Who does Benjamin Franklin hope to help by writing his autobiography?

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Benjamin Franklin's memoirs were intended initially for his son, William, who was a governor during the time of its writing. The autobiography initially only consisted of the first part: a summary of some of the political and social achievements Franklin had accomplished at the time. However, as he was still very active—particularly in the political arena—he decided to continue to write these memoirs to his son.

Eventually, however, his editor informed him that the memoirs would likely be beneficial for the general public, so he attempted to expand upon them. He lost many of the papers for the third part of his book while traveling to France but still managed to produce a large compilation. Finally, after his death, the book was released—unfinished—to the general public, and it has since become a hallmark of political literature for that period.

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Benjamin Franklin was an influential public figure in Europe and America, and most people admired his accomplishments. Many had heard that he was writing an autobiography, but few had actually read it. It remained a secret document, until 1818, when the first copy was released to the public.

Who Was the Autobiography Meant For?

The reason why it took 30 years for the public to read Franklin's autobiography is because it wasn't meant for them. Benjamin Franklin wrote his memoirs for his son and family. Part 1 of the memoirs details his ancestry and early life until he got married to his wife. The other parts contain lessons he learned in the various public positions that he held throughout his lifetime.

Franklin's autobiography was dedicated to his family. He wanted them to learn the wisdom he had acquired throughout his life.

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At the beginning of his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin addresses his son, William, who was then the Governor of New Jersey. Franklin tells him that just as he, Benjamin, was interested in learning more about his ancestors in England, he imagines that his son might be interested in learning more about his father's life. Franklin also hopes to help his "posterity," or descendants, by telling them about his rise from his humble and obscure origins to his achievement of success and renown. He thinks that by reading his book, his descendants can imitate some of what has made him happy and successful. Franklin's book, which remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1790, was written over the course of several years (starting in 1771), though he stated at the beginning of his book that he hoped to write down some anecdotes over the course of a week.

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