ben franklin and frederick douglass compare and contrast

Ben Franklin and Frederick Douglass are the most prominent figures in American history that fought for freedom and equal rights, democracy and racial equality. Frederick Douglass was one of the most important figures in anti-slavery and civil rights movement which took place in the 19th century. Ben Franklin was a scientist, politician, diplomat and author. His social and political activity coincided with consolidation and creation of the nation. For both Franklin and Douglass, escape from oppressive circumstances became a turning point in their careers giving rise to political and social activity.

The themes of survival and escape are closely connected with family background and early life of both men. Benjamin Franklin was of a family that for generations had lived by the sweat of its brow. Like his ancestors for generations back , he was bred to a trade through a long apprenticeship . That he became a journalist was not altogether accident His Uncle Benjamin and his maternal grandfather had been versifiers, and his elder brother had become printer of the fourth news set up in New England.

Franklin and Douglass are two writers who have quite symmetrical styles and imitative chronology of events in their life narratives. They both approached their story with a “rags-to-riches” idea. In addition, we must realize that both Franklin and Douglass are powerful writers. In that sense, I mean that Franklin was a “well-educated” man in which he filled his life with bountiful knowledge through reading and productive dialogues with peers. On the other hand, Douglass mode of writing, like ones of William Lloyd Garrison’s is sentimental and contains compelling language.

In The Autobiography by Franklin and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Douglass, both narrations are generally composed of series of life events and encounters with hardship that eventually brought them success. I shall put forth some parallel ideas of both the authors have in common. In Franklin’s Autobiography, his chapters of life events and improvements are symbolized by his travels, especially on the boat. His first travel signifies his “new beginning” and it caused great hardship.

He was “cut so a miserable figure” when he started out. (Franklin, 1771:196). However, Franklin was quick to gain ground. His move to another city or country signified his advancement and his prologue to his success to come are in his description of his boat travels. By this I mean that, Franklin intentionally gave the details of his boat travels to prepare the reader for the kind of successes or failure that he was going to face in the next chapter of his life.

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