Benjamin Franklin American Myth Phil 1301 Essay

475 words - 2 pages

Benjamin Franklin – The American Dream
Benjamin Franklin, not just only as a hero and symbol, is an important figure in the pantheon of American mythos. His status, which has only continued to grow in relevance and stature, is not just an exemplification of his own accomplishments, but the self-perception of our society which has chosen him as a hero. This myth, this larger than life man, a scientist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, philosopher, author, representative of the American government, took the raw materials of his recollections, and from them, carefully molded them into the myth that was his life. His use of his self-written, thirteen virtues—Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and Humility—by which one could improve one’s life became an integral part of his image. In his Autobiography, he claims that his “intention being to acquire the Habitude of all these Virtues, I judg’d it would be well not to distract my Attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix on one of them at a time, and when I should be Master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen” (Cain et al, 368). In this brief passage, Franklin defined what it is to be American, the pursuit of the ideal, the pursuit of perfection. Whether through his description of these thirteen virtues, or his innumerable quotes from his Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin...

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