PBS ” Benjamin Franklin: A Movie by Ken Burns’: A Tough American Life, But Not One Without God.

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, 1778/Money: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Monday and Tuesday, April 4-5 on PBS (see local listings), Benjamin Franklin: A Movie By Ken Burns The profiles are perhaps the most mysterious of the Founding Fathers – they were also religious, if not orthodox.

He was born the 10th son of a Boston coffee maker (he was right, unlike his own son, and the son and grandchildren, who practiced a different Franklin family culture), Franklin finished his schooling at age 12.

A self -taught polymath, he went on to careers as a printer, writer, editor, businessman, social organizer, inventor, amateur scientist and economic ambassador to England before and after his life. , she was involved in helping to give birth to the American republic.

Walter Isaacson and Ken Burns discuss history with Franklin

On the Group TV (virtual) Winter Press Tour, Walter Isaacson, author of The First America: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklinspoke of the difficult nature of Drs. Franklin (who holds an honorary doctorate), saying:

Ben Franklin’s emphasis was on being able to combine art and science, able to integrate human knowledge and technology. He thinks about everything you learn about everything, from anatomy to math to music to diplomacy.

And his science helped with what he did. As a scientist at Newton, he understood the values ​​and the scales and the equations of power.

His electrical experiments were among the most important scientists of the time, right after Newton. And, so I think that as a Renaissance man, like Leonardo da Vinci, he could see the features of nature.

And he thought of himself as a scientist and a developer. I think it’s not just about him, but about the American scene.

Ken Burns picked up the rope, saying:

Yes, I think Walter is right. You will be happy to know that in two years we will be back with a movie on Leonardo.

Most of these projects were born at a party in Washington DC many years ago, when we realized we couldn’t leave the right and left brain and couldn’t we exclude one of these two, namely, the protein levels that are disputed among the people. important men, especially for Franklin in the 18th century.

In every thought of history, Franklin knew he was not God

Fellow Founding Father John Adams saw history as looking at Franklin as a lofty image, as he said in a letter dated April 4, 1790, to another founder, Benjamin Rush:

The cause of the whole thing is Dr. Franklin’s lightning rod, which strikes the world and beyond General Washington’s Spring. Franklin fired him with his Rod – and they later led the Laws of Reconciliation and War.

But what Adams and Franklin – and Washington too – knew was that above them was a Supreme Being.

Benjamin Franklin about the notion that his subject matter is not the common denominator of Christianity. Franklin was often called a Deist, a believer in a watch -making God who does not interfere with our daily lives. He described himself as a “complete Deist” in his personal story, but that was only part of the story.

This section may be closer to the truth – inserted in a section of the document – as explained in a post on Pennsylvania Heritage website:

Ezra Stiles (1727-1795), the Calvinist president of Yale College, researched extensively about Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and his faith. In 1790 he asked the state if he would implement his religious beliefs in the paper. Franklin agreed.

He was nearing the end of his life – he died six weeks later – and perhaps thought this was a good time to reconnect with the religion in which he lived.

“This is my Creed,” Franklin wrote to Stiles. “I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. He governs by His will. He must be worshiped. The kind service we render to him is The soul of man is immortal, and is treated with the Righteousness of another life according to his deeds in this …

“Jesus of Nazareth… I think the Moral and Religious attitude he left them to us is the best the world has ever known… although that is the question I did not think that I had not learned it, and I do not think it would be proper for me to be comfortable with him now, which I am immediately thinking of in the future. to know the truth with little difficulty. “

Franklin’s story is simple, clever. Religion is useless unless it promotes righteousness. Jesus is the best teacher who ever lived, but He is not God.

Franklin and Slavery – A Difficulty

It is four o’clock Benjamin Franklin the film – which is, in style and presentation, typical Ken Burns – relies heavily on Franklin’s various words and actions about chattel service.

In this case, he is not the only one among the Founding Parents.

In the end, Franklin went down to the right of the issue, but he had to support the treaties in the Declaration and the Constitution that guaranteed the first union of the Southern states and then settled. in the company.

Isaacson said:

The most important thing they do as founders, and the most important thing we do in our lives is to know when the times will change and it will really stand out. in the original.

Franklin is a good example. He practices well. He knows you can’t make a great democracy without debate, but there are times when he says you can’t change.

He and they were wrong, that is, in Article three-fifth, and Franklin knew that was why he had dedicated the rest of his life after the Constituent Assembly to become an abolitionist. , to condemn the mind of the slave, to try. to abolish it, and even more so than Lincoln, in the hope that blacks may be well educated, and be as whites. And, as a result, he became a motivator in education as well.

But you need to understand life when you have sinned and you want to change when you need to continue to be honest, just as you understand the times you have sinned and take a high cultural background but twist things. up because you can’t change it.

A Nation born of agreement and original sin

As a writer, Burns was a regular midfielder. But, like everything else in the film industry, it has to do with outside culture.

If it had been done ten years ago, Benjamin Franklin May not have been deeply involved in the problem of slavery. But it was an important part of the history of the founding of America, and it is undeniably part of Franklin’s personal and political history.

Franklin knew that one day – in this world or in the future – he and his Founding partners would be called upon to work for their consent … but they had to work. .

Maybe Peter Stone is the book/screenplay for the music/movie 1776 well captured:

Dr. Benjaminn Franklin: We have no choice, John. The word slave must go.

John Adams: [stunned] Franklin, what are you talking about?

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: It’s a treasure we can’t have.

John Adams: [pause, then] ‘Luxury?’ There are half a million souls in chains … and Dr. Franklin he ‘luxury!’ You may have gone with the South!

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [dangerous] You have forgotten yourself, my lord. I founded the MUA anti -slavery group in this country.

John Adams: Yes, don’t shake your credentials with me! Maybe it’s time to update them!

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [angrily] Independence is the problem here! You may have forgotten that fact, but I haven’t! How can you bother our teacher, when we go too far? These men, unlike many of whom we agree with, were not commissioned recorders – they were proud, intelligent, the oil of their colonies. And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will become part of this new nation that you intend to create. Now, learn to live with them, or pick it up and go home!

[pause, then]

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: In any case, stop acting like the woman in Boston.

While we are on the subject of stories that have not been looked at

Speaking of the uncovered aspects of the American Revolution, I ended by listening to the audio book by English historian Andrew Roberts’ excellent biography. The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Kingdom of George III.

One of Roberts ’missions in the book, if not the most important one, is to correct the name of George III in the face of the public opinion (previously recorded in the Revelation) that he it is a crime.

History has misjudged George III on this, but one thing that struck me was the great role that anti -Catholicism played in the Revolution – in two Side of the fight.

Burns may want to consider incorporating this piece of story into a future film.

Photograph: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, 1778/Money: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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