Benjamin Franklin

Ciencia y periodismo # Silence Dogood. Culture. Society. Memories

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  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: España España
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THE JOURNALIST OF THE SCIENCE.-

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, 17th January 1706.He was an autodidactic person that, when he was 10 years old, he was working in the little industry of soaps and candles that his father had in Boston.

When he was an adolescent he was more interested in reading than in any other thing.He himself tell us in this Autobiography:

“From my infancy I was very interested in reading, and all the money that I got, was to buy books.(...)My first collection was John Bunyan plays that I I later sold to buy Historical Compilations of Richard Burton, little cheap books, more or less 40 or 50 copies.Most of the books of the library of my father were about religion, and I read most of them.(...)There was a book of Defoe and other of the Dr. Mather that maybe showed me a new way of thinking, that had a lot of importance in some of the main events in my future life”

In 1720 he begun working with his brother James in The New England Courant the second newspaper that appeared in the Northamerican colonies of England.There he published his 1st article using a pseudonym and changing his writing.This article contains the fundamental ideas that he followed during his whole life.One of the most representative articles that he published with the pseudonym of Mrs. Silence Dogood, was the one related to the freedom of thinking;he wrote it when he was 16 and it was published as if it was an extract of the newspaper of London.

Benjamin Franklin was a person that believed in the capacity of improving of the individual.He also thought that Science could help to make life easier and healthier.With his newspaper Pennsylvania Gazette he expanded the idea of believing in science.

The field he was more interested in was electricity, where he got his main success:The lightning Conductor.In 1753 the Real Society of London conceded him the Copley Medal for his investigations in electricity.

He was considered the most important scientific of the century and the French Academy of Science named him one of the 8 biggest scientifics of the time.

CHRONICLER OF HIS OWN LIFE.-

His autobiography that he called Memories was written for his son in the summer of 1771.It is said that this work took him only 2 weeks.Is an easy to read book with a clear moral sense.This familiar document that began with the words “Dear son”, was corrected and reviewed years later, and then published.Since then, his Biography has been read in all America and it has been translated to almost all languages.

In this book is told how his father arrived to America with 3 sons, and there he had 14 more.He had 7 sons with his first wife, and 10 with the second one, Franklin's mother, Abiah Folger.Frankling was the younger one, and in his biography he tells us how he begun to study religion, and how he left this to start working with his father.

When he was working with his brother James, he start loving poetry and he wrote some little works.His brother encouraged him to wrote 2 ballads, so him could gel benefit of it.One of them was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and the other one was a sailors' song about the capture of the pirate Teach.Both of them were brilliant, and were composed like Grubstreet's ones.Once they were published, his brother James, told Benjamin to sell them in the street.

After some problems that his brother had with the Assembly, and consequently,problems that he also had, he decided to go to New York with the help of his friend Collings,that got him a “fast ticket” in a ship.

When he arrived, the only printer was William Bradford but he couldn't employ him.So, this man sent him with one of his sons in Philadelphia that was also printer.

He didn't know it, but he was following his destiny, because Philadelphia would be very important in his life.

There, Bradford's son couldn't provide him work, but soon he find job in the printing of Keimer.

SCULPTOR OF HIS OWN PERSONALITY.-

Franklin made himself with the social and cultural materials that he had,and since he was very young, he created a way very important in the culture and society of Northamerica.

All his theory is based on 2 basic principles: his perfectionist and the help.

During his life he promoted the private enterprise to be rich.But this term had no relation with the desire of money.He considered that richness as a favor of God, and the rich as an administrator that acquired the compulsory task of share with unfortunate people.

Franklin was growing in different religious dogmas, but his more clear convictions were related to the religious unitarism.When he was 32 his father wrote him saying that his mother was complainig of having an arrian son and an arminian one.To this he answered that in the day of the Final Judgement it wouldn't be examined what we had thought, but what we had done.

In his Autobiography is where he clearly explains his doubts, experiences and personal methods that he had to use to get to the moral perfection and the internal discipline in the studies and business.

In his Memories, Franklin tells frequently about his “errors” in his life.For him, that was very proud of being printer, the errors were involuntary mistakes that should be corrected as soon as possible.

This occured him with Mrs Read;before going to London, and without knowing how much time it took him to return to Philadelphia, he had an affair with Mrs. Read.They were even talking about marriage and they wrote letters each other.But with the life that he was having, he forgot her, and when he returned to Philadelphia, he found her marriaged.

If Franklin has an important role in the Northamerican tradition, it is because he was always working for the community, and the worked inside it, to improve it and provide it of an own philosophy.

“POOR DICK”, AN AMERICAN GUIDE.-

This is one of the most important works of Franklin, and one of the most important successes in the libraries.The 1st part, in 1733, has 3 editions to cover the demand.This “guide” was full of thoughts and ideas that were usefull to triumph in life.Its pages show clearly the American popular knowledge.

In the edition of 1758, Franklin wrote a preface that was printed apart form the book with the titlte of The Way to the Richness.This Preface is dated 7th July 1757, and Franklin signed it with the pseudonym of “Richard Saunders”.

Franklin was an individualist that defended during his whole life the private enterprise and the rights of the person, but always related to the needings of the society.He knew by his own experience, that men that fight together in the defence of their interests, or in the promotion of a politic, cultural or social reason, are able to get more that if they work independiently.By the other hand, he had very clear ideas about how to organize the life in the colonies according to his own moral ideas.

The 1st organization that he founded, that had a big influence in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, was the club “Joined”, that had as a goal the interest in the problems of the community.

The members joined together once a week to talk about philosophical, scientific and practical problems.They also talked about the books they had read.

To maintain alive the cultural interchanges, Franklin wrote 24 questions that should be answered in each reunion.These questions keep on being a model of dialectic stimulus.

During 30 years Benjamin went on with this club, and he saw how that club was being a model for other clubs along the country.

Franklin, as his master Socrates, developed the system of questions-answers to solve the doubts that he had.Some of that questions were as curious as this:

“It is possible that man, as some people think, could get the perfecction in life, or it is impossible as others think?”

Few people have has such an interest for his community, his city,and have tried to provide it of the essential services for the confortability and happiness of his inhabitants.

The man who wrote “The way to get to the human happiness is not by luck, because rarely happens, but by using the advantages offered to us daily” fought to recreate in each moment his idealism with the only resource of the trust in himself and in the others.

A GLANCE AT FRANKLIN'S LIFE.-

  • Franklin's born 17TH January

  • Starts the Elementary school

  • Goes to a Grammar and Arithmetic school

  • Begin to work with his father

  • Begin to work with his brother James

  • Franklin wrote his 1st article with a pseudonym

  • He left Boston and goes to Philadelphia

  • He get to London 24th December.He published “Disertation about freedom and necessity, about pleasure and pain”

  • 1727- He founded the club “Joined”

  • He rules the Pennsylvania Gazette

  • He married Deborah Read

  • He founded the 1st American library by suscription

  • He began to publish “Poor Richard”

  • His son Francis died

  • He begun to study electricity

  • He left his work as printer and began to study philosophy

  • He invented the Lightning Conductor

  • Is condecorated with the Copley Gold Medal

  • Is elected Member of the Real Society of London

  • The 1st Lightning Conductor is installed in Europe, in the lighthouse of Eddystone, near Plymouth.

  • He had an intervention in the House of Commons

  • He wrote the 1st part of his “Memories”

  • He negotiates a treaty with France

  • He negotiates the Treaty of Peace with England

  • He wrote the 2nd part of his autobiogtaphy “Passy”

  • He is elected president of Pennsylvania

  • 1790- Benjamin Franklin died 17th April