is often said that only one person truly illustrated the early American
colonist’s dream – and that one man may have even been able to define what a
colonial American truly was meant to be.
That one person was Benjamin Franklin. Sir Walter Isaacson said that
Benjamin Franklin was the most accomplished American of his age and the most
influential in inventing the type of society America would become.
Franklin was a free thinker and a very creative personality whose quest for the
pleasures and the wisdom of this mortal life could not be quenched.
he also had those who were not on the same page with his philosophies and
lifestyle practices. Many saw him as a money hungry businessman that would
stoop as low as he needed to get or accomplish what he wanted to. The famous
writer D.H. Lawrence considered him a hypocrite and a fraud – a man who
preached middleclass morality while indulging his private lusts.
enthusiastically lived out his somewhat secular worldview by his very eclectic
lifestyle, causing many of his contemporaries and even some of his critics of today
to see him as a highly immoral man. His personal indulgences tended to make him
sort of what we would refer to as a “rock
star” of his own day.
personal and public imagery of Mr. Franklin would expand during the
Revolutionary War onto the international stage of society and politics not only
in America but in Europe also. Many
times Franklin’s role in life and his actual personal worldview created vast
amounts of uncertainty as to how he should have actually been defined. He was
easily identified as a deist, yet there were times where he reflected a very
good relationship with the Christian leaders of his day. Deism is the doctrine
of natural religion that implies that God may only be thought of as an absentee
Many of the founding fathers aspired to such a personal philosophy.
was not ashamed of the fact that he was a member of and participated regularly
in the secret societies and lodges of the New England colonies, France and
Great Britain. Many of these fraternal affiliations were not categorized as
to Franklin’s own “Autobiography”, he
started being the independent thinker we know him as today when he ran away
from his brother’s oversight in a printing business in Boston, Massachusetts.
He settled in Philadelphia in October of 1723 at age 17. He had almost no money
and absolutely no friends there. He worked there as a printer’s helper until he
was able to finally establish his own printing business in Philadelphia. As a
well-established printer, he published the first notable newspaper in
Philadelphia – the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin’s printing company printed
and published the first novel printed in North America - a book titled “Pamela”
by Samuel Richardson.
 Pinto, Christian
J. The Hidden Faith of the Founding
Fathers (Adullam Films, 2012 DVD) narration
Benjamin Franklin Citizen of the
World (A&E Network, 1994 DVD) narration
Simon Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
(New York, Oxford Press, 2006) p.92