Benjamin Franklin and Education
Thomas William Lamont, Jr. (September 30, 1870 – February 2, 1948) was born in Claverack, New York. The Harvard Library bares the name of Lamont due to his great impact not only as a successful banker, but as a writer and a philanthropist as well. Boston architect Henry Shepley started the designing of the library building in 1938 and the same year the stirring speech Benjamin Franklin and Education was delivered at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lamont turns to the vast audience in his speech, addressing the message to young and old. The author speaks of the real facts in a persuasive way. He gives the example with pampering to show the great change in values; however, Lamont is still leading to the right choice – struggle. Lamont applies the knowledge of the past to the present burning issues. The experience of such an outstanding person as Benjamin Franklin is presented in the special way, giving the impression that this speech about capitalism, education and politics was written yesterday and not almost a century ago. He speaks of legislation, democracy and reform with a great credibility. Legislation is not perfect, democracy is our historical guideline, and reformation is inevitable. Thorough knowledge of business branch shows how business is not a way to fool somebody, but a way to lead and organize people.
The worsening of business or economic activity in the USA during 1937-1938, called the Recession, obviously served as one of the most important preconditions for writing a speech. The way out to understanding is looming ahead throughout several lines of the text.
In Lamont’s opinion, the way out is in the scientific approach applied to all aspects of life. Education, being here the major assisting method, should develop the character and the wit. The secret of prosperity and stability, as he makes it clear, is in the unity and trust, simplicity and truth.
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