Benjamin Franklin's Struggle For American Independence

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Benjamin Franklin was a man who found himself on both extremes of the struggle for American Independence, once being the staunchest loyalist of America, and then becoming its fiercest patriot. For most of his life, and the build up to the war strongly loyal to the king. Franklin would idolize Britain, longing to live in “the sophistication and worthiness” of Britain, as compared to the “provinciality and vulgarity” of America. Additionally, Frankling would also have the grand goal of changing the American-British relationship from one of colony to its mother, to as equals in hopes to emulated the society in England in America. As Franklin expresses in his letter to Lord Kames in 1767: “Upon the whole, I have lived so great a Part of my Life …show more content…
Franklin first found himself being scapegoated by the British when he was elected the agent of Massachusetts in London. When he arranged a meeting with Lord Hillsborough in 1771 about his appointment as the agent of Massachusetts to London, “Hillsborough cut Franklin short and told him, “with something between a Smile and a Sneer” that he would not accept his appointment, since the assembly had no right to appoint an agent without consent of the governor.” This lead to an argument between the two, from which Franklin thought he would prevail, due to his greater influence. However, “Franklin was mistaken, and once he realized that HIllsborough did indeed have the backing of the government, he was shocked and became deeply depressed.” Instead of acknowledging the possible advantages of having a widely famed American and loyalist representing the most turbulent colony in Britain, and possibly getting his assistance to dim the uproar in the colony, the British instead used Franklin as someone to direct their anger to. This conflict did not phase Franklin too much, as Lord Hillsborough’s resignation from secretary of state for American Affairs gave Franklin a renewed sense of importance, and “by August 1772 Franklin was as optimistic as he had ever been.” However, this conflict was soon followed by a larger, more …show more content…
In 1772, Franklin was given a series of correspondences between Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew Oliver, (both of whom were colonial officers) and Thomas Whitley, a British undersecretary. In these letters, Hutchinson and Oliver suggested “ ‘an abridgement of what are called English liberties’ were needed in America”. Franklin believed he could send out these letters to Massachusetts as evidence that the cause of the issue lay not within the royal government, but with a few, corrupt colonial officers. However, he had not realized how much the American view had changed from his own. Franklin and the revolutionary groups in America both believed “Parliament had originally no Right to bind us by any kind of Law whatever without our Consent”, as he articulated in his letter to Thomas Cushing. However, Franklin believed the issues between the British and Americans could easily be mended. On the other hand, the revolutionaries saw the British government’s grievances as much worse than Franklin did, and some already believed separation was necessary. Thus, when the letters were published in Massachusetts, the colonists of Massachusetts believed the “letters seemed to confirm the [British] conspiracy against their liberties”. Thus, the Massachusetts revolutionaries used the letters not

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