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Benjamin Franklin - A wealthy man with a rich character.

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Ann McMillin Tuchinsky History 021 19 September 2000 Benjamin Franklin: A Wealthy Man with a Rich Character Benjamin Franklin was born into modest circumstances. With sixteen brothers and sisters, there was no room for selfishness. He learned early on the importance of putting others before himself and did not have excessively ambitious plans for the future. As a child, Franklin "...had a strong inclination for the Sea," but his father would not hear of it. He ended up indentured to an older brother, who began his life as a printer. He was a hard worker but preferred to read books, conquer new subject matter, and engage in debates with other young scholars. His hard work did pay off in the financial sense later in life, but of more importance to him was the knowledge and enlightenment he received through his "hobbies." He became well known for his work ethic, strong morals and giving persona throughout Philadelphia, throughout America, and eventually throughout western civilization. Although he ultimately acquired considerable wealth, Benjamin Franklin prioritized the betterment of his character, intellect and reputation over the betterment of his financial situation. While still relatively young, Benjamin Franklin laid out guidelines on how to remain virtuous and content throughout his entire life. ...read more.


Because Franklin was such a hard worker, there was not much time for these educational exercises. "My time for these Exercises & for Reading, was at Night after Work, or before Work began in the Morning; or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing house alone (16)," he writes. As his wealth built up, he still felt the need to improve his intellect. He continually read books, memorized languages, and engaged in debates. He eventually found his education was helpful in a financial sense as well. "My Mind having been much more improv'd by Reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that Reason that my Conversation seem'd to be more valu'd (57)," Franklin writes to explain why he received business from a committee rather than his rival. His intellect did contribute to his wealth, but education was a priority before money was even an issue. As Franklin became better known throughout Philadelphia society, he took offices amongst other prominent citizens in government. Although civic positions allowed him a comfortable income, he used the influence towards improvement upon society. Franklin became Clerk of the General Assembly in 1736 and the Philadelphia Postmaster in 1737. His opinion on the latter position is as follows: "I accepted it readily, and found it of great Advantage; for tho' the Salary was small, it facilitated ...read more.


Because the father did not consider the job of a printer to be profitable, he refused. Franklin subsequently discontinued the courting of his daughter (69). Another instance also has to do with a debt and the uncomfortable feeling he has until it is resolved. A friend of the family trusts Franklin with 35 shillings. However, Franklin spends the money and remains uneasy that the money will be called back for several years. The situation is not put to an end until he finally obtains enough money to pay Vernon back at any time (32). Franklin believed debt "exposes a Man to Confinement and a Species of Slavery to his Creditors (97)," so he avoided it at great costs. Franklin was money conscious, but not money hungry. Because Benjamin Franklin prioritized the improvement of his character, intellect, and reputation above all else, he was put into a situation where obtaining a substantial wealth was relatively easy. His outstanding character and impressive intellect gained him a considerable reputation. Consequently, his reputation gained him additional business and placed him in civic positions, which also contributed to his income. Wealth, therefore, was a by-product. Being rich was not as important to Benjamin Franklin as being somebody, and because he truly became somebody, he was also successful in both a financial sense and a personal sense. For after obtaining a notable character, intellect, and reputation, he had conquered his goals. 1 McMillin ...read more.

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