From the Puritans to Ben Franklin
From the paper:
From Puritan writings onward, and throughout all American literature, a dominant concern has been the question of identity, and/or the search for identity. Puritans, for example, sought to retain their identity and so found themselves having to escape to a ?New World? in order to preserve their convictions about God. In the end, Puritans came to view themselves as a ?chosen people? (?Introduction? 2). Benjamin Franklin, on the other hand, as one of the authors of the ?Declaration of Independence? (amongst other important revolutionary documents), helped construct a later version of the American identity as both independent and self-determining.
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And as he further advanced the question of identity in American letters, he helped bring to the table related notions of the ?American dream? and personal virtue. In so doing, Franklin?s vision of America was forged in ways much different than the more communal vision of his Puritan ancestors.