Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter IsaacsonBenjamin Franklin is the Founding Father who winks at us. An ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings, he seems made of flesh rather than of marble. In bestselling author Walter Isaacsons vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin seems to turn to us from historys stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. By bringing Franklin to life, Isaacson shows how he helped to define both his own time and ours.
He was, during his 84-year life, Americas best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical—though not most profound—political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite that lightning was electricity, and he invented a rod to tame it. He sought practical ways to make stoves less smoky and commonwealths less corrupt. He organized neighborhood constabularies and international alliances, local lending libraries and national legislatures. He combined two types of lenses to create bifocals and two concepts of representation to foster the nations federal compromise. He was the only man who shaped all the founding documents of America: the Albany Plan of Union, the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with France, the peace treaty with England, and the Constitution. And he helped invent Americas unique style of homespun humor, democratic values, and philosophical pragmatism.
But the most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. Americas first great publicist, he was, in his life and in his writings, consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity.
Through it all, he trusted the hearts and minds of his fellow leather-aprons more than he did those of any inbred elite. He saw middle-class values as a source of social strength, not as something to be derided. His guiding principle was a dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklins amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklins tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
Benjamin Franklin: Beloved Founding Father... and Womanizer?
Nolan Moore , Updated June 5, Although he never actually campaigned for the turkey to represent the US. Really, this guy needs an entire list dedicated to his crazy achievements. Benjamin Franklin was a man who enjoyed his wine. While no heavy drinker, Franklin kept 1, bottles of Bordeaux, champagne, and sherry locked away in his Paris home. Thus they went astray, became abominably wicked, and were justly exterminated by water, which they loved to drink.
A portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Photo: Getty Images. Benjamin Franklin was a lover of knowledge; after all, he was the quintessential Renaissance man. He gave us the lightening rod, the Franklin stove, bifocals, and Poor Richard's Almanack. He was also an indispensable politician and civic activist who not only helped lay the groundwork for the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution but was also the country's first ambassador to France. As a teenager, he made advances towards his good friend's mistress yes, that was the end of their friendship , and let's not forget in his early 20s, he fathered an illegitimate child whom his wife, Rebecca, would eventually help raise. Franklin's libido was apparently so strong, he himself was scared of it.
In his writings and public pronouncements, Benjamin Franklin comes the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography is devoting its.
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Benjamin Franklin is one of the key figureheads of American history. A brilliant inventor, publisher, politician, and ambassador, the founding father wore many different hats in his lifetime. But did you know he was the first to suggest an idea similar to Daylight Saving Time? And that he invented a musical instrument that Beethoven and Mozart loved so much they wrote music for it? Benjamin Franklin is not credited with inventing what we now know as Daylight Saving Time, but he did structure a remarkably similar argument for re-arranging sleep schedules — and was the first person to ever have such an idea. In , when Franklin was 78 years old and serving as an ambassador to France, he was unpleasantly awoken from the summer sun at 6 a.