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Consenting Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson Though Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were contemporaries their views backgrounds and modes of influence were very different Benjamin Franklin was born of a large and poor family and rose to become a model of the emerging bourgeois classes in the American Colonies Throughout his long and life Franklin succeeded in business science and excellent statesmanship Thomas Jefferson however rose out of an affluent family to become the second President of the United States These two seemingly separate lives nevertheless overlapped each other on many occasions Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as the minister to France in 1785 and both men were present and influential in founding the basis for the constitution and the fledgling government Indeed the accomplishments of both men and the importance that has been credited to each throughout the annals of history have melded these two men and their contemporaries into a single vision as the Founding Fathers of the United States of America However examination of the writings that both of these men left behind for all of posterity reveal that these men had consenting and dissenting views on a variety of subjects Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin and the Selected Writings of Jefferson shows the distinctive and similar viewpoints that the respected authors had towards religion and education Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson shared similar viewpoints in respect to religion While neither of the men were radical atheists in the vein of Thomas Paine both of these men were pronounced Deists Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography writes frequently about his beliefs At the age of 15 Franklin happened upon books against Deism which he read and found that the argument for Deism was much better than the argument against it It happened that they wrought an Effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them For the Argument of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted appeared to me much
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