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A Prominent Individual

Benjamin Franklin was a very prominent figure in shaping our nation. Many people look at him as a role model or just as an amazing individual. He had his faults just like every human being had, and he shouldn’t be discredited because of a few minor glitches to his character. As being the only person that had signed The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Treaty of Paris, this immediately separates him from all others. One of the things that he wrote about in Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings, was trying to be the ideal person, and even made a list of virtues to live by. His virtues were very important to his lifestyle, and he followed them to a great extent.

One of his important virtues was humility. It was simply stated: “Imitate Jesus and Socrates.” From the beginning of Franklin’s life, when he went to grammar school he was always interested in learning. His father took him from grammar school and his next move was to be an apprentice to his brother as a printer. With undying love for knowledge he continued to learn how to read and write well. “From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books” (Franklin 13). He continually got books from other print shops and stores to read on the side of working. One of the writings that touched him the most was the Socratic dialogue that he read in the back of a grammar book that he borrowed. He continued his research on Socrates, and therefore the Socratic method became a driving force in his beliefs. That is why he states that we should ‘Imitate Jesus and Socrates’. Their views must have some basis in common in order for him to look up to them that much.
“My intentions were to acquire the Habitude of all these virtues, I judg’d it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it one of them at a time, and when I should be master of that, then proceed to another, and so on till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen” (Franklin 93). He believes that if he masters all of these virtues that he will become the perfect individual. If humility is the thirteenth one, than it must be the most important one in his life, or at least a closure to a perfect lifestyle. He made a book in which he allotte...

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...t. Franklin learned very much in his life, maybe even more than he taught to others. Franklin has a method of teaching that I believe is a proper way of getting ideas across. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I feel that this statement alone totally defeats the characterization of Franklin being a hypocrite. The flaws in Franklin’s character should not be analyzed as closely as some look at them. It is all part of a learning process, which he has passed on to us as readers.
Many of the setbacks that Ben Franklin has had in his life are looked at by some people to be considered flaws that contribute to hypocrisy. He was a great individual, maybe not perfect, but he did many things for the well being of our nation. He is one of the frontrunners of modern society with his inventions and discoveries. His experiments go beyond the major things such as electricity, every thing that he has done in his life was an experiment. He tried to be the perfect individual and a teacher of perfection. I think he did a very good job of accomplishing his goals and we should look up to him as being not only a down to earth person, but also a person that has risen to supremacy.

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