Talk:Benjamin Franklin/Draft

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article has a Citable Version.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
To learn how to update the categories for this article, see here. To update categories, edit the metadata template.
 Definition 1706-1790, American statesman and scientist, based in Philadelphia. [d] [e]
Checklist and Archives
 Workgroup categories History and Politics [Categories OK]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English

Humorous writings by Benjamin Franklin

What do we do with these writings? Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School by Carl Japikse

I question their authenticity. --Robert W King 15:13, 3 April 2008 (CDT)
Not sure what there is to question. Ben Franklin was famous for his wit. I've never read this book, but if I recall correctly Fart Proudly is referenced in the Isaacson biography. --Todd Coles 16:19, 3 April 2008 (CDT)


  • Benjamin Franklin#Early Life: "puritan": I think by this time puritanism was mostly dead as an identifiable denomination. How about "Congregationalist?" Do we have a source that makes this claim that Franklin was a "puritan?" "Silence Dogood": Didn't Franklin also keep the identity of Silence a secret from even his brother (for a while)? If so, the article should make that clear.
  • Benjamin Franklin#Printer and Civic Leader: Samuel Keimer should be mentioned earlier in the paragraph. I'm not sure which employer Keimer was when the article says "former employer." "Vaccinations": I think there is a history of medicine issue here in that the term in use in the 18th century for the medical practice describe was "inoculation." Do we have a source for Franklin's advocacy of "vaccination?"

I've gone through these two sections and made some copy edits too. These suggestions above, I think, will require some re-writing. Still working. Russell D. Jones 13:28, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't have any sources in front of me but I will follow up on this. I do know that Franklin was influenced at a young age by the writings of Cotton Mather, so there is some puritan influence. I believe you are correct in that Franklin's brother was unaware of who Silence Dogood was.--Todd Coles 13:56, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I think my concern here is that the article seems to suggest that Franklin was raised in the Puritan religion, not that he was puritan by culture. My comment is that if the article is trying to assert the Franklin family's religious affiliation, it should be clearer than "Puritan" which was more or less defunct by the early 1700s as a term for a religious denomination. Russell D. Jones 22:09, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I've got two Franklin biographies at home - Walter Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and James Srodes' Franklin: The Essential Founding Father. Srodes avoids discussion of denomination outside of saying "Franklins were pious and fearless Congregationalists...." (p.12). Isaacson goes into much more detail, discussing the Puritan migrations to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the late 17th century, as well as numerous references to his father, Josiah, as a Puritan. He describes the church they attended as the "newest and most liberal of Boston's three Puritan congregations." (p.11) I will research this further if you believe it is warranted, but it seems to me that the use of Puritan should be acceptable. Also, rereading your first point, I don't want to imply that Franklin was himself a Puritan, only that he was raised in a Puritan household. --Todd Coles 02:02, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Right; Franklin himself was not Puritan (he'd smile at that thought I think). That should be clear. I'm baffled why Isaacson would call the congregation "Puritan" as even the puritans weren't calling themselves puritan by that time. They were "non-conformists" or "dissenters" or "congregationalists." But both of those authors are writers/biographers and not academic historians so it doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't nail down the details. They are probably correct enough. Russell D. Jones 12:30, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I had some free time to pry into this a little further this morning. The Old South Church, of which the Franklins were members, on it's current website had some google book links for church history. I've scanned through History of the Old South Church (Third Church) Boston, 1669-1884 [1], and they refer to themselves as Congregationalist. So you are correct, and I think we should go with that. If you feel we need to source it, let me know. --Todd Coles 14:20, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
It would be nice to get this article approved, so I appreciate you looking into it. I had been neglecting it until it caught someone else's interest. --Todd Coles 13:56, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The pictures would fit, but they may not be free to use. I don't really like the way it's set up as an external link. I should have time this weekend to see if I can find some acceptable images to use in that section. --Todd Coles 21:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Found a picture of the stove, not much luck on the others as far as public domain images go. --Todd Coles 01:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Benjamin_Franklin#Scientist_and_Inventor: Hi Todd, I read with pleasure Benjamin Franklin. I have one comment: I don't believe that Franklin invented the electrical battery. Everybody always credits Volta (1800) for this and Faraday, Oersted and such people called the battery a "Voltaic pile". From your description it seems to me that Franklin invented an improved version of the capacitor. The "Leyden jar" can be seen as a primitive version of the capacitor. --Paul Wormer 15:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I've made the changes to reflect this, thanks Paul. Franklin did call his invention a battery even though it was actually a capacitor. --Todd Coles 01:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Thought this article reads very well - but this I think is wrong: "While the Commission agreed that the cures claimed by Mesmer were indeed cures.."

No, that I think is very not true. The Commission tested the claims of one of Mesmer's followers (d'Eslon, Mesmer himself refused to be tested), and in an experiment that became famous they showed that the "effects" (of a 'magnetised' or mesmerised object - were effects induced by mere suggestion. The Commission powerfully - and very effectively - discredited Mesmerism and Mesmer along with it. His reputation never recovered, and the experiment is notable as a first demonstration of the power of the placebo effect. I think this account is reasonably accurate Gareth Leng 21:39, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

(- found a translation of the conclusions, as below)

" The commissioners have ascertained that the animal magnetic fluid is not perceptible by any of the senses ; that it has no action, either on themselves or on the patients subjected to it. They are convinced that pressure and contact effect changes which are rarely favourable to the animal system^ and which injuriously affect the imagination. Finally, they have demonstrated by decisive experiments that imagination apart from magnetism, produces convulsions, and that magnetism without imagination produces nothing. They have come to the unanimous conclusion with respect to the existence and utility of magnetism, that there is nothing to prove the existence of the animal magnetic fluid; that this fluid, since it is non-existent, has no beneficial effect; that the violent effects observed in patients under public treatment are due to contact, to the excitement of the imagination, and to the mechanical imitation which involuntarily impels us to repeat that which strikes our senses. At the same time, they are compelled to add, since it is an important observation, that the contact and repeated excitement of the imagination which produce the crises may become hurtful; that the spectacle of these crises is likewise dangerous, on ac- count of the imitative faculty which is a law of nature; and consequently that all treatment in public in which magnetism is employed must in the end be productive of evil results."

" (Signed) B. Franklin, Majault, Le Roy, Sallin, Baillt, D'Arcet, De Bory, Guillotin, Lavoisier. "Paris, August 11, 1784." Gareth Leng 22:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

I've reworked that part to reflect this. I imagine their is no online version of this? Would be nice to link to if we could. --Todd Coles 01:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

French and Indian Wars

The French and Indian War (aka the Seven Years' War) did not begin until 1754, and Franklin's militia proposal was in 1747, during King George's War. To avoid confusion, we could change this to the Intercolonial Wars, but I am not sure which would be the best choice. --Todd Coles 22:33, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Stepping out of my role as Approvals Manager and speaking as one with some small amount of knowledge about Native American history, I'd suggest that Intercolonial Wars should be a redirect to French and Indian Wars, which is more common. Perhaps the best way we can deal with possible confusion is to start the article on the French and Indian Wars and explain that they included the French and Indian War. --Joe Quick 02:59, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Approved Version 1.0

Congratulations on this approval! Keep them coming! D. Matt Innis 03:36, 5 April 2009 (UTC)