Political Background

Benjamin Franklin's religion and political views

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706 and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1790 of old age at 84 years old.

Franklin was brought up in a Puritan household, a form of the Episcopalian denomination of Christianity. However, Franklin, as one of the messengers of the Enlightenment to America, abandoned his religion as an adult in favor of reason and science and the man-made ethics of that movement.1

The Enlightenment, first emerging in France and then spreading throughout much of western Europe including England, Scotland, The Netherlands, and Germany was the beginning of modern society. Suddenly God was not the only authority and source of knowledge. Thinkers like Voltaire, Hume, Locke, and Kant were looking to Democracy, science, reason, and secularism for answers and casting aside the chains of the church and theology. Franklin, along with Thomas Jefferson in American, was instrumental in bringing these ideas to what is now the United States.