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The Making Of A Patriot, By Sheila L. Skemp

1483 words - 6 pages

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers to the United States, was not a patriot but a mere loyalist to England before the dissolution between England and the colonies occurred. Sheila L. Skemp's The Making of a Patriot explores how Benjamin Franklin tried to stay loyal to the crown while taking interest in the colonies perception and their own representation in Parliament. While Ms. Skemp alludes to Franklin's loyalty, her main illustration is how the attack by Alexander Wedderburn during the Privy Council led to Franklin's disillusionment with the British crown and the greater interest in making the Thirteen Colonies their own nation. Her analysis of Franklin's history in Parliament and what occurred on the night that the council convened proves the change behind Franklin's beliefs and what lead to his involvement in the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution.
Benjamin Franklin was the colonial agent representing Massachusetts in Parliament in Britain. During his time of representation, several events were occurring that were essentially leading to a rift between the colonies and Britain. The Tea Act was an act that allowed only the sale of tea that was manufactured by the East India Company. The monopoly was put in place by Parliament to help bail out the company that was bankrupt and ship out the excess tea in the warehouses. In effect, this helped people in Parliament who were stockholders from losing on their monetary gains from the company. Many of the colonists were angry and opposed this act by simply boycotting the tea. The resistance against the Tea Act was felt all around the Thirteen Colonies, with several citizens in Boston taking matters into their own hands. The Boston Tea Party, which took place on December 16, 1773, saw colonists dressed as Native Americans board British vessels and dump tea into the Boston Harbor. Furthermore, the people of Boston did not want several representatives in place for their state any longer and requested the removal of these representatives- Hutchinson and Oliver. Franklin simply delivered the notice on the behalf of the Massachusetts Assembly. The night of January 29, 1774, in which the Privy Council met in the Cockpit proved to be fatal for Franklin. Looking for someone to blame, the council decided to make Franklin the perpetrator and simply damage his reputation, not only in Parliament nor the Cockpit, but overall. In her book, Sheila L. Skemp takes into consideration what had occurred that night and the events leading up to it and argues that the night of the Cockpit fundamentally changed Franklin's loyalty to the Crown and made him a patriot who sought to end the oppression at the hands of Britain.
Throughout the novel, Ms. Kemp uses an electrifying way to describe what had led up to the Cockpit. She does not only focus on the event that took place on the fatal night, but gives us insight on the history before the night occurred. In Chapter 1, the events of the...

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