“Well done is better than well said” (Poor Richard’s Almanac). Benjamin Franklin not only thought of quotes to help guide our daily lives, he lived them. Arguably the greatest genius of his time, Franklin was a hard worker, relentless learner, and passionate thinker. From a general perspective Franklin is a man who worked diligently in school, studied untiringly, and excelled in most everything he did. Although he was a dynamic learner, he never had a stable childhood, much less a formal education. Using his passion and thoughts of right and wrong, Franklin shaped himself the legacy he has today.
A look into the life of Benjamin Franklin’s patriotism and ingenuity shows us much more than meets the eye about this incredible man. The ingenuity shown in Benjamin Franklin is near unparalleled by anyone of any era. Not only was his genius extraordinary, the path he took to creating his legacy was equally incredible. Franklin dropped out of school when he was 10 and moved in with his brother who at the time wrote for the New England Courant. His brother, James, who was physically abusive and didn’t allow Franklin to write for the newspaper (Marcum 100).
Using the pen name Silence Dogood, Franklin wrote article after article about the problems he faced and saw in his daily life. James eventually figured out Franklin was Silence Dogood and sought to punish him. Having enough of James’s abuse and mistreatment, Franklin ran away from Boston to Philadelphia (Marcum 101). Even with these setbacks maybe no one else could’ve created profit out of, Franklin skyrocketed to the top of the economic ladder and was soon well known around Pennsylvania. His broad spectrum of knowledge gained him acknowledgment from everyone.
He wrote newspapers for the general public, Poor Richard’s Almanac for tradesmen and farmers, and political and governmental articles for the well educated (Marcum). Collaborating with others provided the cornerstone he needed to put him at the very top of the economic ladder (Wright). Working with different associates Franklin created the University of Philadelphia and the American Philosophical Society, and managed to grab the glory for creating both (Wright). Poor Richard’s Almanac continued to be a great success as the best selling almanac in the colonies. Furthermore, he used his experiences to create more quotes we remember today.
He said, “Early to bed early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” (Poor Richard’s Almanac), to support his idea of daylight savings time. The most incredible things is that he promoted the value of those quotes in day to day life. His invention of daylight savings time revolutionized economic production. (Block)He calculated that if everyone in Paris who walked around at night would go to bed 6 hours earlier, 64 million pounds of candle wax would be saved every 6 months (Block 39). This also applies to his quote, “Waste neither time nor money but make the best of both” (McCormick).
He applied this quote by creating one of the most tenacious and hardworking schedules any person has ever lived by day to day. Every day when Franklin woke up he asked himself “What good shall I do today? ” He woke up at 5am and prepared for the day, resolved what he would do for the day, and studied/read till 8am. From 8am he worked till 12pm, from 12pm to 2pm he read and ate. He worked from 2pm to 5pm, and for the rest of the day till 10pm he organized and prepared himself for the next day, and occupied himself with socializing, reading, or music.
Right before he went to bed he asked himself, “What good have I done today? ” (Goessling). As he continued to do, he acted as he said. He followed his schedule untiringly. He wrote approximately 2 hours every day, which substantially increased his level of quick thinking (Marcum). Some of his most brilliant ideas came to him quickly. His invention of the bifocal glasses came to him without any previous experimentation. His invention of the lightning rod was completely original, and the most remarkable thing is that is essentially used the exact way today as it was used when Franklin first invented it (Block).
More of his inventions consisted of an improved printing press, a flexible catheter (used for help you pee), an extension arm, his famous stove and room heater, a modified odometer (used for measuring distance), a 3 wheel clock that displayed hours, minutes, and seconds, an improved oil lamp, flippers for swimming, the sea anchor, and more (Block). One of the greatest things on his resume was that he never even patented any of his inventions, saying “I never made, nor proposed to make, the least profit by any of them. Franklin’s well known reputation helped him provide some of the greatest help to the Continental cause during the American Revolution. His protruding passion for the Colonial cause made him an inspiring figure for Colonial soldiers. He did everything from being a diplomat in France, to writing papers to support the Colonial cause, to helping mold our Constitution into the longest standing Constitution in the world. His patriotism shined bright in his personality, and played a key role in our very country’s existence.
There are so many places to start with Franklin’s contributions to the Revolutionary cause, but one of his great ideas was his proposal to unite the colonies to help improve trade and security. Among one of the first to try to unite the colonies, Franklin worked in collaboration with many colleagues to improve American cities, create hospitals and colleges, and pave roads. (Marcum). Later Franklin wrote that he foresaw a conflict coming with the British, and stated if anything was to be done the Colonies needed to be united, not have 13 different masses of people working for 13 different goals (Marcum).
Franklin was one of the first to put out the idea of Colonial freedom, and never stopped being a shining image. Before and during the war, some didn’t know what cause to support. Franklin became one of the most influential icons in America. He wrote, “the Empire (Britain) had become devoted to war, conquest, dominion, and commercial monopoly rather than the true interest of the mutual advantage of colonies and mother country. ” (Wright).
He also wrote, “Upon the whole, I have lived so great a part of my life in Britain, and formed so many friendships in it that I love it, and sincerely wish it prosperity; and therefore wish to see that Union, on which alone I think it can be secured and established. As to America, the advantages of such a Union to her are not so apparent. She may suffer at present under the arbitrary power of this country; she many suffer for a while in a separation from it; but these are temporary evils that she will outgrow. Scotland and Ireland are differently circumstanced.
Confined by the sea, the can scarcely increase in numbers, wealth, and strength, so as to overbalance England. But America, an immense territory, favoured by Nature with all advantages of climate, soil, great navigable rivers, and lakes, must become a great country, populous, and mighty; and will, in a less time than is generally conceived, be able to shake off any shackles that may be imposed on her; and perhaps place them on the imposers… for the seeds of liberty are universally found there, and nothing can eradicate them” (Wright 22).
These papers drew in the support of the general public, but that’s not where the influence stopped. During the war, Franklin went to Paris to secure the support of France that ensured American success (Wright). Franklin eventually coaxed Louis XVI into supporting the U. S. and proving money, munitions, and military help (Block). At the end of the war Franklin was nearing the end of his lifetime. Even at the end of his life he never stopped fighting. One of his most memorable quotes from this period of his life was, “No gains without pains,” (McCormick).
He was so sick that sometimes he needed to be carried into Constitutional meetings (Wright). Even on his deathbed, Franklin never stopped being the moral driven man he was throughout his life. When deciding how Congress should be organized, Franklin saw a bunch of men not giving ground, trying to get as much as they could for their colony. Franklin decided not to seek for power over others (Marcum). Franklin was the first to propose that the number of representatives in the House would be based on population to satisfy large states, and that the number of Senate members would be equal from each state to satisfy small states (Block).
After seeing America fully complete, Ben Franklin died on April 17th, 1790. From start to finish, Benjamin Franklin showed the spirit of patriotism and shining ingenuity the likes we may never see again. From a Boston boy who ran away to seek prosperity, Franklin formed himself a legacy that will never to be forgotten. As he did throughout his life, he lived his words. He wrote, “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing. ” Ben Franklin was as sure as anybody else has ever been, a perfect example for both.