Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2.3, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (American Studies), course: Proseminar - Colonial Literature, language: English, abstract: Despite Benjamin Franklin's exceptional position, strong evidence shows that he was not as genius as most of the people thought he was. Besides positive attitudes toward Franklin, one finds several essays criticizing him and his concepts. The criticisms range from political failure right up to moral blunders. Be it the 'afflicting' Arts of Virtue according to Mark Twain or an attempt to calm the conflict before the revolution by breaking the laws. One shouldn't be blinded by Franklin's major fame during his lifetime for the people themselves were blinded by Franklin's ability to promote himself. Therefore, I will show in this work that Benjamin Franklin was overestimated during his lifetime. For this purpose, I will focus on essays containing adverse criticism. I will not only analyze writings published by contemporaries, but I will also include critical works by reviewers in the centuries following his death.