Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are frequently regarded to be two of the most influential figures in early American history. Both men contributed greatly to the founding of the nation and are considered to be two of the forefathers of the new country. While there are great similarities in both their public and political lives as well as within their personal lives. Even with the uncanny similarities with these two men, there are also slight differences as be expected of two different men.
However, while their histories Intertwine a great deal and there are many historical roughhouses that the figures share, It is what they do not that Is of greatest interest. This is because each man brought a different set of understanding and skills to the nation. While both were great men and offered tremendous services to the country Individually, it is clear that the United States would be severely hurt without the contributions of both.
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Thomas Jefferson is perhaps best known for being the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. He specifically coined the first lines of the second paragraph which laid the foundation for the American Revolution and American necromancy: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it Is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish It, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its rowers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Benjamin Franklin, however, led a very different role with regards to the Declaration of Independence.
In 1775, upon his arrival to Philadelphia, he was chosen as a member of the Continental Congress and assisted in editing the document that had already been forged. However, it is Franklins earlier life that contributed much to the birth of the united States. For most of Franklins early life, he worked as a businessman having started a printing house in 1730 and initiated he Union Fire Company, the first volunteer firefighting company in America, in 1736. In 1748, he retired from printing and created a partnership with his foreman, David Hill, who provided Franklin with half the shop’s profits for the next 18 years.
This business was very lucrative and afforded Franklin the ability for leisure time and study and yielded many of his discoveries that made him famous through Europe and much of France. Of his investigations was his look into electricity, including his Lune 15, 1752 famous kite flight In lightning to test the reactions of electricity. However, Franklin understood the dangers of electricity ?? as evident by his later invention of the lightning rod – and properly insulated himself before the attempt in 1 OFF major fields of science: electricity and meteorology.
In politics he proved very able both as an administrator and as a controversialists; as an office-holder, he made use of his position to advance his relatives, though doing so was all but expected in a world dominated by political patronage. His most notable service in domestic politics was his reform of the postal system, but his fame s a statesman rests chiefly on his diplomatic services in connection with the relations of the colonies with Great Britain, and later with France.
It was during this period that Franklin was involved in the creation of not only the aforementioned first volunteer fire department and free public library, but also many other civic enterprises. In 1754 he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense against the French. Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
In 1757 he was sent to England to protest against the influence of the Penn family in the government of Pennsylvania, and for five years he remained there, striving to enlighten the people and the ministry of the United Kingdom as to colonial conditions. At Oxford University Franklin was awarded an honorary doctorate for his scientific accomplishments and from then on went by “Doctor Franklin. ” He also managed to secure a post for his illegitimate son, William Franklin, as Colonial Governor of New Jersey.
In 1756, Franklin became a member of the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce whose early meetings took place in coffee shops in Loon’s Covent Garden district, close to Franklins main London residence in Craven Street. After his return to America, Franklin became the Society’s Corresponding Member and remained closely connected with the Society. The RASA instituted a Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1956 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Franklins birth and the 20th anniversary of his membership of the RASA.
In 1758, he year in which he ceased writing for the Almanac, he printed “Father Abraham’s Sermon,” one of the most famous pieces of literature produced in Colonial America. Jefferson early political history seems to stem from entirely different roots than did Franklins. Ata young age, Jefferson inherited about 5,000 acres of land and dozens of slaves from his father, out of which he created his home which would eventually be known as Monticello. He practiced law in Virginia and in 1772 Jefferson married a widow, Martha Walleyes Skeleton. Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
In 1774, he wrote A Summary View of the Rights of British America which was intended as instructions for the Virginia delegates to a national congress. The summary was considered to be towards the radical side at the time in terms of the view of the colonies towards the British government. It was not followed by the Virginia delegates, but it was published nationally and won Jefferson some national admirers who agreed with his ideas and who were impressed by his writing ability. Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, and a source of many there contributions to American political and civil culture.
The Continental Congress delegated the task of writing the Declaration to a committee which included Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. The Declaration alone. In his public life and on matters of religion, Jefferson was sometimes accused by his political opponents of being an atheist; however, he is generally regarded as a believer in Deism, a philosophy shared by many other notable intellectuals of his time (in contrast with Franklin who rebelled quite readily against his parent’s Christian teachings).
Jefferson repeatedly stated his belief in a creator, and in the United States Declaration of Independence uses the terms “Creator”, “Nature’s God”, and “Divine Providence”. Jefferson believed, furthermore, it was this Creator that endowed humanity with a number of inalienable rights, such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. He was raised Episcopalian at a time when the Episcopal Church was the state religion in Virginia. Before the American Revolution, when the Episcopal Church was the American branch of the Anglican
Church of England, Jefferson was a vestryman in his local church, a lay position that was part of political office at the time. He later removed his name from those available to become godparents, because his beliefs opposed Trinitarian theology. Jefferson later expressed general agreement with his friend Joseph Priestley Unitarianism and wrote that he would have liked to have been a member of a Unitarian church, but there were no Unitarian churches in Virginia. While it may seem that Franklin and Jefferson shared different roots, their differences in religion loud be made up for with similarities in religious philosophy.
Both men supported what Jefferson called a “wall of separation between Church and State”, which he believed was a principle expressed within the First Amendment: Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make he clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion.
Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. This particular point about the two founding fathers is of note, as it is representative of a number of their other political philosophies. As can be seen from the above paragraphs, the early personal and political lives of Franklin and Jefferson differed greatly, especially in the areas of their upbringing. Contrast Jefferson early wealth with the fact that Franklins early life yielded birth in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706.
Rather than being born to a wealthy landowner, Franklins father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler, a maker of candles, who married twice. Franklin also was one of seventeen children and was the tenth and youngest son. His schooling ended at ten and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer who published the New England Currant. And while Franklins early printing life was of interest: while a printing apprentice he wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Silence Dogwood’ who was ostensibly a middle-aged widow. His brother and the Currant’s readers did not initially know the real author.
His brother was not impressed when he discovered his popular correspondent was his younger, precocious brother. He left his apprenticeship without permission and in so doing became a fugitive. After this, Franklin did not really see wealth or success until he became self-made through his printing companies. So it is these a hand in shaping the nation, especially in their work on the Declaration of Independence, and believed very similar philosophies with regards to individual freedoms, political agendas, and religious practices.