The Many Sides of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was both a diplomat and an inventor. Franklin was a great and successful diplomat with his achievements consisting of persuading parliament in repealing the stamp act, helping write/ revise the declaration of independence, and securing the support with France, enabling the U.S to have backing in the Revolutionary War. Franklin’s inventions were made up of bifocals, lightning rod, swim fins, odometer, long arm, Franklin Stove, flexible urinary catheter, and glass Armonia. Similarities that compare these two positions are very clear. As a diplomat, Franklin’s job was to improve his country to provide a safe and secure nation for many generations to come. Along with this, as an inventor, Franklin came up with concepts and ideas to better his life or to solve a problem. These two descriptions go hand and hand to describe a diplomat and inventor. Evidence that supports these two claims is as follows, as an inventor, Franklin never patented any of his ideas. He felt that is was better to create them as a gift to the public instead of patenting them for his own self-gain. In his autobiography, he wrote: “As we enjoy the advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.” Similar to inventing for the betterment of others, one of Franklin’s primary roles in his diplomacy position was to secure an alliance with France. Without their backup, the U.S most likely would have lost the Revolutionary War. Support from France meant that they had gained its aid, its recognition, its navy, and many other benefits that would lead them to their success in the war. This role in the revolutionary war was crucial and would make or break their achievement in the fight for independence.
Although these two crucial roles of Franklin were immensely inherent and very similar, they did differ in ways that defined the positions he was taking. Evidence that supports the difference between these two sides is as stated. Franklin’s diplomacy role was heavily pressured with the entire country, relying on his success with France. If he did not secure the support from France, the U.S would have most likely lost the war; lacking our independence and keeping us associated with Britain. This is shown in the Amplify ELA workbook; the section Franklin Arrives in France and states, “Into his hands, almost as much as those of Washington and others, had been placed the fate of the Revolution.” This burden towards Franklin was non-existent, however, as his role in inventing had not nearly as much stress because by thinking freely and independently he could imagine and think of ideas that could better himself and society with no restraint on what was possible. According to The Franklin Institute, “Despite creating some of the most successful and popular inventions of the modern world, Franklin never patented a single one, believing that they should be shared freely.” This idea of being able to think and create freely with no stress was very different and uncomparable to his alliance with France. Additionally, Franklin’s role in revising and drafting the Declaration of Independence forced him to convey his ideas to others regarding independence and freedom. According to Amplify ELA workbook, section Franklin’s Revision of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” and changed them to the words now enshrined in history: We hold these truths to be self-evident.” In Franklin’s role as an inventor, he never had to convince anybody of anything so he could create and make his ideas a reality. According to the Electric Ben Franklin, “He was an ever-curious mind, constantly seeking to understand the inner-workings of the universe and devise clever means to use this scientific understanding to advantage through invention and innovation.” This innovation led him to create some of the most remarkable things our world has ever observed. Benjamin Franklin’s astounding thoughts and actions made him who he is and his legacy he left behind.
“Benjamin Franklin’s Contributions to Science.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/franklin/science/.
“Benjamin Franklin’s Inventions.” The Franklin Institute, 16 Oct. 2019, www.fi.edu/benjamin-franklin/inventions.
“Inventions and Improvements.” Benjamin Franklin Historical Society, www.benjamin-franklin-history.org/inventions-and-improvements/.