Benjamin Franklin A Misogynist

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Arguably one of the most beloved founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin has been an exceptional example of a man pursuing and living the American Dream. Today we have an immense amount primary sources that illuminate the life of Franklin and his ventures including entire volumes of correspondences with a broad spectrum of people and countless articles and pamphlets authored by himself. While these documents provide inclusive information concerning his service to his country, sciences, and other attributable accomplishments, they also paint a picture of a promiscuous man, who undoubtedly reveled in the company of many different companions. And like many white American and white Europeans during the period, he owned slaves for most of his adult…show more content…
Frankly, one should not discredit a person’s many good deeds in the presence of their private love life escapades. Franklin has been named a misogynist based on some graphically detailed advice found in a letter to a young man in 1745. While the letter encouraged his friend to take a wife, he went to great lengths to implore the man that if he should take a mistress instead, then he should choose an old woman. It’s an amusing argument that is easily taken in earnest when compared to how Franklin changes and evolves throughout his life. He proves himself a progressive thinking and innovative individual in the face of our nation’s serious atrocities against people of color. Evidence to these accusations against his character is scarce, save for his forward nature in letters to his supposed one night stand. There are many letters that show his indulgent and immoderately charming nature and one should observe his forward behavior in conjunction with his high regard for women and their education. He often made a case for women’s deserved right to education and even made comments in his provocative letter his young friend seeking a mistress. In one of his reasons for the selection of an old mistress is because they are wiser and, “their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.” While this statement isn’t in any way justifying his grossly detailed…show more content…
Franklin wasn’t exempt from the typical misconceptions and pre-conceived notions about people of color, though. When he visited a school where African children were being educated, he began change his feelings about race. This experience would change him so much so that he would later become the President of the Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Even though he owned 2 slaves for much of his adult life, he would later let them go free. Like his passion for women’s education, he proposed the idea that freed slaves were in need of education and would have a difficult time contributing to society without it (PBS, Benjamin Franklin Abolitionist, 2012). Franklin had the right thing in mind when it came to being an American and that was the freedom to knowledge.
In conclusion it can be said the Benjamin Franklin was the first true American because his ideas for what would make a citizen better or safer were inclusive to education. And there is something to be said of his ability to work on his preconceived notions and correct his ways as he did. He changes and evolves and adapts. If this won’t be evocative of the title for true American and this is was America should strive to
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