Years nation; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Years
of history, enumerable cultures, and influential works of literature have all
shaped the America we know today. These early works of literature gave insight
to an undefined America. One major contributor to the fundamental design of
America was Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin, in his Autobiography, showed how he lived and embodied the principals that
defined our nation; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a citizenry
indivisible, by eschewing the family business and customs of the time to live
an individual life, which is exactly what makes a nation.

Benjamin
Franklin lived in an era that was rooted in the perceptions and customs of
settling for an ordinary life.  Franklin;
however, did not prescribe to such confinements.  Through a desire to break from the traditions
and drudgery of following convention, he embarked on a new path, set out by his
own compass.  He lived the majority of
his life as a vegetarian, “refusing to eat flesh” (244).  He used the money he saved from not eating
copiously to invest in books. He refrained from the tradition of carrying on in
the family business. Instead, Franklin join his brother, starting what, at the
time, was only the second newspaper in the United States.  They were met with harsh criticism for the
bold nature of the paper, which lead to the imprisonment of Franklin’s brother.
Franklin didn’t support his brother’s restraint but rather, “made bold give our
Rulers some Rubs in it” (233). Franklin went as far as to permanently publish
the paper under his name rebuking the naysayers.

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Franklin
continued studying and educating himself on all manner of topics throughout his
entire life. Once finished with standard education and schooling training, his
focus was on a successful career within societal norms.  Franklin felt a strong desire to be
efficacious and looked down upon those, that he felt squandered their time. It
became a pattern in Franklin’s friendships to extricate him from those less
ambitious. For instance, his friend James Ralph couldn’t find employment, “and
in the loss of his friendship I found myself relived from a Burden” (250). Franklin
continued to eschew himself for the pursuit of his own bliss and
accomplishment. In his eyes, a life was only defined when something became of
it.

Franklin’s
definition on the American life established how he lived his. He broke from
societal norms, valuing hard work, education, and ingenuity, over tradition;
and independent thought over congregation. It was this set of values that would
eventually inform Franklin’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, and
cement his standards as the American ideal.