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Discussion Question Benjamin Franklin - Essay Example

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Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is sometimes said to have co-founded the concept of self-made man. By the way he lived his life, he defines the concept in its most expressive terms.
Franklin had little formal schooling and was self-educated for the most part…
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work] Benjamin Franklin: the Self-Made Man and his Views of Ideal Nation Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is sometimes said to have co-founded the concept of self-made man. By the way he lived his life, he defines the concept in its most expressive terms.
Franklin had little formal schooling and was self-educated for the most part. A good deal of Franklin's formative years moulded him into an industrious and frugal person. He was a hard worker, striving much to be helpful to others. In that regard, he created many organizations for the welfare of the common man along themes of equality, opportunity, and patriotism. Franklin made education accessible to the common man as he believed it should not be a privilege only for the elite. He founded the first non-sectarian college in America, which later became the University of Pennsylvania. He was also credited for establishing the first library, hospital, and police force in Pennsylvania. A true believer in serving one's country and mankind, he was said not to patent his inventions.
Franklin was also a printer. By the age of 22, Franklin owned and operated his own printing office and used his printing skills to print paper money. Franklin helped to establish the paper currency system in America that today, his contribution to the economy is honoured with his face on the $100 bill. In research, Franklin was the first person to conduct an extensive study on electricity. It is said that in June 1752, he used a kite to prove that lightning was a stream of electrified air called plasma. This study later led him to develop the lightning rod to protect people, especially on ships.
Franklin personified the striving, ambitious, rising system of individual achievement, hard work, thrift and optimism found at the heart of the American spirit. In fact, Franklin is often introduced to elementary school children as a Renaissance man, someone who seemed to master all fields of knowledge. Franklin's definition then of the self-made man is his own exemplifying the concept in trying to be all kinds as far as he is able, creating a new identity for himself. In other words, actualizing himself. This correlates with his view of an ideal nation.
Franklin's definition of the concept of self-made man permeates much of his views on the ideal nation. He believed in the common man and in fair treatment for all. He was said to help form the first fire station, post office, police force in his area with the premise of helping mankind. Inspiring the community spirit -- the idea that Americans all have to work together to improve themselves -- his character is affiliated with savings, with insurance, and with investments.
Franklin's life exemplified the civic spirit, and his blend of beliefs would become part of the outlook of much of America's middle class. This included its belief in the virtues of hard work and frugality, its benevolent belief in voluntary associations to help others, its conservative opposition to handouts that led to laziness and dependency, and its slightly ambivalent resentment of unnecessary luxury, hereditary privileges, and an idle landowning leisure class.
An ideal nation then to Franklin would have no sectors at the top that are landed and privileged but unprofitable to society. Everyone must contribute his worth. At the same time, an ideal nation should have no sector at the bottom of the economic spectrum that is pampered to dependence. This is on the belief that each citizen must learn to be useful to society. Read More
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