Franklin V. Douglass Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Subject: American History Type: Term Paper Paper: #89551742 Related Topics: Frederick Douglass, Autobiography, Personal Narrative, Slave Narrative
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … American life stories:

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Although Benjamin Franklin and Fredrick Douglass began their lives on the opposite sides of the black-white divide in America, their personal narratives contain many parallel features. Both suffered a kind of slavery -- indentured servitude to his brother in the case of Franklin and actual slavery in the south in the case of Douglass -- and both later rose to prominent heights as authors and self-made men.

Both men held work in high esteem. Franklin saw his thrift and industry as the reason for his success. Douglass criticized slavery because it eroded the ability to work hard and to make a profit off of one's own labor. Both men are shown chafing at the restrictions placed upon them while they were young. Douglass longed to learn how to read and while literacy was not denied to Franklin, the young Franklin had to conceal his authorship of the editorials he published in his brother's newspaper. Similarly, Douglass had to conceal his urge to learn how to read as a slave. As a young boy, he was fortunate enough to be taught the alphabet and he kept this knowledge within him even in the face of very trying conditions as he was determined to escape the confines of slavery. Both men, in different ways, illustrate a common yearning for

...

Even within America they functioned as 'immigrants.' Franklin fled from his brother to Philadelphia. Franklin began his own print shop and his industry and sobriety was in stark contrast with his first associate, who likes to drink. Douglass, of course, must leave the enslaved south and head north. In this sense both men function as 'self-made' or enterprising men, deliberately wresting themselves out of their challenging personal circumstances to pursue a new life.

However, because Douglass was located in an openly hostile country, his personal trajectory was slightly different than that of Franklin's. Franklin took a relatively positive view of America: he was able to escape his brother relatively easily and is not pursued. He was able to begin his printing shop and later start a newspaper and almanac successfully, because of his own efforts. This affirmed in his eyes the value of frugality, pluck, and optimism. Douglass, in contrast, constantly had to fight those who enslaved him to retain his dignity. In the various situations in which he occupied over the course of his life as a slave he was repeatedly…

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