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Ben Franklin's Autobiography Essay

3092 words - 12 pages

It has been said ordinary people can identify with me in ways they cannot with the other founders. Washington is too awesome to be approached while Thomas Jefferson is too aristocratic, besides he has slaves and has never had the inclination to release them. Alex, Hamilton that is, is much too arrogant. I am an American printer, journalist, inventor, civic leader, author, diplomat, philosopher, scientist, politician, statesman and postal administrator, least thou forget an expert swimmer and flirtatious ladies man. I have contributed to the cause of the American Revolution and helped put together our Federal Government. I have come from a meager means to what I am today. Through my life, spanning most of the eighteenth century, I saw the rise of the American people from impoverished submissive individuals to political independence with a great future.On the seventeenth of January, 1706 I was born the son of a candle maker. I attended grammar school for a couple of years in preparation for the ministry. This however did not work out and I went into my fathers business to learn a trade, which was a miserable existence. I remember; ?in cutting Wick for the Candles, filling the Dipping Mold, & Molds for cast candles, going on Errands, it was in many ways a miserable existence? (Clark 13). My brother James, a printer, took me in to be an apprentice, learning a printers trade. The work was heavy manual labor although I am a tall, heavy set type of fellow and it gives me a chance to meet journalist and authors with access to better books. I deliver papers by day and compose articles in the evening hours. Brother James was sentenced to prison for a month and upon his release was told not to print the New England Courant, and for a brief period of time it was under my name. Brother James and I were in disagreement so off to Philadelphia I went. I arrived with nothing except the dirty cloths I was wearing. My muscular stature and quick wit enabled me to look after myself in this rough town of Philly. I quickly found employment. The Governor noticed my talent and suggested I go into business for myself. I went to see my father with a note from the Governor to see if he would set me up in my business, but he could not afford the extra money, so it was back to Philadelphia for me. Upon my return and hearing that my father failed to finance my venture, the Governor himself decided to finance it. I recall being excited going off to London aboard the London Hope to purchase the equipment, however, I have not received the letter of credit yet. It was a small vessel with huge waves pounding at its sides. We were below in near darkness and the days seemed to last forever. The smell was horrendous and the ship had many diseases aboard as many died on trips such as these. Our diet consisted of salt-pork and beef with hard biscuits and our only thoughts were the end of the 3000 mile voyage. I obtained employment at Palmer?s and Watts and my accomplishments soon...

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