Ben Franklin Activity

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					                                                                                                   Ben Franklin Worksheet
Mar. 11

               A year after Benjamin Franklin's death, his autobiography, entitled "Memoires De La Vie Privee," was
      published in Paris in March of 1791. The first English translation, "The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin,
      LL.D. Originally Written By Himself, And Now Translated From The French," was published in London in 1793.

                Known today as "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," this classic piece of Americana was originally
      written for Franklin's son William, then the Governor of New Jersey.

                The work portrays a fascinating picture of life in Philadelphia, as well as Franklin's shrewd observations on
      the literature, philosophy and religion of America's Colonial and Revolutionary periods. Franklin wrote the first five
      chapters of his autobiography in England in 1771, resumed again thirteen years later (1784-85) in Paris and later in
      1788 when he returned to the United States. Franklin ends the account of his life in 1757 when he was 51 years old.

               Considered to be the greatest autobiography produced in Colonial America, Franklin's Autobiography is
      published in 14 chapters. Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of thirteen virtues, which he developed
      at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his thirteen
      virtues as:

      1.    Temperance            Eat not to dullness; drink not to elation
      2.    Silence               Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
      3.    Order                 Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have time
      4.    Resolution            Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
      5.    Frugality             Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing
      6.    Industry              Lose not time; be always employed in something useful
      7.    Sincerity             Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly
      8.    Justice               Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
      9.    Moderation            Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
      10.   Tranquility           Be not disturbed at trifles; or at accidents common or unavoidable
      11.   Chastity              Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness or injury
      12.   Cleanliness           Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation
      13.   Humility              Imitate Jesus and Socrates

               Franklin didn't try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would work on one and only one each week
      "leaving all others to their ordinary chance". While Franklin didn't live completely by his virtues and by his own
      admission, he fell short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to
      his success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other
      single point; in his autobiography Franklin wrote, "I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the
      example and reap the benefit."[

      More Resources:

      Grade 9: American Literature                                                                                     1
                                                                                                  Ben Franklin Worksheet
Mar. 11

                In honor of Ben Franklin’s 303rd Birthday, you will read his autobiography and complete a worksheet as well
      as perform an activity. For this activity, you will attempt to replicate Franklin’s self improvement program. You will
      choose seven areas that you can improve yourself, define them, and over the next week you will apply them to your
      daily routine, one per day.

             Trait                Day                                           Description







               You will keep a daily log of how well you achieve self improvement in your class journal, as well as reflect
      on the process once finished. How successful were you? What did you find easiest? Most Difficult? How worthwhile
      was your experiment?

      Grade 9: American Literature                                                                                   2
                                                                                                 Ben Franklin Worksheet
Mar. 11

      Study Questions:

          1.   What does the Autobiography tell us about the 18th century?

          2.   What is the purpose of the Autobiography, and how does that purpose change throughout the work?

          3.   What motivates Franklin? Why does he choose to spend so much of his life making things better for his
               fellow countrymen?

          4.   How does Franklin employ humor in the Autobiography? Pick several instances and comment on them.

          5.   "Franklin was a shameless self-promoter with numerous achievements, almost all of which were
               accomplished primarily to gain himself fame and bragging rights. Moreover, he was blindly idealistic, and did
               not concern himself with Americans not as lucky as himself." Defend or refute this statement.

      Grade 9: American Literature                                                                                  3

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