Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of the United States, a revolutionary figure, an inventor, a co-author to the Constitution, a husband and also a father. He was fascinated by all types of knowledge and wanted to do whatever he could to improve life for mankind. He began writing his Autobiography as a memoir to his son William, but after it was written, it was found that the book appealed to a much larger audience. The initial intention of the book deviated as well, with the introduction of the “13 virtues”; it changes from a story of one man’s life to a manual for self-improvement. It is unknown if Franklin intended for his book to eventually become a self-improvement book or was simply written with the intention of sharing the tale of his life, but the book became a model for self-help books to come.

The book begins with Franklin writing stories to William.. His intentions for doing so are for his son to use his life as an example of how he should live his own life. Franklin goes on to tell his son that he’s lived a good life, one worth repeating and would desire to correct only a few minor faults. He continues “Since such a repetition is not to be expected the next thing most like living one’s life over again seems to be recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.” () Franklin even goes on to tell his son that the Autobiography does a good deal to gratify his vanity, a virtue he never could quite perfect.

At the close of Part 1 it is mentioned that what has been written so far is nothing but anecdotal stories, important only to family members, and Franklin is left wondering if he should end the book there or proceed with publishing it. However, in the beginning of Part 2, after receiving responses from two different letters, Franklin is encouraged to continue on with the writings and complete the book. His friend and author of the first letter, Mr. Abel, states, “ I know of no...
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