Monday, November 03, 2008

Book Review: Benjamin Franklin

I've read a few biographies of the founders of our nation, as I continue to read these I find myself somewhat disenfranchised by the truth of what these people were and did from the romanticised versions of them that I had in my mind. These men were not the demi-gods that even Thomas Jefferson claimed that they were, yet the same small group of men had the biggest impact on the history of the nation.

Now I'm more pragmatic than I was in my younger days, it's the actual details of things that they did and the struggles that they faced that I admire over the romantic views that I held of them as a younger man.

Benjamin Franklin is a pragmatist, like myself, an extremely inventive and scientific person, and probably the biggest single influence on the structure of the government with which we live in today. He is the only individual to have signed and worked on The Declaration of Independence. The Treaty with France which won us the Revolutionary War, the Peace treaty with Britain to end the war, and the Constitution of the United States. I believe that the reason that our country has done so well since it's founding is that these documents and all that they stand for were shaped by this man who was born poor in Boston and ran away from home at the age of 17 to Philadelphia. This man who started and ran his own printing shop, and started with nothing, yet he dined with Kings.

Benjamin Franklin is not the person I want to be like as a family man, or even with his friendships in general, since they were shallow and short in most cases. However, he was very passionate about helping people in general and in giving the common man power in government. It's that passion that has made America strong and keeps it strong.

I definitely recommend this book. I hope you read and enjoy it.