Ben Franklin Essay, Research Paper
Who was he?
In reading the Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography one can see the true character of a great man. But some may argue that this man, deep down inside, was not so great. Through out his book he touches on many aspects of his life. He lets the readers have a glimpse at what he was thinking and why he did things the way he did. Some critics do not agree that Franklin was such a noble man. They thought he might not have been telling his whole story, and that he was hiding a lot he had to offer. This paper will look at how one critic portrays Franklin—” Benjamin had no concern, really, for the immortal soul. He was too busy with the social man (292).” This critic is D.H. Lawrence.
In Lawrence’s piece he disagrees on what Franklin believes in and what his standards are. Most of Lawrence’s argument comes from a disagreement with how Franklin expresses how he works to what he really does when he works. He thinks Franklin is more of a social man, a man of himself, more than man of the people. Lawrence has looked at how Franklin didn’t come to invent things or try and help others, more than he was out to help himself.
Through out Lawrence’s critic of Franklin, he really lays into the high-powered man. At one point in his writings he says, “I admire him. I admire his sturdy courage first of all…I do not like him (293).” This is how a lot of critics and Americans have felt about Franklin. Yes, he might have helped us all out. Yes, he has made advancements for the good of the country. But was he out for making a buck?
Lawrence then again in the next paragraph says, “Because, although I still believe that honesty is
the best policy, I dislike policy…(293).” At this point in his piece, Lawrence is really reaching to disagree with everything Franklin says and stands for. The opinion of many might have been that Franklin as a harsh and cutthroat man, but isn’t that the way to get by in America? Is that why foreigners come to this great nation, the land of opportunity?
In Franklin’s autobiography it says that he was a hard workingman. It said he would stay to all hours of the night to get things done. He would wake up in the morning and get to work early. This shows all his doubters that he really did care, and was really hard working. Who cares if he was selfish? Is that a crime? Well D.H. Lawrence, it’s not!
Franklin carried himself with such dignity that he was proud of where he worked. Some nights he would cart a wheelbarrow full of papers home with him to work on deep into the night. Even if he might not have worked on those papers there, no one will ever know.
Lawrence’s argument that Franklin was a greedy and unjust man is an argument that he would never win. Lawrence, and no one else for that matter, will ever see what that man was really all about. So why persecute a man, and his legacy, to something one cannot prove? If D.H, Lawrence were to take a long look at other successful businessmen in America he might find the same virtues of Franklin. But who will persecute them?