The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin | MyPaperHub

Explore the relationship of wealth to virtue in Franklin's Autobiography.

 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is very significant historical as well as literary work. Among the most important themes in the Autobiography as well as one that Franklin takes apparent pleasure in placing emphasis on is his surprising ascent from poverty along with obscurity to means and an icon. The major stated aim of the work found in the Autobiography is to emphasize the contrast that existed between Franklin’s humble start and his later accomplishment, and to illustrate the means through which it was attained. Franklin invites his audience to think about the contrast that exist between his initial unkempt appearance while in Philadelphia with the wealth and reputation that he attained there. His first rise to the political office portrays similar reflections. It is to some extent the eminence of this theme that makes Franklin’s Autobiography as a highlight on worldly success so distinctive.  Permissiveness in the direction of the impulse to material development is definitely one of the primary, as well as apparent lessons that is found in the Autobiography. However, it is as well among the most misconstrued.

The passage that is found on the “Art of Virtue” (1062, 148-60), which is perhaps the most well-known in Franklin’s Autobiography, is distinctive. Franklin puts forward a list of thirteen virtues, together with a technique (the Art of Virtue) intended to permit any individual to become skilled in them. In order to follow this approach, Franklin depicts the virtues as influential, as helpful. He makes sure that his audience  that his individual success as well as happiness in life are because of their cultivation. In addition, he provides an essentially utilitarian theory of virtue: “Vicious Actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the Nature of Man alone considered.”

The idea that virtue is an individual’s interest in a narrow and economic sense corresponds to only the first level of the moral teaching in the Autobiography. According to, the Autobiography aims at addressing a wider audience as well as deliver a message that is morally less elementary. This is apparently in how the Autobiography develops its most acquisitive themes. Frugality and industry are the most important virtues in the Autobiography, and they are somewhat narrowly linked to money-making; and therefore, Franklin commends them highly as such. However, he is as well cautious to subordinate them to higher goods in addition to other virtues that economic welfare paves the way to. Franklin describes frugality as incurring no expense “but to do good to others or yourself” (1964, 149). He goes ahead to justify his enclosure of it as well as industry in the list of virtues by asserting that the wealth that these two accumulates makes possible for a greater sincerity in addition to justice. As the Autobiography has it, virtue is “the way of procuring wealth” but the purpose of wealth is to “secure virtues” in return (p.159). Franklin attributes to both frugality and industry the “acquirement of his fortune, by means of all that knowledge that made it possible for him to become a valuable citizen and obtained some degree of reputation for him amongst the learned” (p.157).

Franklin makes these virtues, particularly frugality and industry, influential during the accumulation of wealth.

After cooperation that took place at the London Economic Conference crumpled as well as the disarmament agreement did not succeed in terms of materializing during the Geneva Conference, Roosevelt drew back from active cooperation with the Europeans. Roosevelt refused to consent with the call to peg the value that the U.S. dollar had in relation to other currencies due to the fact that he felt it might impair his efforts to increase the farm prices in the U.S.

The US had entered into a period of isolation where popular opinion would be a crucial aspect in dictating the foreign policies. This is a practice that was able to survive a better part of the decade as Franklin D. Roosevelt could not just avoid paying attention to the masses, as well as isolationist policy. Roosevelt had been unimpeded on most of the foreign policy efforts. The US would have been efforts to offer help earlier during World War II and therefore keep away from the massive military upsurge as well as delivery of any aid. However, he took that chance to extend the acknowledgment of the Soviet Union in addition to making significant enhancements in the U.S. relationship with the Latin America by means of the Good Neighbor Policy.

Franklin supported a new approach in relation to the foreign affairs through the Good Neighbor Policy. Nevertheless, it was not actually a new approach as the former President, Hoover, had initiated a policy of cooperation with the Latin America Nations. The Latin America nations were delighted by Roosevelt’s desertion of interventionism. The idea of cooperation was agreed upon when Secretary Cordell Hull went for a Pam Americanism Conference that took place in 1933 in Uruguay.

The non-intervention policy was executed through the following the following methods. Firstly, the U.S. withdrew its marines from Haiti. Secondly, a new agreement was signed with Cuba where there was the nullification of the Platt Amendment. Thirdly, the United States gave up the right to police the Panama government in the year 1939. In addition, the United States also gave up the control of finances that belonged to the Dominican Republic. Lastly, it captured both the oil and farmlands that American citizens had, leading to the repudiation of the dollar.

The Good Neighbor Policy was a constant policy adopted by Roosevelt, and not merely a campaign slogan. Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated that the U.S. was prepared to stop its domination in weaker countries through its observance of the Declaration of Principles of Inter-American Solidarity, in addition to the promise that the Latin America nations would be treated as being equal.

Following the illustration of Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced economic nationalism by means of economic cooperation. The U.S., under the leadership of Roosevelt, made reciprocity treaties with other 15 diverse Latin American nations. In addition, the capital of the U.S. government steadily reinstated private investments by means of the Export-Import Bank as well as the US Treasury Department. Franklin D. Roosevelt improved, approximately by double, the yearly payments that were made to Panama for the canal rights.

In 1939, subsequent to the eruption of war in Europe, the initial Declaration of Lima was made firm at a conference that took place in Panama with the aim of securing the sovereignty, political liberty of the American nations as well as arrange the mechanism of making the declaration efficient, with the Latin American nations as co-equal partners. As a result, the Monroe Doctrine was made more compelling through changing it from a one-sided U.S. doctrine to a many-sided Pan-American doctrine.

The initial Neutrality Acts took care of the war between nations, and it did not manage civil wars. The Neutrality Act that took place in 1937 harmed the Loyalist government that was in Spain. The Neutrality Act that was adopted in 1937 made the United States to be a silent collaborator with Hitler as Germany was not impeded in sending supplies to the rebel forces that were led by General Franco, whereas the US was impeded in remitting supplies to the Loyalist Administration. The Germans took the proof of American Isolation as reinforcement to the Anglo-French appeasement policies. The Act as well was not helpful to the Chinese who were battling the Japanese invasion.

The persecution of the German-Jews in Germany between the years 1934 to 1936 made many Jewish-American groups stage demonstrations. There was no eagerness in the eagerness of bringing German-Jews to the US due to the economics of the Great Depression. The high rate of unemployment made Roosevelt’s administration to uphold Hoover’s administrative order of not admitting people who were highly probable to become public charges to the United States government. The administration of Roosevelt even refused to grant whatever amount of funds to the League of Nations.

The intentional Japanese attack on Panay, an American gun boat in China, left many US citizens unmoved. Most of the US citizens deliberated that American out to entirely get out of China. Franklin D. Roosevelt supplied China with a number of supplies since Japan had not made a declaration of war on China although it was fighting a war. The lack of declaration of war on the part of the Japanese offered an escape in the Neutrality Act that made it possible for Roosevelt to send aid to the United States. The technicality that the Neutrality Act enabled the Japanese to execute 90 percent of her needs for copper as well as metal scraps through purchasing it from the U.S.

Although the United States acted as a neutral party, Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill an English warship, where the efforts by Churchill to convince them to proclaim a warning to the Japanese in relation to their continuous hostility in Asia. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt drew up the Atlantic Charter, which had the following principles: a pledge in opposition to aggression, a promise of independence in the territorial changes, valuing the tight of sovereignty as well as the freedom of speech, and a construction of an efficient international body, which Roosevelt rejected.

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