WITH THE NAME FRANKLIN
Aretha Franklin is an extremely gifted African-American singer popularly dubbed â€œThe Queen of Soulâ€. As with so many of her ilk, she got her start singing gospel in church and made her breakthrough in the late sixties with such monumental hits as â€œThinkâ€ and â€œRespectâ€. Aretha is one of the best-selling female vocalists of all time, and has won numerous awards, including 17 Grammys, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also did a hilarious turn as a singing waitress in the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi comedy hit movie, â€œThe Blues Brothersâ€, in 1980. In 2005, Aretha was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but perhaps her crowning accomplishment to date is her singing â€œMy Country, â€˜Tis of Theeâ€ at President Barack Obamaâ€™s 2009 inaugural ceremony.
One of the most celebrated American figures of all time, Ben Franklin was a jack of all trades. He represented the essence of what it means to be an American. A printer. A publisher. A scientist. An inventor. A postmaster. A legislator. A diplomat. A social activist. A Founding Father. Even with only a 5th grade education, Ben Franklin pulled himself up by the bootstraps and became a celebrated, intelligent, wealthy and important figure even during his own time. The man embodies the American ideals. He led both an ambitious life and a virtuous one. Benjamin Franklin was also one of the earliest abolitionists and a protector of Native American rights. His life alone is one of the most profound statements on what all Americans strive to be.
Franklin Pierce served as the 14th President of the United States between 1853 and 1857. "Handsome Frank" was loved by everyone. So much so, the presidency was practically handed to him on a silver platter. Unfortunately for this charming, out-going and charismatic guy, he was also an indecisive leader and a heavy drinker. Franklin Pierce's big boo-boo was known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, designed to repeal the Missouri Compromise and let Nebraska and Kansas decide for themselves on the slavery issue. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was so outraged, he created the Republican Party in retaliation, bringing himself squarely into the political narrative (phew). Once loved, Pierce ended his term reviled and ruined. He died an alcoholic recluse; a victim of cirrhosis.
FDR served as the 32nd President of the United States and had the longest term in history (1933-1945). Franklin Delano Roosevelt is another one of the "great" presidents. He was a public charmer and a brilliant politician. With his "It'll Be Better Tomorrow" slogan, FDR had the American public at "hello". He was born into wealth, pampered as a child, a Harvard graduate (and C student), and the 5th cousin to the ever-memorable Teddy Roosevelt. FDR was also struck with polio and crippled at the age of 39 (the severity of which he carefully kept hidden from the public). He had a strong personality and an infectious charisma, but he was elusive and hard to know. FDR had a rather unorthodox even chaotic management style but this didn't stop him from effecting so much change in a fast-changing landscape. His "New Deal" was a set of initiatives designed to impart a new degree of security and safety upon the American people. He joined the citizens every week in their living rooms during his "Fireside Chats" (he was a master radio broadcaster). Although ultimately it was the industrial mobilization for the war effort which brought America out of its depressed economy. At first, FDR aided allies but maintained a position of neutrality. Then came December 7, 1941 ("a day which will live in infamy") when Pearl Harbor was attacked thrusting the U.S. into war. Roosevelt and General Eisenhower orchestrated the greatest logistical effort and massive assault on mainland Europe known as "D Day" (June 4, 1944). FDR was easily re-elected to a 4th term, but at this point his health was failing and he would die soon after. FDR is remembered for having the longest and one of the greatest presidencies in history - all future presidents would have to live in the enormity of his shadow. He was challenged with two of the largest crises in American history: the Great Depression and World War II - but as he said once: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!"
One of the most celebrated American figures, Benjamin Franklin was a jack of all trades. He is the essence of what it means to be an American. A printer. A publisher. A scientist. An inventor. A postmaster. A legislator. A diplomat. A social activist. A Founding Father. Even with only a 5th grade education, he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and became a celebrated, intelligent, wealthy and important figure even in his own time. The man embodies the American ideals. He led both an ambitious life and a virtuous one. Benjamin Franklin was also one of the earliest abolitionists and a protector of Native American rights. His life alone is the most profound statement of what an American strives to be.