paper The Personality

Benjamin Franklin Essay, Research Paper

The Personality of Benjamin Franklin

The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the story of his life written in

the first person. All experiences in the book are told from Ben?s point of

view. There is a slight possibility that not all of this information is exactly

true, or if all of the events in his life are accounted for. When writing this

autobiography, Franklin had the power to choose what he wanted the readers to

know and what he wanted to keep to himself. Although he admits to some mistakes

that he has made, and usually tells how he corrected them, there is no definite

way to ever know if these accounts of his personal life are necessarily true.

There is historical evidence to many of his inventions and ideas, but some of

the events that Ben writes about his life could all be sugarcoated coincidences

or strokes of luck that he happened to come across through his many traveling


In knowing this before reading the autobiography, my mind was set on the fact

that the truth of this book could possibly be stretched a little. Even though

that was the case, I was intrigued by the wit and humor of Benjamin Franklin?s

personality. Just by reading his story, I could tell that his personality was

fueled by an extremely intelligent and creative mind. He seemed to be a type of

person who would not let anyone take advantage of him and, if they happened to,

he knew exactly how to handle himself in any situation. He knew the right person

to help him for any problem that should arise and he knew who to keep distant

and who to keep near. Franklin quotes an old Maxim that he learned which says,

?He that has once done you Kindness will be more ready to do you another, than

whom you yourself have obliged? (105). This means that someone you have

thanked and shown appreciation to for a favor they have done for you will be

more likely to do another one for you rather than someone that you just say a

quick ?thanks? to and do not show them appreciation for the favor. Franklin

never wanted to burn any bridges, so it seemed. He never knew when he might run

into a problem and may need some help again.

In the beginning of Franklin?s life, it seemed that he was somewhat

self-centered and tried to do things so that they would eventually benefit him

somehow in the long-run. It is apparent that he was very goal-oriented. He

focused on the future of his work as a printer so diligently that eventually,

after years and years of practice and determination, he mastered the art of

printing. He eventually could write articles without writing them down on paper

first. Ben could see the sentences in his mind and just line up the letters with

out taking a second to think. Everything came naturally to him. Reading was one

of his favorite pastimes. Reading could possibly be one of the roots to his

advanced intelligence. Another root to his creative mind is how observant he

was. Franklin was a person who knew how to read people and enjoyed doing it. He

seemed to be constantly observing his surroundings and this led him to be able

to adapt to all of what life had to give him. Franklin could take things in

stride, learn from his mistakes and know how to operate correctly the next time.

Although Ben Franklin was what seems to me to be self-centered, I believe that

he had to be that way in order to be that successful and intelligent. His

self-actualization led him to be successful, which created a path for him to

walk on that would eventually benefit the nation.

As he grew older and, from the reader?s perspective, wiser he liked to

socialize with a group which Ben created called the Junto. The Junto was a place

where men could write essays and hear the essays of others and have group

discussions where everyone was free to express their own opinions. This

benefited the education of the town that Franklin lived in at that time. The

time Benjamin spent at the Junto was another opportunity for him to observe the

people there and learn from their essays and experiences. This also gave Ben the

chance to show off his intelligence and gain some respect from the other

gentlemen who were interactive in the Junto. Ben tells about the Junto when he

says, ?I had form?d most of my ingenious Acquaintance into a Club, for

mutual Improvement?? (72). Obviously this was a club for only the rich

and/or the intelligent. Franklin always fell in the intelligent category and

swayed in and out of the rich one.

Franklin was very intelligent and intriguing, yet there was always a slight

sense of arrogance in his ways, especially when he was younger. One instance of

arrogance on his part, or maybe even ignorance, was when he lost his son to a

totally avoidable circumstance. Franklin?s son died of smallpox and in that

time there was a vaccination for smallpox but when a child received the vaccine

there was a very small chance of getting smallpox. So, some parents would not

pay to have their children get the vaccination and risk the chance of the

children getting it on their own. This is the chance Ben took and his son

contracted the disease. Whether it was ignorance or arrogance, Franklin should

have known better then to take that risk. He admits that the death of his son

was one of his biggest downfalls, and one of his biggest ?Erratums,? or

mistakes that he has made. Unfortunately, he could not fix this Erratum.

Franklin shows his regret when he says, ??my Example showing that the Regret

may be the same either way, and that therefor the safer should be chosen?


Benjamin Franklin was a man of great success in the eyes of readers of his

autobiography and in the eyes of people all over the world. While reading the

book, I often wondered if Franklin was so intelligent that he could accomplish

almost anything, or if he was just extremely lucky throughout his whole life to

fall into all of these opportunities to take control and show the world what he

could do. My father had always told me throughout my whole life that, ?Luck is

when preparation and opportunity collide.? Taking my father?s advice, I

applied it to the life of Ben Franklin. Although Franklin may have come across

some lucky streaks throughout his life, he was always prepared mentally and

physically to face the next obstacle to cross his path. This strategy of

preparation made Benjamin Franklin who he was then and what he is remembered for



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