Abstract

Ever since Benjamin Franklin wrote his autobiography, biographers throughout the centuries have molded him into the model American. Recently, too, historians increasingly have chosen Benjamin Franklin as a biographical subject. In 2000, H. W. Brands wrote a seven-hundred-plus page biography of Franklin entitled The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, and, in 2002, Edmund S. Morgan published his more concise book, Benjamin Franklin. The current rising interest in Benjamin Franklin is not surprising in light of the surging surplus of biographical sketches of many of the"Founding Fathers"such as Joseph Ellis's work on Thomas Jefferson and David McCullough's biography of John Adams. In any case, as one can see by the title of Brands's book, these modem Franklin biographers, like their predecessors, use Franklin to create an ideal citizen. Therefore, they tend to emphasize Franklin's political and diplomatic roles, seeing his contributions to the public sphere and to the American Revolution as the most important aspects of his life.

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History



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