Benjamin Franklin

In Summary

A collection of Benjamin Franklin's works from JMC programs for teachers.

“For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does.”

Benjamin Franklin

Speech at the Constitutional Convention


Benjamin Franklin was a writer, editor, inventor, public servant, and political philosopher. He was a strong proponent of the union of the colonies and active in the abolition movement. Some of his most notable works are below. The Benjamin Franklin Discovery Page has more information about him and resources from JMC scholars.

JMC Resources

Autobiography Selections


Written over the course of almost 20 years from 1771-1790, Franklin’s autobiography is regarded as one of the most influential autobiographies of all time. The chapters below are some highlights from the book describing his career and his plan for arriving at moral perfection.


Ch. VII: Beginning Business in Philadelphia


Ch. VIII: Business Success and First Public Service


Ch. IX: Plan for Attaining Moral Perfection

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Franklin as Silence Dogood


As a teenager Franklin assumed the persona of Silence Dogood, a middle-aged widow, and submitted a series of letters to his brother’s newspaper, the New-England Courant. In the letters, Franklin tells the story of Silence Dogood’s life and discusses contemporary political events, makes observations about New England society, and contemplates the virtues and vices of men and women.


No. 1, April 2, 1722


No. 2, April 16, 1722


No. 3, April 30, 1722


No. 6, June 11, 1722

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Letter by Benjamin Franklin, 1725


Other Writing


A frequent writer on almost innumerable topics, Franklin shared his beliefs on proper conversation etiquette, techniques for pursuing virtue, and advice to those considering immigrating to America.


“On Conversation,” 1730


Letter to Lord Kames, 1760


“Information to Those Who Would Remove to America,” 1782

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Speech at the Constitutional Convention


In this short speech on the last day of the Constitutional Convention, Franklin calls for unanimous consent by the present states despite his personal disagreement with some aspects of the document. He declares, “I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best,” believing that the convention had produced the best possible Constitution for the new nation.


Speech at the Constitutional Convention, September 17, 1787

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Ben Franklin in the Classroom


JMC Teacher Education Fellow, Dr. Danton Kostandarithes, has developed learning modules to bring Benjamin Franklin and his work to students. The activities below highlight Franklin’s service as the Ambassador to France, his belief in Enlightenment principles, and his famous lightning rod experiment.


Franklin and Diplomacy

Teacher Document

Student Worksheet



Franklin and the Enlightenment

Teacher Document

Student Worksheet

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