Ben Franklin's Virtues Essay

Submitted By dbishop503
Words: 640
Pages: 3

Ben Franklin’s Virtues

To many, Ben Franklin is considered a genius. Franklin was an inventor, author, printer, and helped found the United States of America. As a young adult, Franklin sought to reach “moral perfection” in which he listed thirteen virtues and attempted to perfect each one, one at a time. Although Franklin’s project failed, he continued to write about the virtues that everyone should be familiar with and were important for being respected. Franklin’s writings infer that determination, hard work, and efficiency were important to Americans of the 1700’s.
Determination is not an easy virtue to attain and it takes a certain amount of mental toughness and focus to carry out something that is not always appealing. When Franklin begins to talk his attempt at moral perfection he says, “But I soon found that I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined” (141). Normally when a person realizes they have started something that is more difficult than it originally appeared they give up, but when a person with determination reaches this realization, they continue moving forward until they have finished their goal. In another part of his autobiography Franklin states, “…like him who having a garden to weed, does not… eradicate all the bad herbs at once,… but works on one bed at a time” (143). When Franklin wrote this, he was writing almost the exact same thing as the common moral, “Slow and steady wins the race.” In saying this, Franklin implies that determination, not strength or speed, will finish the job. As shown, determination takes a great volume of mental toughness and focus to have.
Another virtue that Franklin wrote about was hard work. Hard work is strongly correlated with determination and was an important characteristic to Americans in the 1700’s. In Poor Richard’s Almanack, Franklin wrote, “Haste makes waste” (150). This aphorism is stating that good work is never easy and should never be rushed. When projects are rushed the quality of the job decreases which reflects poorly upon the worker. This shows that hard work is important in making good work. Another of Franklin’s aphorisms was, “No gains without pains” (149). Sometimes work can become boring or inconvenient; this is when determination fits in with hard work to reach a goal. Good work will never be easy, but hard work will always result in a good outcome.
Efficiency is a useful virtue to have as it leads to more time to complete other tasks and helps to prioritize. Franklin’s