News of American resistance probably struck Franklin like a lightning bolt. It energized him, sending him into action. The British had always known he was an advocate for American interests, but they also respected him as a man of letters and science. He was a man of the Enlightenment, an international figure. They may not have also realized how much of a patriot he was. This must have changed when Franklin made himself into a one-man propaganda army to fight the Act. His opinions filled the British press; to most Britons he became the symbol of American patriotism. In France, too, Franklin came to symbolize America–homespun, intelligent, and wise. He was our first and best diplomat.

It is difficult to pin down the precise moment when Franklin came to believe that America should be independent of Britain. He predicted American independence long before the war began, but at the time of the Stamp Act he didn't support the idea. He, like many Americans, held out hope that the differences could be resolved. He also knew that if any single person in America or Britain would be able to resolve the differences, it would probably be him.

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