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Benjamin Franklin's The Art of Virtue

Franklin's Philosophy of Life
in His Own Words

312 Pages
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Benjamin Franklin's
The Art of Virtue

Franklin's Philosophy of Life—In His Own Words

The Homeschool Curriculum Enrichment Every Homeschooler Needs
As a homeschooler you have larger objectives than the academic education of your children. You also are interested in empowering them to make sound, responsible choices in their every day lives. Your homeschool curriculum alone won't do that. It is tne missing piece in education.

In 1732 Benjamin Franklin decided to write a book for the benefit of youth. He planned to title it, The Art of Virtue.  He believed there were many people who lived bad lives that would gladly live good lives if they only knew how to make the change. He also felt that while all people have some virtues, none have naturally all the virtues. It is one of the few things in life which he started and never finished.

While he experimented with ideas, gathered information, and nurtured this project for nearly 50 years, other responsibilities and duties prevented his writing it. But all was not lost. Some 250 years later, George L. Rogers, Front cover of Benjmin Franklin's the Art of Virtuebelieving he had identified in Franklin’s writings the ideas Franklin would have included in this book, edited and published them under the title, Benjamin Franklin’s The Art of Virtue.

The Art of Virtue represents the clearest and most concise expression of the character traits and the philosophy that guided Benjamin Franklin's life ever published. While there are many books about Benjamin Franklin, this one is truly by him. In addition to the quotes below, I invite you to visit our website which is devoted providing you as a homeschooler with resources for enriching your homeschool curriculum.

Franklin's Philosophy of Life
May Be Summarized in One Sentence.

“There can be no happiness but in a virtuous and self-approving conduct.”

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Presented as formulas for successful living, The Art of Virtue captures Franklin's timeless philosophy on such topics as goal setting and personal achievement, obtaining wealth and preserving health, human relations and family living, religion and morality, aging and dying, and much much more. Here are a few things he had to say.

In Essays:

The Busy-Body, Weekly Mercury, February 18, 1728  
“It is said that the Persians, in their constitution, had public schools in which virtue was taught as a liberal art or science; and it is certainly of more consequence to a man that he has learnt to govern his passions in spite of temptation, to be just in his dealings, to be temperate in his pleasures, to support himself with fortitude under his misfortunes, to behave with prudence in all his affairs and circumstances of life; I say, it is of much more real advantage to him to be thus qualified, than to be a master of all the arts and sciences in the world besides.”

Dialogue Concerning Virtue and Pleasure, Pennsylvania Gazette, June 23, 1730
“. . . .as the happiness or real good of man consists in right action and right action cannot be produced without right opinion, it behooves, us above all things in this world to take care that our own opinions of things be according to the nature of things. The foundation of all virtue and happiness is thinking rightly.”

In Personal Letters:

To Madame Brillion - A story from his youth in which he paid too much for a whistle
“I conceive that a great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.”

To Julina Richie who had written to warn him that his valet was a spy for the French.
“I have long observed one rule which prevents any inconvenience from such practices, It is simply this—to be engaged in no affairs that I would blush to have made public.” 

To Madame Brillion - In the parable of the Ephemera
"To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well."

To John Jay who had commented to Franklin that he still had enemies in England
“I have, as you observe, some enemies in England, but they are my enemies as an American; I have two or three in America who are my enemies as a minister; but I thank God there are not in the whole world any who are my enemies as a man; for by his grace, through a long life, I have been enabled to so conduct myself that there does not exist a human being who can justly say, “Ben Franklin has wronged me.” This, my friend, is in old age a comfortable reflection.” 

These are but a few of the powerful ideas that guided Franklin in his life. He formulated them early in life. They also provide the underlying philosophy around which lessons in The Seven C's of Thinking Clearly were developed.

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