Examination of Edwards" and Franklins" texts shows how Puritan ideals evolved into American beliefs as the new world was increasingly secularized (non-theocratic) over the course of the 18th century. Edwards and Franklin might seem to have little in common on the surface, but their insistence on individual responsibility and self-discipline mark them as what some people call "self-made" individuals.
A "self-made" individual is one whose success (of any type) is depicted as a conscientious product of their dedication to hard work and industry. For Edwards, who was a Puritan minister, this means basically extending effort to measure the quality of one's religious commitment. For Franklin, it means translating the gospel of spiritual growth and self-perfection into the ability to have social and economic success.
Edwards tells his story according to his religious thoughts and feelings and is considered to belong in the spiritual autobiography category. Where previous Puritans insisted on using reason or rational thought to prove the logic of Biblical truth, Edwards portrays his spiritual journey as an emotional growth. He encourages Puritans to express their faith in emotional terms and insists that the seemingly terrifying or depressing message of original sin and limited atonement are actually quite pleasing and exhilarating. .
In Franklin, we see that energy of personal development and growth put to social and civic ends rather than spiritual ones. Franklin insists that his purpose is to offer a model by which other young men can learn from his habits. Franklin in a sense created the entrepreneurial autobiography, in which a successful business man recounts the road to his success and the values necessary for it.
Franklin values his method of following the virtues, and it can be seen by his careful tracking of his success/failure while following them. He values order and structure and the inner peace they bring him.