Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He is often thought of as the revolutionary figure who led protests against the Stamp Act, helped draft the Declaration of Independence, coordinated the peace treaty ending the American Revolution, and co-wrote and signed the U.S. Constitution. It is ironic, however, that Franklin is remembered more as the civic figure – the man on the $100 bill – than as the man who invented the stove or the man who formulated his own theories about lightning and electricity. The irony stems from the fact that Franklin often thought of himself as more of a scientist than a political thinker. This self-identification comes through in the Autobiography, which does not discuss the Revolution in any capacity and hardly even refers to events after 1757. Indeed, in the Autobiography, we get a full picture of Franklin as the Renaissance scholar, fascinated by all types of learning and interested in doing whatever he could to make life a little bit better for mankind, based on the notion that the way to please God was by doing good to other men. This interest manifested itself in public service and scientific progress.

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