The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin revealed a tale of success that portrayed a remarkable man, who lived a life of great virtue in tumultuous 18th century America. His autobiography established in literary form, the first example of the fulfillment of the American Dream. Franklin discussed his life-story as an example to illustrate the most important American qualities and values, like determination, self-sufficiency, perseverance, hard work, frugality, and reliance on a sound code of ethics are the ingredients of success. He narrated how he shaped himself as an exemplary citizen and a representative type through immense hardship and constant diligence. Franklin demonstrated the possibilities of life in the New World through his own rise from the lower middle class as a youth to one of the most admired men in the world as an adult. Furthermore, he asserted that he achieved his success through a solid work ethic. He proved that even undistinguished persons in Boston could, through industry, become great figures of importance in America. When we think of the American Dream today--the ability to rise from rags to riches through hard work--we are usually thinking of the model set forth by Franklin in his autobiography.
Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography presented the full picture of Franklin as a Renaissance scholar who was fascinated by all types of learning, and interested in doing whatever he could to make life a little bit better for mankind; which was based on the Puritan notion that the way to please God was by doing good to other men. Along with his "quest for moral perfection," this interest manifested itself in public service and scientific progress. He spent the early years of his life as a printer, moralist, essayist, scientist, inventor, and a philosopher. He later went on to become a civic leader, states-man, and diplomat. Upon a man of those careers, he was a strong force in developing the new nation of America.