Franklin: Puritan or Enlightenment? Essay

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Is Franklin a Puritan or Enlightenment Thinker

About Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin came from a very simple Calvinist background. Ha dad little formal education, but he made it through his own efforts and became a rare genius in human history. Everything seems to meet in this one man, mind and will, talent and art, strength and ease, wit and grace and he became almost everything: a printer, essayist, scientist, statesman, philosopher, political economist, ambassador, etc.-¡°Jack of all trades¡±.

Enlightenment in America

Toward the latter part of the 17th century, a complete new view of the universe came into being. With the publication of Newton¡¯s ¡°Philosophiae Naturalis
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They thought that religious truth also should be tested by reason. This was a great challenge to the former thoughts. Man¡¯s reason and the idea of order became the watchword of the day. Everything fell into some order, like Newton¡¯s ¡°clock¡± and all had a place in the divine plan.

3. Pursuit of Happiness

People with enlightenment thinking turned to pursue the happiness of the present world rather than the salvation in the after world. They showed more interest in the practical subjects in the real world. They thought that the ultimate objective of man¡¯s life is the life, liberty and pursuit of life. This kind of thought stimulated an activist individualism which advocated that one should be responsible of his own choice and attempt unalienable Rights.

All these ideas were very much in the air in America and no one represented them better than Benjamin Franklin. With Benjamin Franklin as its spokesman, eighteen-century America experienced an age if enlightenment, of reason and order like England and Europe.

Puritan Heritage

Though Newton¡¯s idea was very influential over the minds of the people in the 18th century, the Calvinist beliefs and tenets that man was, since the Fall, basically evil and enslaved by his sense of sin, and that God was all, and would in His mercy and love work for man¡¯s salvation, but as for man. All he could do (if ever there was anything he could do)
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