English Paper


Font: Time’s roman, body 12 point
title: 14 point bold
by line: 12 point
Length: 5 pages double spaced approx. 1250 word count
header: name in right corner
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Topic: Each student will pick one person past or present who has made a significant contribution to society and provided inspiration to others. This person should be famous enough that ample resources concerning his or her life and contributions are available. This would include respected resources such as biographies, autobiographies and other scholarly books. Also acceptable articles in magazines or journals, internet posts from respected web sites devoted to the person or field of study, citations from credible encyclopedias or other traditional sources. Note: Wikipedia cannot be used. 

Each essay must include…
A thesis statement concerning the person and his or her contributions 
A brief biography of the person and an overview of the field they worked or work in
A summation of this person’s contributions to his or her field or society 
Supportive evidence that collaborates each of your claims ( convince your readers of this person relevance and ultimate importance)
Support claims with at least one direct quote, and A combination of paraphrasing and summarizing citing at least 5 separate reliable sources. (4 Print)
parenthetical (in the text) citations using MLA style
work cited page (with at least 5 different primary sources using MLA style)

Basic Content Structure: 
body (arguments)
summation / conclusions


Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, born on January 17, 1706, was an iconic American citizen who contributed immensely to his country’s social, political, and scientific developments. These contributions are reflected in the various titles attributed to him: they include scientist, printer, inventor, diplomat, and author. Franklin was very active during the period of American enlightenment which resulted in the American Revolution and the subsequent creation of the American republic. During the American enlightenment knowledge relating to natural philosophy and science was expounded on and applied to politics, economics, and religion (Ferguson, 121). Furthermore, it was during this period that art was integrated into the American educational curriculum. This paper will show that Benjamin Franklin used science and philosophical theories in his political endeavors to achieve both national and global recognition, and this is the reason he is regarded as one of America’s founding fathers.

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Franklin was born into a family of seventeen children and humble parents. He became a voracious reader and later joined one of his brothers who was in the printing business, James Franklin. After James established a newspaper called The New England Courant, Benjamin attempted to write for it by contributing letters under a female pseudonym. These letters gained great popularity, but Benjamin did not write for long because his brother soon realized that he was using a pseudonym. James was later thrown into jail for expressing a controversial opinion on the clergy, leaving the printing business under Benjamin’s control. On his release, James returned mistreated Benjamin who then fled to Philadelphia.

Later on in life, Franklin worked with various printers and greatly perfected his writing skills. Slowly, he was able to accumulate money and set up his own printing business. It grew into a profitable enterprise with wide recognition. It is during this time he married Deborah Read and contributed his own literal works to the Pennsylvania Gazette which he now owned. He published Poor Richards Almanack, a funny and engaging book that also became very popular. He went ahead to launch a subscription company, the first of its kind in America, called The Library Company. Around this time, Franklin also founded the Philosophical Society, Pennsylvania Hospital, and insurance contribution schemes for protection against loss by fire (Isaacson 48).

During his forties, Benjamin retired to concentrate his scientific inventions. He invented the heat-efficient and energy-saving Franklin stove, and a musical instrument called a glass harmonica. He also concentrated on studying the nature of electricity, and subsequently became famous for his kite experiments. In the years that followed, Franklin focused on politics and served as the first United States Post Master, the U.S. Minister to Sweden and France, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and sixth President of Pennsylvania. His contributions can be grouped into scientific, political, and social contributions:

Scientific Contributions

To begin with, the main scientific invention that earned Franklin status as a well-placed inventor was the Franklin stove. Invented in1742, it was a fireplace lined with metal, and placed at the center of a room, such that its furnace radiated heat to all directions in the room. Furthermore, the metal lining absorbed heat during the stove’s operation before radiating it when the fire was off. Franklin displayed his selflessness by declining to patent his stove to facilitate its use in as many households as possible (Isaacson 56).

Moreover, he was fascinated by lightning, and this inspired his experiments on electricity. Consequently, Franklin invented the lightning rod that was attached to the top of a building and connected to the earth. He had observed that lightning could cause immense destruction to property and loss of human life, and thus, he invented the rod as an attempt to protect houses from lighting fire and electrocution. His work expounded on previously misunderstood theories about electricity. Some crucial outcomes of these efforts included the development of the single-fluid theory and an explanation on positive and negative charges including how current only electric current only flows from positive to the negative terminal. Most of Franklin’s work on electricity has remained relevant and has provided basis for current research electricity generation and sustainable power generation methods.

Finally, Franklin also invented bifocals for people suffering from presbyopia. This invention served two functions: one half solved the distance problem while the other was useful during reading. This invention formed the foundation for corrective eyewear, with most eyewear taking this form of production until recently.

Political Contributions

During his time as a colonial representative of Pennsylvania in England, Franklin noticed the high level of corruption and malice by the English people and decided to return home to work for the Independence of the American Republic. He worked on the Declaration of Independence, and later on traveled to France as a diplomat. In France, he became popular because of his inventions and his charismatic personality. America and France signed many treaties on commerce and political alliances through Franklin’s diplomatic efforts both before and after the American Revolution. He also secured loans and equipment needed by America during its formative years as a republic. Alongside John Adams and John Jay, Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris which marked the end of the War for Independence. On returning to the United States, he became the president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania and also contributed to the signing of the American constitution. Finally, during his old age, Franklin signed to Congress a bill on the abolishment of slavery (Manisha 89).

Social Contributions

Other than scientific and political contributions, Franklin also helped to shape America’s social landscape. To begin with, he studied America’s population growth and subsequently explained the correlation between population growth, food security, and land utilization. These views were expressed in a printed letter titled “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries”, which influenced economists in both America and Britain. On the other hand, Franklin’s views were majorly influenced by the puritan religion that emphasized the values of economics, diligence, and hard work.

From a social perspective, Benjamin Franklin emerges as a unique individual, born in a humble home, who rose from a humble background to be a master in science, philosophy, economics, and religion. His political knowledge and experience greatly contributed to the revolution and subsequent independence of the United States. In fact, many political scientists and observers have noted that Franklin’s role in the French treaties and in securing resources and military personnel was the sole reason for America’s victory during the Revolution War.

Moreover, Franklin championed and introduced the concepts of self-help and personal growth in America. It was during his time that the culture on self-improvement became widespread in the country (Weinberger 5). He famously stated that, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Throughout his life, Franklin motivated people to focus on knowledge diversification. However, today, the world is at an era of extreme specialization, whereby most people are now choosing one particular area to study and gather knowledge on. Furthermore, many people today only want to build on already proven information instead of conducting their own research or introducing critical thinking techniques. Against this backdrop, Franklin inspires future generations to study and gain knowledge in a wide range of topics.

It is truly motivating to realize that most of the intellectual skills Franklin acquired were self-taught. His parents had wished for him to become a member of the clergy but could not afford to pay for the many numbers of years that one required to study to qualify as a clergy member. Therefore, Franklin did not stay in school for many years; he read widely and wrote letters and books only on those topics he understood (Isaacson 79). More importantly, he was primarily interested in those topics and subjects that he felt would contribute immensely to the improvement of all humanity.

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Furthermore, Franklin exercised selflessness in a socially beneficial manner as exhibited in his inventions. Despite being advised to patent his inventions and maximize on profits. He declared that he wanted his inventions to be of service to mankind and easily accessible to every citizen. Today, his inventions remain relevant; others have undergone improvements and modifications to emerge as the foundation of current technological development. These inventions are of immense social value as they inspire people to take charge of their problems by searching for solutions. A case in point is the bifocal glasses invention that solved the problem of visual impairment of which he was as a victim.

Based on this discussion, an assessment of Benjamin Franklin’s life projects the image of a man who was ahead of his time going by the relevance of his contribution to knowledge and inventions today. His philosophy has formed the foundation for the pursuit of personal strength and the maximization of one’s abilities to solve problems for humanity. That one individual could accomplish such greatness in one lifetime is an example of the kind of life that everyone should strive to achieve.

Works Cited

Ferguson, Robert. A. The American Enlightenment, 1750-1820. Massachusettes: Harvard University Press, 1997. Print.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Dover Publications, 1996. Print.

Isaacson, Walter.  Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004. Web.

Sinha, Manisha. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2016. Print.

Weinberger Jerry. Benjamin Franklin on American Happiness. City Journal, 10. (2010). Print.

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