Ben Franklins Autobiography

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FRIEND OF SELF, FRIEND OF SOCIETY: THE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN OF THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY Franklin's memoirs, his Autobiography, project a Benjamin Franklin who is a highly self-conscious individual able to reason himself into a life of self-control, self-improvement, virtue, and multifaceted success. To what successful ends does this Franklin apply himself? Some may argue that Franklin takes no action but that which ultimately benefits himself. This paper argues, however, that the Franklin we see in the AutobiographyŚ…

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…His readers best learn from Franklin's own self-awareness and efforts at self-improvement, and Franklin is pleased when they do start to take initiative in matters larger than themselves. Franklin conveys a concern for others that at times even eclipses his concern for himself. As moral descendants of Benjamin Franklin we find profound moral worth in his extraordinary combination of self-serving and other-serving. Benjamin Franklin is simultaneously a friend of self and a friend of society.