The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Essay

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In the following excerpt, Baker argues that the self-promotion of which many critics accuse Franklin is more of a paradigm for American prosperity.

After reading the first installment of Benjamin Franklin's memoirs, Benjamin Vaughan concluded that his friend's life story would offer a fitting paradigm of American upward social mobility. "All that has happened to you," he wrote to Franklin in 1783, is "connected with the detail of the manners and situation of a rising people." Vaughan's insistence that Franklin's was a prototypical story of success and self-making suggested that the memoir was representative of the American experience. While the limitations of this prototype are clear to the modern reader—Vaughan spoke specifically of a "rising people" of Euro-American males with access to economic opportunities not available to others—critics have recognized nonetheless a presumption of representativeness in this text. In the words of Mitchell Breitwieser, Franklin "aspires...

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This section contains 2,095 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Study Guide
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