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Opposed to the common notion that most of the popular histories of the American Revolution examine political events as the explanations for revolt, it is feasible, based on the reading of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, comment that not only were those political events,…
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Benjamin Franklin Opposed to the common notion that most of the popular histories of the American Revolution examine political events as the explanations for revolt, it is feasible, based on the reading of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, comment that not only were those political events, such as the Stamp Act, important, but cultural processes were as well. In an examination of the factors that justify the cultural processes as the explanations for revolt, it is notable that the American provincialism which has been of significant instrument of the national and cultural pride of the Americans provided also an explanatory tool to the proposed idea. Benjamin Franklin reflected that culture through his life and this reflection of cultural and national pride of the Americans is evident in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. It is clear that the cultural pride of the nation and its citizens has been so natural in the system that it is found the hardest element in life to live away from. Franklin explains this notion in the work when at the end of discussion on a long list of the desirable qualities of life that can be achieved through practice. Thus, when the Americans are hurt on their cultural pride, the natural outcome of every such attempt has been revolt which has been expressed through the historical events such as those touching the national consciousness and provincial thinking. “In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.” (Franklin). This has been the rule of life and that of culture that the integrity of every person, nation and culture is respected or the result will, naturally, be revolt.
To find the origin of American provincialism, one may reach up to the days when the American people lived isolated from the disturbances of European life and this has been the center of their cultural pride and heritage. “Americans have long been proud of their pioneer roots, and have celebrated common sense over the pomp of aristocracy. This is just one of the more visible results of our founding provincialism. In fact, from the beginning, observers noted the salubrious consequences of Americas distance from Europe… The ethic of rugged individualism is not the only manifestation of American provincialism. Another is the contrast between the American Revolution and the European revolutions which followed it.” (Sandefur, 2003). Thus, it is pertinent to consider the long past of the American people and their culture to arrive a proper conclusion regarding the concept of American Provincialism as the British would term it. The American Revolution and the idea of revolt need to be comprehended on this background. Benjamin Franklin was one of the main proponents of the concept of American provincialism as he reflected the cultural and national pride of the Americans through his writing upon the return from England. The attempts to understand the real nature of the nation, therefore brings out the fact that it is a nation which respects its culture and tradition and dwells in the philosophy of cultural pride. Therefore, revolt to the Americans mean the seeking of the preservation of culture and the heritage that needs to be handed over to the generations and when there arose some attempts to destroy this culture, the natural outcome has been the path of revolt.
Reference
Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Retrieved April 18, 2008 from http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=Fra2Aut.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=2&division=div1
Sandefur, Timothy. (2003). The Virtue of Provincialism, Liberty. Vol.17. No.9-10. Retrieved April 18, 2008 from http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2003_10/sandefur-provincialism.html Read More
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