Of all the founders, the name of Benjamin Franklin has been one of the most smeared by modern, secular revisionists. Benjamin Franklin has been labelled as a ‘womanizer’, a ‘winelover’, and an atheist. These claims are simply not true; all given facts indicate otherwise. Benjamin Franklin was a good man who, though he disagreed with some creeds of the day, was a devout Christian and a God-fearing man.
“I have seen, with extreme indignation, the blasphemies lately vended against the memory of the father of American philosophy [Benjamin Franklin]. But his memory will be preserved and venerated as long as the thunder of heaven shall be heard or feared.” – Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a chandler, or candle maker. As a young man, Benjamin was introduced to several trades and eventually became apprenticed to his older brother, a printer. After learning the trade, he and his brother had a disagreement and Benjamin left. After sailing to New York, he was unable to find a job in that city and was compelled to travel to Philadelphia by foot. There he found work as a printer and soon gained a reputation as a hard-working, knowledgeable young man.
He took a trip to England under the supposed patronage of a dignitary, but was then abandoned by this dignitary and forced to find a job in a foreign country. After working as a printer there, he had an opportunity to return to the colonies and took it. There he soon started his own printing shop, published Poor Richard’s Almanac, and produced the most popular newspaper in the colonies. He learned over five languages and became a leading authority on philosophy.
Benjamin soon found himself elected to public positions and roles as an ambassador. These continued both before and after the revolution, in which the Americans successfully gained freedom from Britain’s rule. Following the revolution, Benjamin Franklin was one of the delegates chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention of 1787. As one of the most respected members of the convention, he solved disputes, settled compromises, and reminded the delegates of their reliance upon providence. Just prior to the signing, Benjamin Franklin stated:
“It… astonishes me to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does… Thus, I consent to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best.” – Benjamin Franklin
Attending the Constitutional Convention was the last public duty Benjamin Franklin fulfilled; his health allowed him to work no longer. He died April 17, 1790 at the age of 84. Congress directed a national mourning for him for a month. The national assembly of France decreed that each member should wear mourning for three days in honor of the great man. The following is Benjamin Franklin’s epitaph, written by himself:
The body of
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer,
Like the cover of an old book,
its contents torn out,
and stript of its lettering and gilding,
lies here food for worms;
Yet the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more
in a new and more beautiful edition
Corrected and amended
by the Author.
The Real Benjamin Franklin, pages 232-233
Speech of Benjamin Franklin, September 17, 1787