Franklin Essay

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Essay # 1 Length: Approximately 1500 words Due Date First Draft: February 1 Due Date Final Essay: February 13 In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America” (The American Political Science Review, Vol. 86, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 357-368) Steven Forde argues that Franklin’s Autobiography provides an” egalitarian, democratic model for an emerging American national character. “ Franklin’s text, however, raises many questions about and invites different of interpretations of just what his model entails. For this assignment, write an essay that makes and defends a definite claim about Franklin’s book. Be sure to narrow your focus -- don’t try to swallow either work whole. Instead, focus on a particular passage or issue. Trying to cover too much will weaken your essay as a whole. You may consider these issues: 1. Franklin advocates a life of self-improvement. How, by what methods, does he imply we can improve ourselves? Particularly, what personal qualities does his approach to self-improvement demand of us. Are there limits to how much we can improve, or the kinds of things we can can improve about ourselves? 2. Franklin was the most famous of Americans when his book was published, a manner of intimidating achievement. Consider ways that Franklin, in crafting his Autobiography, tries to make himself more accessible to the common reader, so that we may be more likely to follow his advice. 3. Think about Franklin’s moral sensibility. Do you find him too willing to forgive faults? Does he draw too strong a connection between wealth and virtue? Is he wise in linking moral virtue to wealth, and in separating it from religious dogma? 4. Think about the relation between Franklin’s public and personal lives? Does what he advises we do to achieve public success also apply to how we might achieve happiness and satisfaction in our

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