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Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and the Education of America

Steven Forde
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 86, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 357-368
DOI: 10.2307/1964225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225
Page Count: 12
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Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and the Education of America
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Abstract

Franklin's Autobiography was written in part to provide a model for the emerging democratic individual and democratic culture of America. Franklin's teaching in the work has been subject to severe criticisms from the beginning, though it has had many defenders, too. Neither friend nor foe, however, has taken a sustained look at the Autobiography itself to explore its teaching in detail. I look at Franklin's presentation of the relationship of wealth and virtue, his utilitarianism, and his vision of democratic society and find a subtle and robust ideal deftly calculated to educate and elevate American culture.

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