Background of Benjamin Franklin

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“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” was thought by himself to be “the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”. It refers to when he was in his twenties, around 1726, he found himself jobless; penniless; in debt and suddenly a single father. He was very intelligent and he knew there was definitely something wrong in his life and he was eager to make a change. So he wrote this autobiography not only to tell his son about his life but also to improve his financial situation and to provide a model for self-improvement for anyone interested. In order to achieve his goal, Franklin developed and committed himself to a personal improvement program that consisted of thirteen virtues. Actually, Franklin found twelve virtues out of thirteen in the reading (124). And another one was from the suggestion of his friend (133). Franklin made a list of thirteen virtues as follow: silence; order; resolution; frugality; industry; sincerity ; justice; moderation; cleanliness; tranquility; chastity and humility (125-126).The first eight virtues relate to people’s attitudes towards their daily activities and their challenges, which belongs to personal virtues . The last five virtues that Franklin stated concern one’s attitudes toward people with whom one has to be dealings, which fall into social virtues. Franklin set forth the thirteen virtues in a very practical and rational way. Simultaneously, he gave reasons for the order of these virtues (126). He put temperance at the top of the list, while humility came last. If a person can conquer temperance, such a primal urge for food or drink, he can keep a cool and clean mind to do something more important, thus making self-development in other virtues. Overall, his rational arrangement for the virtues makes each prior virtue help Franklin acquire each following virtue. In order to acquire these thirteen virtues, Franklin charted...
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