Benjamin Franklin

Kevin J. Hayes

in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195187274
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Benjamin Franklin

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The life, works, and contribution of Benjamin Franklin is the focus of this article. Sailing for England in 1724 aboard the London Hope two months prior to his nineteenth birthday, Benjamin Franklin looked forward to seeing London, where he planned to acquire a printing press. Once in England, Franklin discovered that there were no letters and no patrons. He started working for a printing press and started writing. He wrote and printed A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity (1725), a pamphlet taking issue with William Wollaston's Religion of Nature Delineated (1722). Franklin repudiated the ideas he expressed in the Dissertation in an essay entitled “On the Providence of God in the Government of the World” (1732), but the Dissertation remains important in terms of his biography. This article further discusses several other compositions of Franklin and the impact such writings had on society at large.

Keywords: Benjamin Franklin; London Hope; letters; dissertation; biography

Article.  9119 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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