The Franklins Essay

1015 words - 5 pages

“Indeed nothing has ever hurt me so much and affected me with such keen Sensations, as to find myself deserted in my old Age by my only Son; and not only deserted, but to find him taking up Arms against me, in a Cause, wherein my good Fame, Fortune and Life were all at Stake.” Benjamin Franklin wrote these words in 1784 after receiving a letter from his son, William, asking for amends. As it is perceived, there are clearly hurt feelings in their father and son relationship. What could have possibly forced these two men to have different opinions regarding the Revolution, how did their responses to separate hardships shape their involvement, and could they be representative for average Patriots or Loyalists at this time? Well, Benjamin and William’s transition in their relationship occurred because of their economic, personal, and political circumstances and their responses to these differences changed their viewpoints drastically.
Benjamin and William had very different economic, political, and personal circumstances. For instance, Benjamin was a self-made man, who had run away to become influential in the colonial world. He became a Philadelphia printer, then a statesman, and was even able to retire in his forties. Benjamin had a lot of pride in Great Britain and was extremely loyal up to this point. But in 1774, his mood towards Britain changed greatly after his ordeal before the Privy Council. They humiliated him and then the government took away his post office position. He acted indifferent but his view on Great Britain was never the same. On the other hand, William Franklin was raised in different circumstances. Though he was an illegitimate child without a proper mother, he was raised in stable economic conditions. He visited London with his father and was very well educated. Through connections, he was eventually appointed the royal governor of New Jersey. Becoming a royal governor changed a lot for William, and he was now forced (and even wanted to) to rely on Great Britain. In his speech in 1775, he demonstrates how much he believes in the British government and supports the colonies through obeying the laws made by Britain.
Benjamin and William Franklin each had different responses to their hardships that shaped their involvement in the Revolution, and eventually dragged them apart. As stated before, Benjamin was a self-made man who had been humiliated by the British government. These circumstances shaped his involvement in the Revolution because he had lost special ties to Britain and had been turned away on a personal level. Though for the time before his humiliation, Benjamin didn’t quite want to be seen as a Patriot. He writes, “I do not undertake here to support these opinions of the Americans” and clarifies that he is just being “an impartial historian of American facts and opinions.” He understands that Great Britain is in fact the mother country of the colonies, but he also realizes that they are taking away special...

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