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Unformatted text preview: Franklin's works written to instruct or improve the public of which the Autobiography is best-known all rest on assumptions about the possibilities open to the individual, which have come to be called "the American dream." The essence of the dream is that any man can earn prosperity, economic security, and community respect through hard work and honest dealings with others. That is, work is the avenue through which one reaches wealth, and conversely, any one who works hard and uses his opportunities shrewdly can assume that wealth will be his reward. This assumption was revolutionary at the time Franklin lived. Most European countries were still characterized by a clearly defined class structure; their political and social institutions militated against dramatic changes of economic status for more than the lucky few. Franklin, the arch- democrat, felt that in the American colonies anyone could fashion his own economic and social...
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- Fall '09