Benjamin Franklin was a famous politician, scientist, and writer, and he is known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He played a significant role in the period of the American Enlightenment and made a substantial contribution to physics, history, literature, and other fields. A scientific part of his activity primarily relates to his theories on the topic of electricity. His works are written using logical thinking because each conclusion in those works is supported by a rational explanation or answers a concrete question.
Franklin constantly explained logical chains that had led him to one or the other conclusion. For instance, his essay On the Slave Trade starts not with a statement but with the reasoning that led him to it while reading Jackson’s speech in Congress (Franklin, “On the Slave Trade” 207). Furthermore, the essay ends similarly:
And since like motives are apt to produce, in the minds of men, like opinions and resolutions, may we not venture to predict, from this account, that the petitions to the parliament of England for abolishing the slave trade, to say nothing of other legislatures, and the debates upon them, will have a similar conclusion. (Franklin, “On the Slave Trade” 210)
Thus, even if Franklin’s conclusion only consisted of a few words, the logical chain could be explained with an entire paragraph, as he considered it necessary to express his thoughts logically.
Moreover, Franklin tried to find logic in his discourse and other people’s thoughts. For example, in his work Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America, Franklin gives a definition of savages that explains the origin of that term (“Remarks Concerning the Savages” 223). He did not miss a single objective detail of the topic so that the readers could see a clear picture. Franklin did not address an issue, whether in a supportive or critical manner, before finding a logical explanation to the problem to discuss it in his work.
Another illustration of Franklin’s logic is his frequent usage of questions, often followed by the answers straight away. For example, he raised many questions in sequence while addressing the slavery discussion in a translated African speech (Franklin, “On the Slave Trade” 208). Although he did not do the same in the second work under review, Franklin still led the reasoning interrogatively (Franklin, “Remarks Concerning the Savages” 225). It is much easier to trace the logic in any discourse when each statement does not simply exist in work but answers a specific question in addition.
Overall, it is evident that using logic as a tool for expressing thoughts is a feature of Franklin’s works mentioned in this paper. First of all, his writings contain many strongly marked logical chains leading to his statements and reveal his way of thinking even when it comes to the most insignificant conclusion. In addition, Franklin’s works present logic in conceptions that do not belong to himself, which illustrates using a logical approach in consideration of almost everything. Lastly, the essays under review are written in an interrogative manner, which means that every statement made also appears as a logical answer to a particular question. Although only two of Franklin’s works are considered, the arguments mentioned in this paper still demonstrate his way of writing his works and explain the application of logic in them.
Franklin, Benjamin. “On the Slave Trade.” The Works of Benjamin Franklin; Consisting of Essays, Humorous, Moral and Literary: with His Life, Written by Himself, Chiswick Press of Charles Whittingham, 1824, pp. 207-210.
Franklin, Benjamin. “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America.” The Works of Benjamin Franklin; Consisting of Essays, Humorous, Moral and Literary: with His Life, Written by Himself, Chiswick Press of Charles Whittingham, 1824, pp. 223-230.