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The Making Of America

The Making Of America - Scott Smith ENG 209 Philp The...

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Scott Smith 5/7/09 ENG 209, Philp The Making Of America The essence of the “American Dream” is to start from poverty and become wealthy. Everyone agrees that it is possible, but how is it accomplished? Benjamin Franklin presents the process one needs to go through to become successful in an American 1 society. With selections from Franklin’s The Autobiography from The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume A , his methodology will be obvious. Ben Franklin, commonly portrayed as benevolent and honest, shows us that it is imperative to be ruthless, manipulative, and superficial so that one may succeed and advance in life. Franklin, after the Revolution and after finishing part one of his Autobiography, received a letter from Mr. Abel James, who suggested that he continue his work and publish it. James thought it necessary for the world to hear the story of “…kind, humane and benevolent Ben Franklin…” (584). James envisioned that Franklin’s plan to perfect himself could influence the new nation of America. He saw that Franklin had established a legendary presence, so the people were more apt to listen to him. Americans stood at the door of a new nationhood, but were too afraid to open it. They needed leadership and inspiration to give them the push that they needed. Franklin’s “instruction” was to serve this purpose. The “…Project of arriving at moral Perfection…” was published with the intention to inspire the American people to be the best citizens possible (591).
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