By Benjamin Franklin

ISBN-10: 0521542650

ISBN-13: 9780521542654

Benjamin Franklin is among the top recognized and least understood figures within the background of eighteenth-century political notion. Alan Houston clarifies our knowing of his suggestion via making to be had a consultant choice of his most crucial political writings. the whole textual content of the Autobiography is incorporated along letters, essays, pamphlets, and manuscript notes that disguise political financial system, ethical psychology, and spiritual trust and perform, between different themes.

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Example text

Consider the Junto, the “club for mutual improvement” that Franklin and his Philadelphia friends – printers, scriveners, shoemakers, and joiners – formed in . Meeting on Friday evenings, members of the Junto provided mutual support, exchanged information and discussed moral, political, economic and scientific topics. Among the topics they handled were: Whether Men ought to be denominated Good or ill Men from their Actions or their Inclinations? If the Sovereign Power attempts to deprive a Subject of his Right, (or which is the same Thing, of what he thinks his Right) is it justifiable in him to resist if he is able?

You may remember the Enquiries I made among the Remains of my Relations when you were with me in England; and the Journey I took for that purpose. Now imagining it may be equally agreable to you to know the Circumstances of my Life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with; and expecting a Weeks uninterrupted Leisure in my present Country Retirement, I sit down to write them for you. To which I have besides some other Inducements. ——That Felicity, when I reflected on it, has induc’d me sometimes to say, that were it offer’d to my Choice, I should have no Objection to a Repetition of the same Life from its Beginning, only asking the Advantage Authors have in a second Edition to correct some Faults of the first.

Lawrence’s “Benjamin Franklin,” Studies in Classic American Literature (New York, ), –, accuses Franklin of being a shallow, guileful materialist. Less acidic, but still within the Lawrence tradition, are Mitchell Robert Breitweiser, Cotton Mather and Benjamin Franklin (Cambridge, ) and Ormond Seavey, Becoming Benjamin Franklin (University Park, PA, ). Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, , trans. Talcott Parsons (London, ), argues that Franklin exhibited with “almost classic purity” the ethos of rational acquisition that gave rise to Western capitalism.

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Franklin: The autobiography and other writings on politics, economics, and virtue by Benjamin Franklin


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