The Views Of Henry D. Thoreau And Benjamin Franklin On The Concept Of The American Identity
American Identity is when one emits positive experiences throughout one’s nation. Henry D. Thoreau and Benjamin Franklin share different abstractions when it comes to “The American Identity. ” Henry Thoreau believed in Transcendentalism and Benjamin Franklin believed in Deism. They both had great ideas on the American Identity, but Thoreau proved that he has the best American Identity.
Thoreau was a paleface individual who shared a lot of morality by isolating himself away from society. He worked around economic theory. Thoreau gained knowledge about God’s creation from sharing a relationship with nature. He wanted that same relationship with God that Emerson had. He began to spend his entire lecture time finding God through nature. He developed spirituality through nature. He once went out to measure how deep the water was in a pond. He was trying to get “deeper” with God and nature.
Benjamin Franklin is a redskin deist. Deism began in the Age of Reason. He was very religious. His deist beliefs were that God is living. Even though deist believe that God should not interact with his creations, Franklin felt like he had to. He did this by making his main priority to focus on his economy and his community enrichments. He believed in one God who is responsible for the creation of the universe. Franklin felt that his nation was governed by God. His religious views were helping out each other as a community, pray with each other, and do well by each other as a whole. If one succeeded, everybody had to succeed. Benjamin Franklin and David Thoreau both describe their lives in a mannerly way. Their lives go from the Enlightenment (Age of Reason) Period to Transcendentalism (Romanticism) Period. Benjamin Franklin is perhaps upright with his readers, and Thoreau is practically living in an imagination with his readers. Franklin is giving his readers a view that he is a people person and is willing to help out society. Thoreau is showing his readers he is more soul-searching. Thoreau is not physically involved with society, and he is distant from everybody. Thoreau was a very judgmental individual. He stereotypes society as being materialistic and copy cats. He believed society follows right behind one another. This is why he chose to get away from society.
In the book “Economy” from Walden, Thoreau states that ‘‘A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferred to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil”. This quote is an excellent way of describing Thoreau as being judgmental. A woman came to his home with a doormat, and he didn’t want to take it. Thoreau felt like society was materialistic and if he kept the doormat he would be just like society. He said he would rather wipe his feet on his grass instead of taking the doormat. He was living in the house the lady came to for two years two months and two days. He moved there on Independence Day (a day of freedom) away from society. Franklin was a very humble gentleman. Franklin’s motive was to get his nation together and to educate everybody. He was a people person. He wanted everybody to have a way in life. The Autobiography [Part Two] that Benjamin Franklin wrote stated, ‘‘I propos’d that we should all of us bring our books to that Room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our Conferences, but become common benefit, each of us being at Liberty to borrow such as he wish’d to be at home”. This quote is basically stating that Franklin wanted the book to commonly benefit everybody. If everybody benefits and society is a part of it, everybody will have free range to borrow and make things better. Finding the advantage of this little collection will make everybody smart if they all read.
The book, The Restructuring of American Religion, states that “American religion was being shaped – and reshaped – by the social environment”. In The Autobiography [Part Two] Benjamin Franklin is also trying to reshape society and its religion. He felt like he was God. Even though he believed in God, he just had to be the person in his society to try to step up and help out everybody. He wanted everybody to be on the same page and to be educated. He was just responding to the call of action. Thoreau went into the woods to escape the labor that hard working men were doing. He was not doing this because he was lazy. He was doing it to escape from society. In order to limit the time he spent working, “I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found, that by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living”. Thoreau is saying that it allows him to provide for himself both substance and time. People should not devote their time to a job if it is not their professions. People should only work for necessaries. People should not devote their life to a more proper pursuit and find their individual identity. Donald E. Houghton states, “Thoreau points to nature not so much means renewal, although it is that partly, but symbolic example of the constant process of renewal which man can emulate”. Thoreau is not telling readers to abandon society and just go stay in the woods; He is telling them if they are not happy living around society that they can go somewhere else to start new lives. Thoreau feels like since his move away from society he can become a better person and find the real meaning for living on the earth. Thoreau suggests that everyone can live and build his own life through his own free choices. Franklin is straightforward about creating a great reputation for himself to others. Judith. Saunders echoes this by stating “From the very start he seeks a position himself advantageously in his community, to make a favorable impression on others”. Franklin sees high expectations and intelligence from his community. He wanted to achieve the appearance of his humanity by walking around town with a chart board to educate everybody. Philip Rahv states that “The redskin, on the other hand accepts his environment”. Franklin, who is a redskin, also accepted his environment. Franklin went knocking door to door for books so that his community can be well educated. He thought out qualities that would be great for his community. Those who come together as a community succeed as a community. Nobody is left behind.
Thoreau has more of an “American Identity” than Benjamin Franklin does. His American notion of faith gives a very economic theory. Thoreau is actually trying to find God by isolating himself from society. He feels like society is corrupting the individual. He does not accept anything from the natural world because he believes that it is evil. God is reflected in nature and Earth is labeled as heaven. He is not necessarily trying to stereotype society. He was just stating that if one is going to isolate himself from society do not bring anything to remind one of society. Thoreau feels as though luxury is not everything. He is saying it is a spiritual growth and the matter of one’s evaluation. He does not need society to tell him about God, because he goes into nature to get a deeper experience with God. Thoreau would rather find his own meaning of how God is. He just had to have that relationship with nature. Instead of Thoreau destroying society, He is just staying much wiser.
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