Hyong Du Lim Professor Art Schuhart English 241 20 March 2013 “Now, Gods, Stand Up for Bastards”: Reinterpreting Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography Shurr emphasizes that “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin has been judged as one of the most important and influential of American books” (Shurr 435). American people have admired Benjamin Franklin as a role model, for his self-improving mindset and his remarkable service during American Revolution, but the untold truth lies beneath his cowardly, concealing, and astonishing human being that was never brought up and reinterpreted the way it should have been.
Who really is Benjamin Franklin really? What has he accomplished to be who he is known today? One of the main concerns Shurr cites of how the autobiography hides a truth meaning that illustrates why part 2, 3, and 4 was written thirteen years later. Part 1 was written before American Revolution, when Franklin took side by faith of uncertainty for his future with thirteen colonies. Shurr mentions, “Part 2 was written thirteen momentous and revolutionary years later when the war was finished and Franklin’s party was the clear winner” (Shurr 437).
Clear intentions of Franklin were so obvious, that he was using his own son, William as insurance for outcome of the war. William was a governor, who had noble connections with King George III, which gave Franklin a cowardly choice of ditching America for England if the war hadn’t been the way it has. This is the true meaning why part 1 was written addressing to his son as calmly and thoughtful, using as a leverage.
Franklin’s choice of choosing against England was the right choice as he continued writing part 2 in France, where he was secured financially, not needing his insurance, William any further and in doing so “disinheriting,” his own son, who favored England, which was the right thing to do as a leader because, it appears patriotic to the American people. The reasoning for such choices was to hide his hideous and unworthy of a man for his remembrance of how he helped build the foundation of America. The overall cruelty of his actions that are never introduced and hidden behind his autobiography can’t be emphasized enough.
The true meaning of his self-improvement knowledge portrays his ways of being beneficial, no matter who was at stake under what circumstances. The autobiography was written for his son for his caring and love, but how come Franklin excludes his own son, Shurr mentions, “designed and built the famous kite and raced three times across the cow pasture in a thunderstorm, risking his life while Benjamin sat dry and safe in a shepherd’s hut adjusting his apparatus” (Shurr 448). All these years’ American people had been fooled that Benjamin Franklin was the sole experimentalist for the kite experiment.
Which leads us to believe that Franklin lied to American people and the society should take a moment to emphasize what truly is the right story to believe? Benjamin Franklin is one of the fore fathers who have invested his time in laying the foundation of our country. How can someone speak of such hideous lies about a great idol of our history? Ask any American citizen who Benjamin Franklin is and each will answer with such great admiration and patriotically for his influence, especially during the American Revolution.
His self-teaching tactics were brilliant. Based on educational site, “Franklin had more to do with founding the American republic than anyone else. As American representative in London, he helped persuade Parliament to repeal despised Stamp Act taxes, giving America an additional decade to prepare for armed conflict with Britain” (Powell). How can someone have the ability to become an inventor, musician, scientist and a politician in whom he was successful in criticizing the thirteen colonies must unite into one in order to win the Revolution?
Benjamin Franklin was an intelligent, caring, and patriotic human being that gave his best for this country and for his political inputs; America is where it is standing now, top of economic standards and superior powers. I concur with the paragraph above for not seeing Franklin as a person who Shurr describes him to be, a coward who seeks every possible outcome for the benefit of the doubt. Shurr argues that, “[Franklin] knew of and permitted the torture of his son Williams for two hundred and fifty-two days in a rebel prison” (Shurr 447).
Coming from a man with his credentials seems really unlikely for such inhuman actions. And, it doesn’t make any relevance to his mindset of comparing others reasoning with his for gathering the best possible outcome. Just witness all of his great contributions to the society, his inventions, his scientific logics, and his critical role in convincing France to help with the Revolution in sending supplies to the colonies. From well-known television company, PBS, “To the French, Franklin is still a major figure and, according to Claude-Anne Lopez: “Many French think he was president of the United States.
They say, ‘he was the best president you ever had! ‘” (PBS). Just can’t really picture Franklin for what Shurr describes him of being. In every possible way Benjamin Franklin may possibly be viewed as a coward who used his own son as insurance depending the outcome of the Revolutionary War. The book, “Now, Gods, Stand Up for Bastards”: Reinterpreting Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography will likely persuade some readers to doubt Franklin’s reasons and question his logic and ethics based on several observations and situations that portrays the wrong doings.
But, who would really doubt Benjamin Franklin at the end? The tremendous amount of brilliant contributions will always be remembered for what actually took place whether than what really happened behind closed doors. No one will question his setbacks because the positives are too valuable to overcome and when it is already proven. A great proven example is how Franklin believed that a well working middle class was the key to American development as, “[Franklin] believed that in order to have a functional democracy there has to be a strong and well educated middle class” (Potanin).
This has been crucial the last decade. At the end, all that matters is that Benjamin Franklin is printed on U. S one hundred dollar bills for his significance on American foundation. His history is what it says, just a history, that no matter how cowardly and hideous he might have been or not; American people will only count what is proven, ethical and reasonable. Work Cited Powell, Jim. “Benjamin Franklin: The Man Who Invented the American Dream. ” : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education. N. p. , 01 Apr. 1997. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. http://www. fee. rg/the_freeman/detail/benjamin-franklin-the-man-who-invented-the-american-dream#axzz2O8fOvQl7 “France. ” PBS. PBS, 2002. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. http://www. pbs. org/benfranklin/l3_world_france. html Potanin, Andy. “Benjamin Franklin’s Influence on American Society. ” Benjamin Franklin’s Influence on American Society. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. http://www. andypotanin. com/benjamin-franklins-influence-on-american-society/ Shurr, William H. “Now, Gods, Stand Up for Bastards’: Reinterpreting Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography: Duke University Press. 2002. Book
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