Teacher Guide

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a classic of the autobiography genre, and specifically of the American autobiography genre. As famed Franklin scholar J.A. Leo Lemay states, “Franklin gave us the definitive formation of the American Dream.” Because Franklin was so involved as an intellectual, statesman, and entrepreneur, the work is richly informative of a country as much as a person.

The Autobiography is addressed to Franklin’s son, William, and was written over the course of many decades.

The work is unfinished, as Franklin died in 1790, but an outline exists that shows what Franklin intended to include. Scholar Susan Garfinkel summed up the process by which this work came to...

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