ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Franklin's Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin

Updated on May 5, 2010

Franklin's Autobiography, written by Benjamin Franklin at four intervals between 1771 and 1789, relates events in his life from his birth in 1706 through the late 1750's. It was published posthumously, in four parts—some in French, some in English—between 1791 and 1828. The whole book was first published in 1868, edited by John Bigelow.

The first installment, written while Franklin was visiting the bishop of St. Asaph at Twyford, England, carried the narrative to 1731. Intended for Franklin's own posterity, it contains what he called "several little family anecdotes of no importance to others." However, friends persuaded him, after the American Revolution, to continue the account for the sake of the public. At Passy, France, in 1784, he wrote the engaging pages that tell of his early religious speculations and his pursuit of moral perfection. In 1788, at home in Philadelphia, he brought his history from 1731 to 1757, and shortly before his death early in 1790, he added a brief section dealing with his initial trials as London agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly.

Franklin was already a great diplomat and statesman and an honored citizen of the world when he began the autobiography, but he assumed no posture in presenting his small beginnings as a printer and provincial politician. Nothing can exceed the candor with which he tells of his struggles for a livelihood, unless it be the lack of modesty with which he recounts his successes. In the Autobiography he is actually the hero of one of the few universally interesting plots—that in which a person wins his way unaided. There is something essentially dramatic in Franklin's steady progress to wealth and influence; he had the golden touch that turns every material thing to some human advantage. Yet the book has no romantic coloring. The family anecdotes are neither intimate nor sentimental, and the comments upon style, politics, morals, and religion take no higher tone than that of good sense. His noble achievements as scientist and philanthropist are narrated as quietly as the purchase of his first silver spoon. In part, of course, this classic simplicity is due to the fact that Franklin wrote as a richly experienced man, incomparably bland, smooth-tempered, prudent, and just; but it is due even more to the fact that Franklin was, above all, the citizen—that his life was thoroughly enveloped in civic affairs. His language is the plain speech of a man who has no private eccentricities of thought or feeling; he chose to tell about himself what he knew, from his wide knowledge of the world, that the world would want to know. One of the greatest of autobiographies, Franklin's Autobiography established the straightforward, realistic style followed by most modern autobiographers.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)