1 October 2018
Exam 1 Question 1
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers and scientist, is regarded as a keystone figure in American history. Looking at Franklin’s life, we note a significant change in the mental and cultural world from the early stages of life to adulthood. A significant difference between the young Benjamin Franklin and the adult specifically, is the importance of education and the path to attain moral perfection.
As a young boy, Franklin’s father, Josiah Franklin, already predetermined the path that Benjamin would follow: as a scribe in service of the church. Although Benjamin Franklin does not recall the moment when he had started to read, he notes his father’s reasoning for sending him to grammar school: “My early readiness in learning to read… encouraged him in this purpose of his.” Noting the importance of his education, Franklin was removed from his previous school and sent to a school for writing and arithmetic where he showed aptitude for English composition. Similarly, in parts of his autobiography, Franklin as an adult notes the importance of having an educated militia in defense of the cherished institutions of America; as a result of Pennsylvania’s lack of a militia, Franklin regrettably states there being no provisions for defense, nor for a complete education of the youth, no militia, and no college.
In the early stages of life, Franklin’s education was primarily focused on grammar, spelling, and composition, however it was until the 1730s that Franklin began to focus on more spiritual matters of attaining moral perfection. In my previous paragraph, I had already stated the importance of English composition in Franklin’s life as a child and similarly, as an adult; however, the main difference between education in Franklin’s childhood and adulthood was that his focus was no longer on develop...