Politics MLA

Patrick Lecy

 "A Quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin". UShistory.org. March 24 2010 <July 4 1995>.


            Summary:  The website ushistory.org is a website that focuses on the teaching of the times during the revolutionary war, and in this article they focus on Benjamin Franklin.  This article is a summary of his biography; it describes some of his well known inventions and beliefs that are popular.  Some of these include when he was a printer, when he moved to Philadelphia, when he wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack, his beliefs on electricity, and then his political beliefs which I will be focusing on.  In the section about politics the authors describe how he started in England as a representative for the colonies.  Then the article shifts to when he went back to America and where he argued with his son who was the Governor to New Jersey and he was loyal to England and he stayed that way.  The article also describes how Franklin worked on drafting the Declaration of Independence. Then the article starts to describe how Franklin moved to France and was a diplomat, who was persuading the French to entire the war.

Merli, Frank, and Theodore Wilson. Makers of American Diplomacy. United States: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974

            Summary:  In Makers of American Diplomacy by Frank Merli and Theodore Wilson, they write about several different American diplomats and the first diplomat they write about is Benjamin Franklin.  The section of the book starts out describing Ben Franklin’s work while he was working for the Continental Congress and what his views were then.  Then the authors go into describing Franklin’s politics before he was in the Congress, and where he worked in politics before he was in Congress.  The next sections of the book that describe Franklin’s politics described what he was working on during the Revolutionary War.  Franklin spent a lot of time in France trying to get the French to help the colonies in the war.

Pangle, Lorraine Smith. The Political Philosophy. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2007.

            Summary:   This book written by Lorraine Smith Pangle discusses Benjamin Franklin’s political views in depth.  The book starts out describing Franklin’s early political beliefs and who Franklin models his beliefs from.  Then the book goes into what Franklin’s economics beliefs and how he believed that money shouldn’t be simply used for pleasure and that money is a reward for hard work.   Then Pangle goes into what Franklin believed citizens should do, and that all citizens in a country should be included.  Then the book goes into civil associations and the roles of government.  Then in the last part of the book Pangle describes Franklin’s views on religion and religious tolerances.

Wood, Gordon S. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Penguin, 2004

            Summary:  This biography of Benjamin Franklin but it is unique because the author uses information from many different authors of other biographies about Ben Franklin.  This book goes in depth with Franklin’s life like a biography should.  It gives specific information on his life and the information is very understandable.  Wood give basic information of his childhood and when he was growing up, but the bulk of the information starts when Franklin was over twenty years old.  The book does focus on the most important years of his life, before, during and after the revolutionary war.


Cochin, C.N. Franklin in a Fur Hat. 1777. Portrait. Wikipedia.
Deas, Michael. Benjamin Franklin. 2003. Portrait
Etter, David. Portrait of Benjamin Franklin. 1835. Portrait
K,T. Benjamin Franklin Invents Bifocals. 9 arch 2009. Drawing
Trumbull, John.  Declaration of Independence. 1819. Portrait. Wikipedia.
Vinocur, Jeffery. Ben Franklin Sculpture at University of Pennsylvania. 20 April 2006. Photograph. Wikipedia Commons.

Ben Franklin Quotes





Inventions MLA

"Ben Franklin, Inventor". The Franklin Institute. 4/25/2010 <http://fi.edu/franklin/inventor/inventor.html>.

Summary:  This site developed for the purpose of spreading the history of Benjamin Franklin describes his inventions very well.  Overall this is a brief explanation of the inventing life of Ben Franklin.  "
Even though Ben is not famous for his study of bioscience, he was interested in how the human body works and looked for ways to help it work better."  This is the image the writers wanted to get across to the reader about Benjamin Franklin as the inventor he was, wanting things to work better.

 Ganquly, Poushali. "Benjamin Franklin's Inventions". Buzzle.com: Intelligent life on the web. 3/27/2010 <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/benjamin-franklins-inventions.html>

Summary:  Poushali Ganquly's article "Benjamin Franklin's Inventions," describes three of Franklin's most prized and arguably best inventions.  These are the "Armonica," Bifocals, and Franklin's version of the stove.  The Armonica is said to be Franklin's most dear creation and favorite, mainly because he was as some know, a musician.  This article briefly describes each of the inventions themselves and why Franklin thought to make them.  Ganquly explained these inventions to give an accurate picture of the troubles of previous versions of these items and also accurate descriptions of the new versions and why they're more convenient.  Also, Ganquly ends with the note that Franklin never invented purely for his own benefit, but for the improvement of each invention for the people of whom they were for.

Bellis, Mary. "The Inventions and Scientific Achievements of Benjamin Franklin". About.com. 3/27/2010 <http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventors/ss/Franklin_invent.htm>

Summary:  Mary Bellis' article on Benjamin Franklin's inventions gives great insight into the life of Benjamin Franklin, the inventor.  The article describes four of Franklin's most innovative inventions briefly and why they were so innovative.  Each one of his inventions was made to create a more efficient version of that item for the benefit of the people.  The Glass Armonica is described Franklin's most self prized invention by the author mainly because it seems most personal.  Described as an avid musician, Franklin's version of the Glass Armonica was much more efficient than the water filled glasses which were used before.  It came pre-tuned and water free and also much more compact for ease of use.  It is proposed that even Beethoven and Mozart wrote music to be composed on it.  Although that was his personal favorite, his other inventions are shown by the author to be much more helpful and innovative for the average American household and man.  These were the Lightning rod, Bifocal glasses, and a new type of stove.  This article shows how Benjamin Franklin sought to improve the life of the daily American and did so with small and large creations.  Mary Bellis showed brief descriptions mainly of the inventions themselves and focused little on the actual life, and process of Franklin's inventing.  She provides brief descriptions on why things were done, but not how.

Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1214971n


Reck, Andrew. "Benjamin Franklin and the American Enlightenment." World & I 8.2 (1993): 556. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. Web. 28 Mar. 2010.

Summary: “Benjamin Franklin and the American Enlightenment” is a contemporary biography of Benjamin Franklin's dealings with the Enlightenment and the philosophers that influenced the expanding changes in political and scientific thinking as they expanded into the Americas. This minor biography covers every intellectual and moral aspect of Franklin's life from his self-education on Enlightenment principles to his readings and writings of notable Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire (who became a personal friend of Franklin), John Locke, William Defoe, Cotton Mather, and William Wollaston (who contributed to the rising belief of deism). Reck covers many philosophical aspects of Franklin's life; such as his deist beliefs, his personal and cultural tendencies (egalitarianism and feminism), and his “quest” for utopian society (he was raised Puritan). As the basis for his article, Reck uses Franklin's readings from previous and current enlightenment philosophers and the impact they had on his thinking and, later, his own philosophy. Reck also focused on Franklin's influence in the thirteen English Colonies and later, the United States. Franklin contributed to popular philosophy through his writings published in his own newspaper in Boston, and also in London; speaking breifly on the Silence Dogood Letters (1722), the “Poor Richard's Almanack”, and also his autobiography (which included his list of virtues for a utopian society).

Glazener, Nancy. "Benjamin Franklin and the Limits of Secular Civil Society." 203-231. Duke University Press, 2008. EBSCO  MegaFILE. EBSCO. Web. 28 Mar. 2010.

Summary: In this article, Glazener focuses primarily on Benjamin Franklin's philosophy on politics, society, and economics. A large portion of this work is used to explain Franklin's ideas regarding an egalitarian-capitalist economy, and the effects it would have on politics and society (particularly the negative aspects of this idea). The main body of her argument is based on the premise that this form of economic structure would offset the socio-political center, and create an imbalance in government. Glazener presents evidence of Franklin's controversial nature in his support of self-interest and public participation in government.