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I have raised myself to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world."

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Introduction

"Having emerg'd from the Poverty and Obscurity in which I was born and bred, I have raised myself to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world." -Benjamin Franklin It has always been a common belief in this country that there is nothing that cannot be obtained through hard work and diligence. This is a belief that America was founded on and leaned against during its hardest times-this is the American Dream. On the surface level, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography reflects upon the life of an extraordinary man who was able to come from the meager beginning of youngest son to a position of financial well being and social status. Nevertheless, Franklin's autobiography contains a plethora of contradictions and flaws and one comes to doubt just how much appraisal he actually deserves. Franklin has noble aspirations; but, because they are directed by his relentless effort to achieve prosperity and great industry, his autobiography ultimately portrays him as a model of tyranny and arrogance. Franklin has noble aspirations; but, because they are directed by his industrious nature and relentless effort to achieve prosperity, his autobiography portrays him as a man who contradicts the very ideals he advocates. Throughout Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, we observe actions and decisions that credit him as America's prime example of a self made man. ...read more.

Middle

and as a safety backup that is morally questionable. In addition to disloyalty, Franklin is also capable of revenge. As Franklin and Keimer's relationship deteriorates over time, they eventually have a complete fall out when Keimer steals one of Franklin's paper publishing ideas. "I resented this, and to counteract them, as I could not yet begin our Paper, I wrote several Pieces of Entertainment for Bradford's Paper" (578). To gain control again, Franklin writes for the rival paper, publicly ridicules Keimer, and effectively manages to shut down Keimer's paper before it has a chance to begin. "The Person that bought them employ'd Keimer to use them, but in a few years died. There remain'd now no Competitor with me at Philadelphia..." (581). Franklin is acclaimed for his shrewd politics in dealing with Keiser and other opponents of his business career. In comparison to the early accounts of his childhood, we can see that Franklin has definitely risen up from his humble origins. However, the passion for perfection and prosperity that created Franklin's "self made man" image has also directed him to step on his associates, manipulate, and beguile them with no hesitation or shame. Inside Franklin's private life, it becomes even more obvious that he consistently puts pragmatics and ambition over morals. Part two opens with two letters to Franklin encouraging him to continue and publish his brook. ...read more.

Conclusion

Franklin outlines yet another time when he rose up to become better than the people who was superior to him earlier on in life-this time, his own brother. If Franklin was really as humble and modest as he declares, he would not have visited his brother "better dress'd than ever while in his Service, having a genteel new Suit from head to food, a Watch, and in my Porckets lin'd with near Five Pounds Sterling in Silver" ( page ). Franklin is undoubtedly extremely intelligent and possesses all the qualities of a successful businessman. Nevertheless, his success in the printing industry does not prove moral success. In fact, if humility and respect were the factors that bring affluence, Franklin would be penniless. And yet, there are still numerous times in the Autobiography when Franklin sounds like he is trying to prove to the reader of his virtues. A Doctor Baird notes, and Franklin readily reports, that Franklin is "superior to anything I ever saw of the kind: I see him still at work when I go home from Club; and he is at Work again before his Neighbors are out of bed" (page #). Franklin is industrious and frugal, but this blatant boast shows that Franklin takes great measure to flaunt his hard work and ensure his reputation. In trying so hard to appear virtuous, Franklin's integrity is thrown into doubt-is he really so humble and diligent, or is it just an elaborate fa´┐Żade to appear moral? ...read more.

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