The Quest To Moral Perfection Essay

2072 words - 8 pages

Morality: it is a term that is questioned at every corner of every day. The moral idea ranges from something small such as helping an old women cross the street, to the extreme such as the recent actions taken by politicians to limit public union rights in Wisconsin. Dictating the difference between right and wrong has been an issue that dates to the times before Christ, where the idea of moral perfection was used to determine one’s right of passage into heaven. It was not until Benjamin Franklin, who published a guide within of his autobiography, describing thirteen steps to achieving moral perfection. Franklin used these morality milestones to thrive in living a successful life and eventually become one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Great leaders have different characters that are expected from them beyond the average person. One such instance is the ability to admit ones faults when and before they come into context. Franklin’s selected virtues allowed him to see his own faults; in result he seemed rather surprised about the extent of his flaws. This process had become quite the burden to him. As a result, his revolutions through the cycle slowed from several times a year to once a year, down to once every few years, and eventually stopped. The fact that one of the greatest people in American history could not achieve “moral perfection”, raises the question, is accomplishing such a high goal actually possible? Although on the contrary, attempting to be perfect pushed him to be a better person in and outside of the public eye. Benjamin Franklin’s journey starts out with the Temperance moral quality.
Alcohol Awareness, also known as temperance, has been an issue that dates back throughout American history with severe consequences. One such instance of this is with General and President Ulysses S. Grant; who at times would let his alcohol addiction get in the way of battles during the civil war causing great casualties. Also upon his resignation from the army, he resorted to any means to support his family and to provide more money for his drinking problem. Franklin felt the necessity to uphold his personal appearance when he was working over in London. While his co-workers would drink while on the job, Franklin just drank water and routinely carried heavy objects up and down stairs at work to stay in shape. He also felt the need to convince other workers of following in his footsteps. Temperance helped Franklin remain true to his journey and eventually was part of the cause of him coming back to the United States.
Along with the ability to restrict ones drinking, another attribute that is rather difficult to achieve is silence. The word of mouth usually defines a person; this is why rumor’s spread so quickly and inaccurately. As a publisher, Franklin may have found it hard to spend his time accomplishing this. How did he determine the difference between right and wrong gospel? His brother had actually...

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