Benjamin behind the scenes, all lent a

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin was a remarkably talented man. He started his careeras a simple printer apprentice, but went far beyond the printers shop.

Hedeveloped products that were far beyond the time. The Franklin stove forexample, for cold winter nights and bifocal lenses for reading. Franklintracked storm paths to help understand the wicked weather endured by thecolonies. His study of electricity made him most famous for he was known aroundthe world as the inventor of the lightning rod. Not only was Ben Franklinhelpful in developing ideas for better living, he was also a strong force indeveloping the new nation of America. Benjamin Franklin’s political viewsshowed him to be a man who loved freedom and self-government. His views towardsBritain gradually changed from favor to disfavor until he finally became arevolutionist at the age of 70.

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But more than just his political views help inthe formation of the United States. His common sense, his whit, and his abilityto negotiate behind the scenes, all lent a hand in the formation of the newcountry across the sea. Franklin’s good humor and gift for compromise oftenhelped prevent bitter disputes which could have stalled the formation of the newgovernment.Interestingly, Ben Franklin, who was a chief participant in the battlefor independence, “had a lot to lose by it.” (Wright 1986, page 204). He had aresidence in London and was influential in England.

However, his love ofliberty and his desire to promote the well being of Pennsylvania pushed himtoward independence for the colonies. Franklin had to wrestle with hisconscience over his own private affairs. Also, since he was well respected inEngland, he was “the Establishment man-even if he felt now a deep unease on thebasic question: What was the authority of Parliament over the Americancolonies?” (Wright, page 205).

At first Franklin wanted the colonies to be andindependent free nation under the caring and protecting umbrella of the BritishEmpire. “He had dream…of a great British Empire, gridding the globe, basedupon a commonwealth of free nations, each with its own laws, its own governmentand freedoms, but bound together by compact with the Crown for mutual benefit,mutual defense, and the propagation of English freedoms.” (Schoenbrun 1976,page 5).

As stated earlier, Franklin did not contemplate separation fromBritain for he regarded Britain as “having the freest, best government in theworld.” (Ketcham 1993,page3). Franklin proposed self-government for theAmerican colonies. Historically, Ben Franklin was in favor of self-government.In fact, nearly forty years of service as a public official began when Franklinwas elected for the Pennsylvania Assembly. At first, he wanted to get supportfor various civic causes but soon partisan politics held his undivided attention.Further, as the legislature strategist and writer for the weakly formed Quakerparty, “he defended the powers of the elected representatives of the people.Franklin thus the virtues of self-government a generation before the Declarationof Independence.

” (Ketcham, page 3).Further, Benjamin Franklin’s political views with regard to variousBritish taxation upon the colonists show him leaning away from Britain. TheTownshend Acts, Stamp Act, and other taxes and duties on colonial goods wereopposed by Franklin. He wrote in connection with the American Stamp Acts, “TheSovereignty of the British Legislature out of Britain, I do not understand.”(Wright, page 207). Franklin felt that the colonies were capable of writingtheir own legislation. The colonies had their own parliaments and Franklin wasconfidant that these assemblies could properly legislate for the colony. In oneof Franklin’s letters he writes that possibly an extreme case would be best.

“Either Parliament could make all the laws for the colonies on it could make none,and he preferred to latter view.” (Aldrige 1965, page 195). The crisis broughtabout by the Stamp Act propelled Franklin into a new role as chief defender ofAmerican rights in Britain. At first, Franklin urged to colonists to beobedient to the act until it could be repealed. However, when Franklin beard ofthe violent protest against it in America, he became more opposed to it.

“Afterthe repeal of the Stamp Act, Franklin reaffirmed his love for the British Empireand his desire to see the union of mother country and colonies, but he alsowarned that the colonist wanted liberty and would stop at nothing to achieve it.”(Ketcham, page 3).Not only did Benjamin Franklin love liberty, he also had great skill asa diplomat. In this role, Franklin


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