Franklin and the Quakers Argumentative Essay by Shaad

Franklin and the Quakers
A look at Benjamin Franklin's views on the Quakers and how he was influenced by them.
# 128280 | 1,519 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD

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This essay argues that Franklin was strongly and positively influenced by Quakers even though he was critical of them. Despite his open criticism of their devious ways, the essay argues that Franklin, through his association with the Quakers in governance, absorbs many of their defining qualities, such as their work ethic and their transcendence of creeds. It goes on to argue further that Franklin finally becomes the personification of the Quaker ideals.

From the Paper:

"Benjamin Franklin is the archetypal American. Many consider him to have set the example of self-reliance that inspired Americans towards self-governance. In other words, he is considered to be the key inspiration behind the American Revolution. In this essay I assess the key to Franklin's success by examining his relationship to the Quakers. There is no doubt that the sect of the Quakers is also instrumental towards the emergence of the American nation. Overall Franklin does not view the Quakers in a positive light. In parts of his autobiography he describes their fanaticism as disrupting practical governance. In the governing council of Philadelphia, he shows the Quakers taking impossible and hypocritical stances only to maintain their strict anti-war principle. However, I will argue that Franklin adopts many of the admirable traits of the Quaker, and that in this way the Quakers were a positive influence on him.
"John Adams assesses Franklin correctly when he makes the profound observation: ''The Catholics thought him almost a Catholic. The Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet Quaker'' (Nicholls 113)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography and Other Writings. Contributor Kenneth Silverman. New York: Penguin Classics, 2003.
  • Mintz, Steven. Moralists and Modernizers: America's Pre-Civil War Reformers. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press, 1995.
  • Nicholls, David. God and Government in an 'Age of Reason'. New York: Routledge, 1995.
  • Soderlund, Jean R. William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania: A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

Cite this Argumentative Essay:

APA Format

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MLA Format

"Franklin and the Quakers" 09 July 2010. Web. 15 August. 2022. <>