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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Essay by   •  September 22, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,069 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,842 Views

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A major theme in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is self-improvement. His rags-to-riches story showed all that self-improvement, self-discipline, and self-education is the key to success. Franklin was born into a family of seventeen children as the son of a poor candle maker. Franklin's entire life reflected around his belief that you could improve anything about yourself. From a young age till he died in 1790, he demonstrated how you could improve your own mind, body and behavior.

Franklin worked for everything that he had in his life. On April 17, 1790 when Franklin passed away, he died a wealthy and well-known man. He did all this through teaching himself different trades and gaining knowledge from books and different people he met through his travels. "Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means I made use of, which with the blessing of God so well succeeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore fit to be imitated." (Franklin 1909, 3-4)

Franklin was born into a very poor family so even from a young age he had to work for any money that he could get. Franklin was very fond of books, and he would use any money that he got to buy books. His father would take him on walks around town to visit other businessmen. Franklin would observe them at work and take home what he learned to do little chores around the house. He could absorb any trade, knowledge or trait from anyone he came across. His father sent him to work for his brother James as a printer. Franklin became very skillful at this trade in a matter of no time. This job gave him the ability to buy better books. Franklin was an avid reader, and loved to learn anything he could from the different books he got his hands onto. Being such an avid reader helped him to form Junto in 1727. Junto was a debating club where people came to discuss and debate on intellectual topics.

From books, Franklin taught himself to speak French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. He could teach himself anything. Anything that Franklin had a desire to learn he would find a way to gain knowledge about it. Any trade that he started he would succeed in. Over his eighty four year life he gained many titles. Clerk of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, Deputy Postmaster of Philadelphia, Post Master General of the United States, and Commissioner of the Peace were a few titles in worked hard for over his years. Along with all of these titles he earned, Franklin was a known publisher, inventor, diplomat, and political philosopher.

While working at his brother's printing company Franklin began writing. He wanted to improve his writing abilities so he studied different authors and practiced writing different essays. He even began to write poetry, which his brother encouraged him to sell. Franklin would sneak articles under his brother's door at the newspaper so he would hopefully publish them, not knowing they were his. This paper ended up being called, Benjamin

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