The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for Franklin’s Memoirs, the unfinished records of Franklin’s life, written between 1771 and 1790. The Autobiography was never published during the lifetime of Franklin. While it was several times published in original view in French and English, the most popular version is the one, edited by J.Bigelow. This edition contains both ready parts and the notions about the unexecuted portion of the Franklin’s plan (Franklin 53). The book consists of four parts that represent different periods of life of Benjamin Franklin. The purpose of the edited Autobiography of Franklin was to preserve Franklin’s own vision of his life and historical events he took part in. The editor has fully implemented the purpose as all existing parts of the Memoirs were included and unified so that they become readable by the wide circle of readers.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of studying activities of Benjamin Franklin for learning the history of the U.S. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S., who contributed to the history of both the U.S politics and science. Franklin is often called “the First American” as he was the first person to campaign for the unity of colonies. Furthermore, when working abroad, Benjamin Franklin represented emerging American Nation (Brands 20). It is also interesting to mention that particularly Franklin was the only of the Founding Fathers of the U.S., who signed three major documents that constitute the legal framework for the appearance of the U.S. They are the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the U.S. and the Treaty of Paris (1783) that officially ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States of America. Importance of studying Franklin’s biography is also concerned with the fact that he was one of the first politicians in the U.S. to adhere to the concept of natural human rights. Furthermore, getting-to-know the U.S. constitutional history requires acquisition of an in-depth understanding of the Founding Fathers’ vision of constitutional architecture of the U.S. Franklin’s view of the U.S. constitutional order has changed several times. At the very beginning of his career he viewed colonies as essential part of the Empire, than considered the idea of federation under the rule of the British monarchy and only when the opposition between mother country and the colonies became insoluble, developed the model of the United States of America. Considering the personality of Franklin, it is also didactic to observe his ideas in different fields (e.g., human rights, religion, the system of thirteen virtues, time management etc.), as well as his contribution into a range of scientific fields, such as physics and chemistry.
The historical personality of Benjamin Franklin was repeatedly subjected to studies by different scholars. Apart from Franklin’s Autobiography, edited by J.Bigelow, among most popular books about Benjamin Franklin one can mention “The first American. The life and times of Benjamin Franklin” by H.W. Brands and “Benjamin Franklin” by E.S.Morgan. The common feature of all the books lies in the fact that they aim at considering all the fields of the protagonist’s activities. In other words, the common idea is to provide the insight into the life of Benjamin Franklin and reintroduce him as a pioneering scientist and successful author. Success of multifaceted activities of Benjamin Franklin and his great role in the history of the modern U.S. brought success to both scholarly and popular works about him.
Brands, F. The first American. The life and times of Benjamin Franklin. NY: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010. Print
Franklin, B. Autobiography. Ed. J.Bigelow. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2010. Print.