Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Respond to one of the following prompts in a 750-word essay. Your answer should include direct references to the text, cited using Chicago-style footnotes. There is no need to include a full citation of the book; just the page number from which you pulled the quote or information is acceptable. At the end of the essay, tell me the word count and put that in bold. The book used for this is: Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Edited by Joyce Chaplin (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2012). Remember, you are only choosing one of the following questions and writing a 750-word essay on it from this book.

  1. What does Franklin’s Autobiography tell us about eighteenth-century America? What does it omit?
  2. How does the audience for the Autobiography shift between Parts One and Two? Why is this shift significant?
  3. To what extent is the Franklin of the Autobiography a fair representation of the historical Franklin as opposed to yet another persona created by the writer Benjamin Franklin?
  4. Using the Autobiography and other documents in the volume, how might you characterize Franklin’s political views?
  5. Late in life, Franklin came to oppose slavery. Are there signs in the Autobiography that indicate he might one day take this position? What is Franklin’s argument for abolition and for the care of the emancipated slaves?

Sample Solution