Reddit Reddit reviews Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

We found 7 Reddit comments about Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

United States Biographies
Historical Biographies
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Benjamin Franklin An American Life
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7 Reddit comments about Benjamin Franklin: An American Life:

u/Mddcat04 · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

Where this discussion generally breaks down is in the definition of 'Christian Nation.' Generally those who oppose the term will state that America is not officially Christian, and will point to the Treaty of Tripoli or to the Establishment Clause, to which opponents will retort that America was founded on so-called 'Christian Values,' and that makes it a Christian nation. This much at least is hard to deny, many of the earliest settlers were very devout Christians (the puritans especially) and at least some of their beliefs are still important today (the so-called 'Protestant Work Ethic' being the most famous). Additionally, every US President has been (at least nominally) Christian, along with the vast majority of legislators in Congress, going all the way back to 1789. This is generally reflective of population, as a significant majority of Americans have identified as Christian for the entire life of the Republic.

Overall, its hard to deny the influence of Christianity and Christian thought over colonial and revolutionary America, but its also important to point out that the founders took steps to demonstrate that Christianity was not the only faith that could be practiced in the new country.

  • The Constitution states clearly that the authority of the government rests with the people, rather than an appeal to any higher power. While it is often claimed that the Constitution claims no reference to God, this is not entirely accurate, the date in article 7 is referred to this way:

    > done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven

    However, this is not any more of an endorsement than using A.D. would be today.

  • Natural Rights: At the debate over the Bill of Rights, Theodore Sedgwick sarcastically wondered why not include 'a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased; that he might get up when he pleased, and go to bed when he thought proper?' While he was being facetious, his observation gets at an underlying principal of the Bill of Rights, that it is not supposed to grant rights, merely reflect a few of the rights that every free person should possess automatically. This is made clear by the 9th Amendment which stipulates 'The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.' i.e. just because we didn't write it down, doesn't mean that you don't have it as a right. Going by this logical framework, the First Amendment is not establishing merely that Congress isn't allowed to limit free expression of religion, but that 'free exercise' of Religion is a basic and fundamental natural right of all free peoples.


  • Federalist 84 Hamilton argues against those claiming that the Bill of Rights is not necessary. Although he does note that the rights have their basis in English Common Law.

  • Letter from Jefferson to Madison 1789 Jefferson expresses his view of why abill of rights is important, though stating that it would be 'A positive declaration of some essential rights.' Rather than the source of said rights.

  • Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes - Influential on the Founders, makes the distinction between Civil and Natural laws. Civil laws being those created by organizations, while Natural Laws are general rules discovered by reason.

  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

  • Madison, a life Reconsidered by Lynn Cheney

  • Ben Franklin, an American Life Not the most relevant, but Franklin was an advocate for Natural Rights and Natural Law.
u/mckeej · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Isaacson was a great read. Franklin is such an entertaining historical figure in so many ways.

u/haloshade · 1 pointr/LifeImprovement

I love reading biographies, I find them more inspiring and enjoyable to read than self-help books. Currently I'm reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. I highly recommend this book to anyone, prior to this book I only knew what they taught us in History class, this explores so many more aspect of his life, some of which we can all relate to (like his constant drive to improve himself).

[Meditations by Marcus Aurelius] ( is another great book I just finished. Written by a former Roman emperor who ruled during the time of frequent war, disease, and natural disasters, it's about how he dealt with it all as a leader by following the stoic philosophy. Amazing book and helped changed my outlook on the world.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This is one of those books that isn't geared to self-improvement, but to updating your view of the world. In it Taleb talks about how highly improbably events happen all the time, but we only see them as probable in hindsight. I think it's a great read since we tend to think in cause-and-effect ways, when in fact the world works more in a probabilistic way.

u/ngonzales80 · 1 pointr/spacex

He also mentioned during his interview with Kevin Rose that he highly recommend Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.

u/irredeemablegrace · 1 pointr/pics

That's the opposite of what I just read in a biography. The controversy is about when he performed the test, not necessarily of whether he did or not. This information I'm pulling from Walter Isaacson's biography, pages 140-141.

u/Gwobbo · 1 pointr/AskAnAmerican

Benjamin Franklin: An American life. Elon Musk recommended it actually, and I really liked it. He was really a brilliant man probably one of my favorite people of all time. It's quite a popular book, with a 4 and a half star rating with 600 reviews on Amazon.