The most influential figures in regards to liberty and freedom and not specific to any region of the earth or certain time period. This specific type of individual comes from all nationalities, religious backgrounds, and moral beliefs.
Although these figures differ substantially, one thing they all have in common is the principle that all people should be free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they allow this to occur and do not inflict on the right of others to obtain the same. Their drive for liberty is often greater for the population around them, rather than their own individual self.
Through the analysis of ‘The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’, various textual evidence depicts the nature in which the use of Franklin’s life strategies and ways of living could improve one’s life and this, in turn, became an integral foundation of American identity. Evidently illustrating how the further thinking and questioning of what “self-improvement” fully entails, shaped how American success was to be perceived by all, and how to attain the American dream.
In the process of becoming a better person and committing to self-improvement, Benjamin Franklin developed a list of 13 virtues to follow. The presence of these very virtues encouraged Franklin to realize his goal of reaching and attaining the ideal of “moral perfection”.
The 13 virtues illustrated within his autobiography were “Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, chastity, humility” (Franklin 276-277). The virtues were symbolic of Franklin’s desires in life and further represented the type of individual he wished to be. Many of the virtues titles are misleading in terms of the interpretation they receive. When referring to virtues such as justice and or sincerity, rather than suggesting religious ideals or origins, or a set of morals, Franklin is rather illustrating keys to a successful life.
Depicting in turn 13 different tools and systems to think upon and or adopt in order to be the most successful person you can. Several accounts of textual evidence are found to prove this within the writing, whereby Franklin refers to efficiency within one’s actions. Within the text Franklin states “speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation,” or “waste nothing,” and “Lose no time, be always useful,”, noticeably presenting the concept of proficiency to the American individual (Franklin 276).
Furthermore, the 13 virtues stood as a guide for colonial America, physically identifying how the American dream is achieved through the purity of one’s actions. As an individual who defined the virtues, he wanted to live by them and be the person he set out be, obtaining success through his actions and the circumstances of which stem from them. Consequentially depicting the nature of which Ben Franklin’s ideas in relation to one’s “moral perfection’ and achieving self-success, acts as a pivotal building block to constructing the American dream.
As well as defining specific virtues to live by, the actions of Benjamin Franklin and the ways he impacted the community around him, forever changed Colonial America, enabling the opportunity for the American dream to be possible. Franklin was responsible for numerous accounts of growth and expansion in various locations on the east coast. He built hospitals, libraries, opened a university and even assisted the cleaning of streets.
It was actions such as these, led by Franklin, that all worked towards or enabled others to be successful and work towards achieving the American dream. These efforts documented in the autobiography, inevitably increased job opportunities, the ability to get an education and positively impact the living conditions of the respective population, able to take advantage of such movements. The ability of Franklin to impact others and increase their overall capability to succeed was one of his driving forces as this is something he personally wished for.
Presented within the text, Franklin states that “Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world” (Franklin 221), clearly depicting the ways in which he worked to change the social normalities he found himself within at the time. This led to an improved living situation with increased opportunity for achievement for not only himself but the population to follow.
It is this extract from the text that presents how one can come from nothing and make something of themselves due to the opportunity or liberty and freedom present for them to utilize. Therefore, through these actions that were executed by Franklin, the writing portrays how the success of an individual is an ambition that can be attained. As a result of this, he essentially established a diverse selection of pathways to achieve success not to mention, the American dream.
Benjamin Franklin can be perceived as one of the founding individuals who made the possibility of the American dream to be attainable. He was able to represent a clear depiction of the moving force within American history, that stood for liberty and freedom, through various political roles he acquired.
Franklin’s presence within foreign lands, such as Great Britain, stand as critical moments of which the basis The United States of America is built upon. Examples of this include his impactful presence within London that led to the repealing of the despised Stamp Act taxes, giving America an additional decade to prepare for armed conflict with Britain. This later furthered to the forming of alliances with France, which without the assistance of, the Revolutionary war may have obtained a different outcome.
Within the text, Franklin states that “Truth, Sincerity, and Integrity in dealings between man and man, were of the utmost Importance to the Felicity of Life”, explaining that the interactions between men ultimately leads to intense happiness (259). Evidently, this reveals that Franklin, through the process of persuasion and negotiation with foreign men, with immense power, led to enabling the United States to be there own identity. It is therefore highlighted throughout the actions and accomplishments of Franklin, that the American dream may not have been attainable without his presence.
Playing a pivotal role in the development of the Declaration of Independence, Franklin initiated the founding of the American dream and the ability of one to succeed in order to reach this. This, in turn, enabled all to have the ability to obtain liberty, freedom and the right to succeed in order to achieve one’s perception of the American dream, if they completed the work to do so.
One’s perception of the American dream can differ from one person to the next. There is not one set outline or set of guidelines that defines this. Each individual person obtains different goals and intentions of finding one’s dream. The ability to choose and ultimately have the freedom to strive to meet ones dream was given to them by the work and presence of Benjamin Franklin.
Consequently, depicting the manner in which focussing on being the best possible version of one’s self, leads to not only the ability to be successful but also determine and reach an individual American dream. It is this that illustrates how to the overall presence of Benjamin Franklin throughout history made the opportunity to obtain the American dream possible.