The Words Of Great Men Outline Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 March 2017

The Words Of Great Men Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Thesis statement: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin present the same story of personal development and individual strivings from the two different perspectives.
  3. The Words of Great Men.
  4. A journey to a big city.

In London, Benjamin Franklin is able to grasp the new opportunities for his business. In Baltimore, Frederick Douglass sees the life of city slaves, which is not different from that of provincial slaves. For both, city becomes a revelation and realization of difficulties each will have to face before achieving his goals,

  1. Books, morality, and ethical principles

Books have distanced Franklin from religion by turning him into Deist. Books have opened Douglas’s eyes on the wretched social position in which he found himself. For both, books become the source of invaluable social and spiritual knowledge, which accompanies them in their personal and social self-realization.

III. Conclusion

Introduction

            The period of slavery was historically difficult for the United States. That was the time when the majority of the American population found itself between the two opposing parties – those who supported slavery in its current state, and those who opposed to it. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the American Slave tells an astonishingly realistic story of a slave who was able to escape his slavery burden.

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin creates a completely different social picture of the then reality: Benjamin Franklin became a successful entrepreneur, having reached both social success and respect of the world.[1] The two books are drastically different at first glance, but display many common features when thoroughly read. Thesis statement: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin present the same story of personal development and individual strivings from the two different perspectives.   

            The Words of Great Men

“They are, in the first place a constant offence to their mistress. She is ever disposed to find fault with them; they can seldom do any thing to please her; she is never better pleased than when she sees them under the lash, especially when she suspects her husband of showing to his mulatto children favors which he withholds from his black slaves, The master is frequently compelled to sell this class of his slaves, out of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of humanity for him to do so” (Douglass 1996, 2)

This is the brief representation of Frederick Douglass’s perspective – the perspective he chose to describe his own life, and the perspective which accompanied him through his long way to freedom. Although Benjamin Franklin’s story developed in different historical and social conditions, the two personalities were close to each other in their personal strivings and everyday emotions.

            The journey of Frederick Douglass starts with the trip to Baltimore. The journey of Benjamin Franklin starts with his trip to London. For both, those journeys were long anticipated. Franklin wrote that his “inclinations for the sea were by this time worn out, or I might now have gratified them. But having a trade, and supposing myself a pretty good workman, I offered my service to the printer in the place”.[2]

For Franklin, the trip was the starting point of his long way to entrepreneurial success. Douglass also had a strong desire to see Baltimore, and he did not have an idea that the trip would become the turning point on his way to freedom. Similar to Franklin, Douglass was not bound to his home, which did not have any charm and was not associated with any pleasant emotions. “So strong was my desire that I thought a gratification of it would fully compensate for whatever loss of comforts I should sustain by the exchange”.[3]

The trips produced different impressions, and created the picture of the city life from the two different angles: freedom angle and slavery angle. This is why Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass saw completely different things while the cities at that time were mostly similar to each other. For Franklin, London opened additional opportunities for starting his business.

For Douglass, Baltimore changed his previous erroneous ideas about city slaves. In both narratives, the city became a revelation, a fear of unknown, and the unlimited space of opportunities (for Franklin) and knowledge (for Douglass). Franklin wrote how he and his friends were living for three shillings and a sixpence a week, and were almost starving.[4] Three shillings were an unachievable sum for Douglass; he used to work for several pence which were a wealth to him.[5] When read together, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin create a complete picture of the then city, at the intersection of poverty and unlimited opportunities for those who were free and had the chance to grasp them.

While Franklin immediately took a job, Douglass was left to watching the miseries and pains of slaves owned by the neighboring master. From the viewpoint of social conditions in which Franklin existed, he may have not noticed numerous violent conflicts between the slaves and their masters, but for Douglass, slavery was his life – the life he hated and the life he sincerely wanted to change. Franklin’s expectations of the big city advantages were changed with the abovementioned financial difficulties; Douglass’s expectations of the big city advantages were changed as soon as he got acquainted with Mary, “whose neck was literally cut to pieces”.[6]

The city showed its teeth to both newcomers, but Franklin was able to hide his initial disappointment and hope for easy achievements behind the benefits of his social class, while Douglass could not conceal the pain of watching the slaves, whom he thought to be fat, saturated, well-dressed and almost free.[7] By entering London, Franklin had to recognize the difficulties he would face before becoming a good entrepreneur. In Baltimore, Douglass came to understanding that a slave remained a slave regardless the place of residence; a way to freedom would not be easier than it could be beyond Baltimore.

One cannot consider personal development and individual strivings of Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Franklin without evaluating their moral criteria, spiritual beliefs, and the sources of their moral and social knowledge. For both, books have become the major sources of their beliefs in future, visions of life, and social attitudes. Benjamin Franklin separated himself from Biblical teachings and Revelation, coming closer to philosophy of Deism.

“Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.” (Franklin & Dole 2003, 80)

As London opened Franklin’s eyes onto his employment realities, the books he read opened his eyes on morality, religion, and ultimately determined his attitudes towards all moral and ethical categories. Books changed the social vision of Franklin; he no longer considered himself a religious person. Books also changed the social vision of Douglass: with the discovery of The Columbian Orator he came to understanding his wretched position: “The more I read the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers.

I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery”.[8] Franklin was no longer bound to the religious traditions of his society; Douglass was no longer bound to his erroneous ideas about slavery. The knowledge about the principles of integrity, sincerity and truth Franklin obtained from books.[9] That knowledge and those principles later determined the entrepreneurial and political success of Benjamin Franklin. The knowledge which Douglass obtained from his book significantly increased his desire to eliminate the notion of slavery and to find the way to freedom.

            Conclusion

            Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Franklin are the two prominent personalities, representing the two different social classes. Their autobiographical narratives offer an insight into the way people were developing under various social pressures. Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is the bright example of entrepreneurial success brought to life by individual persistence and strict adherence to moral and ethical principles of truth and sincerity. Frederick Douglass is the prominent personality, who has become the source and the support of his own strivings to freedom from slavery.

For both authors, life in big cities was a revelation. Although different, Baltimore and London produced similar effects through better realization of one’s opportunities and challenges in life. For both authors, books became the source of the basic knowledge, which later accompanied them as they approached their dreams. In their works, Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass described their long physical and psychological journeys in the jungles of the social inequality and freedom. Historically, the two stories altogether create an objective vision of the then society.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Douglass, F. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Courier Dover

Publications, 1996.

Franklin, B. & Dole, N.H. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Kessinger Publishing, 2003.

[1] B. Franklin. & N.H. Dole, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p. 1

[2] B. Franklin & N.H. Dole, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p. 28

[3] F. Douglass, Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,  (Courier Dover

Publications, 1996), p. 17

[4] B. Franklin & N.H. Dole, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p. 58

[5] F. Douglass, Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, (Courier Dover

Publications, 1996), p. 65

[6] F. Douglass, Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, (Courier Dover

Publications, 1996), p. 21

[7] F. Douglass, Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, (Courier Dover

Publications, 1996), p. 20

[8] F. Douglass, Narrative of Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, (Courier Dover

Publications, 1996), p. 24

[9] B. Franklin & N.H. Dole, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p. 81

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