Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Essay

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Essay

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a representation of the new prospect of upward mobility in colonial America during the 18th century and the development of the Age of Reason, which assisted in the conception of the idea of the “American Dream”; a dream that includes fundamentally social ideals such as democracy, equality, and material prosperity. Furthermore, Franklin’s autobiography exemplifies a significant shift in focus from religion to enlightenment and reason. Additionally, there were forces specific to Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia, that played an important role in his perspectives and the changes that occurred within colonial America during the 18th century.

The newly evolving opportunity for rising to a higher economic and social position is one of the most important changes we find in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. As Americans became significant purchasers within a connected Atlantic world of goods and services, the expansion of a consumer economy became the basis of a society that was further removed from plantation life and now allowed for the development of commercial opportunities for self-advancement.

One of the more important developments that arise during Benjamin’s youth is the creation, by his brother James, of The New England Courant in 1720, the second newspaper in America. (Franklin 23) While the newspaper was not as commercially successful as James projected, it did provide an opportunity for Benjamin to develop his skills as a printer and encouraged him to improve his ability to communicate in writing. The growth of Benjamin Franklin’s writing abilities is very important because it allows him to pursue new avenues for success as he later finds that his writing and his intelligence can b...


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... of religion. Also, the newly evolving opportunity for rising to a higher economic and social position, and the greater variety of trades and occupations that were generated during the 18th century, were extremely influential factors in creating opportunities for upward mobility. Ultimately, one of the most important themes in Franklin’s Autobiography is the beginning of the ideal of the “American Dream”; a dream that has goals of equality and material prosperity at its core, goals which have become important and influential to all citizens of the United States of America, and remain influential for generations to come.



Works Cited

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty: An American History.3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print.
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Max Farrand. Berkeley:University of California Press, 1949. Print.

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