What is the literal and also the figurative meaning of Benjamin Franklin's "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One"?  

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On a literal level, Franklin is giving the British advice as to how to break up or destroy their American empire. He outlines twenty ways the British are alienating the American colonists and inciting them to rebel and form their own country. He is saying that if the British goal is to end their rule in American, they are on exactly the right track.

Figuratively, the essay is a satire, meaning it is trying to point out the folly or mistakes the British are making with the Americans so as to urge them to change their ways. Franklin is using irony, or saying the opposite of what he means, to jolt the British into making needed changes.

An example of irony is creating a speaker who refers to himself as a Simpleton when he is anything but that. This narrator then goes on to say that everything the British are doing in America is achieving the opposite of Britian's goals. He points out that it is counterproductive to treat the Americans as second-class citizens, denying them the same rights as...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1030 words.)

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