Right now I am taking this Colonial America course. I have been exposed to a lot of really interesting information. For my last class we had to have the autobiography of Ben Franklin read. Let me just say, it is quite a read. Not one of my favorite books, but Ben Franklin certainly has an interesting way of telling his stories. Something that caught my attention in class was something that my professor brought up.
I am not sure how many of you knew this / googled it / are learning it now, but Franklin was born in Boston. Boston was right in the heartland of Puritan New England. What is the real significance in relation to Franklin? Whelp, Franklin was a deist. Since Franklin was a deist he certainly had multiple limits set on his life in Boston. Eventually, after some family feud, Franklin just gets up and leaves Boston. Where does he go? To the seemingly polar opposite spectrum in religious toleration. Yes that is right, Ben Franklin goes into Philadelphia. I just find this contrast so incredible. Certainly as a result of these new-found freedoms, Franklin
was able to advance himself in an enlightened fashion. Though he did enjoy his time with prostitutes, and almost gave up all that he was doing to start a swimming school in London, I think it is interesting how after he leaves Boston, he is driven by choice not tradition. These choices he makes gives him the necessary experience that he needs so that he can one day plan the Albany Congress, Discover the electricity of lightning, help secure an alliance for the rebelling colonies with France, and so much more. This question is not so much a question on history (actually it is not at all a question on history) as much as it is something fun to ponder, what if Franklin would have never left Boston and just stayed working at his brother’s printhouse for the duration of his life. Well hey, the important thing to note is that did not happen, Ben Franklin did indeed leave Boston, and he did indeed go on to become on of the United States of America’s Founding Father’s.
Again, this is just some of the things that I gleaned from my lecture yesterday, and that I have been thinking about throughout the day — so just take it for what it is worth. Also, if you have a chance to read the book, do it. I got my copy for 2 cents (ok I had to pay $4 for shipping) on amazon!