Benjamin Franklin: His Contribution to the American Tradition

By I. Bernard Cohen | Go to book overview

V. Inventíons and Applícatíons of Scíence

FRANKLIN believed in the exercise of reason to make life healthier, more comfortable and more secure. Science, he conceived, bears continual fruit in the production of useful devices based on discoveries which are the outcome of even such research as might not at first have seemed likely to have such an end product. This is the sense in which he took such pride in the lightning rod, a practical issue of his general exploration of electrical phenomena. But Franklin knew that inventions and useful discoveries are only abstractions in the minds of their creators until people accept them and apply them in their lives. Thus a major part of his program of doing good for the sake of man and the community was to advocate the introduction of new and worth-while practices, whether his own inventions or those of others.


I. INOCULATION

A typical example of Franklin as practical educator is provided by his services in furthering the practice of inoculation. In vaccination, discovered by Edward Jenner, a case of the mild disease cowpox is given to the patient who then acquires an immunity to smallpox, but in inocu-

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Benjamin Franklin: His Contribution to the American Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Introduction For The Makers of the American Tradition Series vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Contents xxi
  • Chronology xxiii
  • I Introduction 27
  • II ◆ The Lessons of Experience 68
  • III · Self-Improvement and Mutual Aíd 112
  • IV ◆ In the Service of the Community 164
  • V Inventions and Applications of Science 189
  • VI ◆ The Style of Being American 225
  • Bibliography 307
  • Index 309
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