Comparison Of Benjamin Franklin And Ralph Waldo Emerson

1163 Words5 Pages
Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson want people to realize and develop potential within them. Even though both Franklin and Emerson advocate the notion of self-realization, they come up with different ideas about success, and have various attitudes toward people who are not successful in their perspectives.
Instead of believing “their foot shall slide in due time” (Edwards, 209), Franklin and Emerson view individuals as empires full of potential rather than lives managed by God. Franklin seldom goes to public worship, because “their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.” (Franklin, 580) Yet, he still gives money to some churches because he thinks the churches will use the money to do good, not because
…show more content…
“What I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” (Emerson, 552) demonstrates that Emerson wants individuals to discover their true self that have unique way of thinking and should have a strong sense of self; The strong sense of self is also presented by “A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him: I wish that he should wish to please me.” (Emerson, 555) while stating that nobody’s ideas should be less valued. Through “The one thing in the world of value, is, the active soul, --the soul, free, sovereign, active.” (Emerson, 539) he shows his preference of resisting influences thinkers in past brings because he believes individuals nowadays can come up with better ideas and reading old ones will hold creativity back. In case that Emerson sticks with the stand that everybody can look into themselves carefully and bring up brand new and great thoughts to contribute to the world, he has no compassion toward poor people. If each individual has ability to be self-reliant, and then the only reason why poor people are poor is that they do not even try to manage their destiny. Therefore, unlike Franklin, Emerson questions “Are they my poor?” (Emerson, 552) to blame poor people.
Destiny is not arranged by God anymore in Franklin and Emerson’s view, so that develop individual self’s desire of exploring their potentials becomes necessary to succeed. Withholding various definitions of success, Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson coincidentally stick with the same principle: everyone can succeed if he or she works hard enough. They have controversies over what is success, but the spirit of upward mobility exits in both of the authors and the time

More about Comparison Of Benjamin Franklin And Ralph Waldo Emerson

Open Document