Ben Franklin: Ahead of His Time?

July 2, 2014 1:20 PM

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Ben Franklin: Ahead of His Time?

Ben Franklin had a lot of sex. Everybody talks about it now. In 2003 Time magazine called him a "babe magnet." Some estimate that he had 15 children out of wedlock. For many this makes him "cool." Knowing that he lived a life that didn't conform -- especially to old-fashioned morals -- makes him seem all the more American and modern. Or, was he? The short answer is that he was very much an 18th century man. And he wasn't always viewed as ahead of his time. Previous generations viewed his personal life as downright old-fashioned.

Americans today maintain a keen interest in Franklin's sex life. It's part of public curiosity about the most famous founding father never to have been a president. Franklin played a role in all of this interest but in many ways we know what we know about him because he was more of an 18th century m...

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