Seven Great Virtues: Benjamin Franklin Presentation

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9/24/12

Essay #6

Jessica Brooks

Pd. 2

The essay Citizen Ben: A worldly American’s Seven Great Virtues by Walter Isaacson is an essay begins talking about Benjamin Franklin. When we think of Benjamin Franklin our minds automatically turn to the story about him flying a kite in a lightening storm with a rod on to prove that lightening was electricity. This is one thing that Franklin did but he did many more as well, in fact it says that he was an inventor diplomat, writer and business strategist. He helped bring the country that we live in today about. There are many views on him that show him in a good light and some that show him in a bad light. There are some that saw that he was shallow and didn’t show great religious passions for the man who came to America to bring about religious tolerance. While others say that he was “an exemplar of the personal character and civic virtue that are too often missing in today’s world.” Even after all of these opinions his actions showed that he wanted to live a good life through good works and making other peoples lives better.

The first of the seven great virtues talked about how Franklin didn’t really care about what people thought about his opinions. He created an alliace in order to get his feelings printed by his brother’s shop. They talked about how Franklin didn’t like the Puritan way of government. He thought that church and state needed to be separate, however you should not leave your religious beliefs behind. Throughout Franklin’s life he did a lot of compromising, the one thing that he would not compromise on was his aversion to tyranny. These beliefs made him become a founding father for his views on English’s taxes and other things.

Freedom of expression is one of the basic rights that Americans have, in fact it is in the First Amendment. Benjamin Franklin strongly believed in the importance of freedom of expression. Not only was it important to be able to living in a society that wasn’t always monitored and controlling but it go rid of tyranny. He said that if there was tyranny then there is no freedom of expression. When he first opened up his own paper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, he realized that there wouldn’t be any need for a paper if people didn’t have their own opinions because everybody would be say thing the same thing. He thought that as a printer it was his responsibility to print peoples opinions but at the same time it was his responsibility to not let things be published that can do real damage to a person. When he was a candidate in the 1764 Pennsylvania Assembly election there was some very nasty articles and pamphlets coming out about his life. This is to be expected during an election but these were the most brutal things said during any election, and yet Franklin didn’t even thinking about taking an action towards them because he saw that they were just voicing their opinions and it wasn’t his job to take away their right of expression. To us this right is sometimes taken for granted because we’ve always had it but for Franklin it was extremely important. Isaacson said “democracy was build on a foundation of unbridled free speech.” This is very true because without this freedom of speech a democracy would be very hard.

Franklin was a man who understood people and their ways of thinking a lot better than most give him credit for. Human being never want to see the flaws in themselves. This is why when you tell someone something that they aren’t going to like you either have to come right out and say it or you have to disguise it as something else, usually something funny. Franklin was very good at this. He used fake characters a lot of time to tell his opinions and show his intentions. Another tactic he used was hoaxes he wrote a hoax called, “The Speech of Polly Baker”. This was about a young woman who was being put on trial for having her 5th illegitimate child and she told about what happened to her that made her...
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