Ben and William Franklin

1339 Words6 Pages
Ben and William Franklin were masters at the art of compromise. They used compromise in their public and personal life to create influence and prosperity for themselves. But as the conflicts between England and the American Colonies increased in the middle eighteenth century, and the rift between the loyalists and patriots became more defined, both father and son found themselves having to choose distinct sides where their usual mode of compromise could not be kept intact. As it would be, father and son chose opposite sides of the conflict. Due to this, by examining the breakdown of Ben and William Franklin's nature to compromise in their dealings as public figures, a clear parallel can be seen with that of the breakdown in their private lives as father and son. Early on, Ben Franklin saw the benefit of compromise. As a lover of discourse, Franklin soon adopted a style of speaking that was drastically different than that of his first style as the emphatic debater. (Autobiography 20) After he had switched his speaking style to that of the Socratic method, he eventually loosened his manner to "expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence" (Autobiography 25) Even his newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, was run on his philosophy of compromise so that it "offend no one" (Skemp 12). This all laid the groundwork for much of his public and political life, as well as with his relationship to his son. William, "had learned his first and most enduring political lessons at his father's knee" (Skemp 88) and doubtless, the clever conversational and compromising tactics of his father had an impacting influence upon the younger Franklin. Ben's involvement and influence truly helped shape William's public, as well as his private, life. Indeed, it was due to his father's encouragement that William enlisted in the Royal Army, studied law, and was justified in accepting
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