Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

Excerpt

Who was the first civilized American?

Benjamin Franklin.

Why do you call him so?

Because at an American period eminent for narrowness, superstition, and bleak beliefs he was mirthful, generous, open-minded, learned, tolerant, and humor-loving. Because he was the first American man of the world in the sense that he was the first American world-man.

What was his age as compared with that of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson?

He was a mature man with a record of achievement when they were still swaddled infants. He was 26 years older than Washington, 30 years older than Adams, and 37 years older than Jefferson.

What was Franklin's most marked characteristic?

A gusto for living.

What was his avowed aim?

To "do good" and live a satisfying life.

Did he succeed?

Abundantly.

Were there any inconsistencies in his career?

Many.

Can you specify?

He disregarded his own maxims as uttered by "Poor Richard" and lamentably failed to observe the principles set up in his own "Art of Virtue. . . ."

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