Comparison of Individuals





Comparison of Individuals

Both the Benjamin Franklin and Christopher Columbus represent popular American icons that contributed greatly towards shaping the current state of the country. Their early efforts ensured that the current generation in the United States could enjoy certain benefits. In general, this paper seeks to discuss the contributions of these two historic figures. Particularly, it will seek to compare and contrast their contribution to the main themes of leadership, national identity, and virtue. By the conclusion, it is expected that the comparison between these two men will yield a wealth of information on their similarities, differences, and contribution towards

Moral Preservation and Virtue

Benjamin Franklin is very popular and rightly appreciated in modern American culture. He also served as the originator of moral rules through which specific aspects of conduct deemed exemplary in the American value system. Therefore, the type of values endorsed by Franklin becomes a pertinent question. Through several sources including his own autobiography, Franklin emerged as an individual with strong ideals that were publicly presented including the way in which they would be implemented (Perkins 45). Care should be taken to analyze whether these values were shared by the rest of the American population. What is clear is that they were good value worth emulating. In short, Franklin seemed an ideal public representative. In terms of maintaining ideals, it is quite difficult to find a man quiet as fitting as Benjamin Franklin within the United States. Similarly, Christopher was equally revered as the Father of American Virtue from 1942 onwards (Perkins 25). He was a talkative and unrelenting self-publicist who sought to build a reputation as the ideal American. The image he portrayed was that of a beneficial agent, the envoy of a new dreamland, selected to bear the torch and explored new lands that were hitherto unreachable. However, after a short period, it emerged that most of his efforts were narcissistic and not nationalistic in nature. He ensured that all of his discoveries and ventures were exaggerated and documented across the American land. The efforts of early writers and poets to attempt and include the true Columbus only served to entrench his position as the “chosen leader of the New World” (Perkins 27). In conclusion, Franklin’s thirteen virtues were a strong point that guided his personal conduct and useful in directing his electorate. Personally, he was an upright man. Conversely, Christopher Columbus expressed element of selfishness, lack of purpose and general flawed nature.

National Identity

Benjamin Franklin was single handedly responsible for the unification and leadership that fostered a concrete national identity in America. Franklin sought to discard the Puritan ideology and adopted an Enlightenment approach (Perkins 30). This move alone was a major shift that affected the entire American society. His works illustrated the mounting awareness of a country that desired to detach itself from the English values. Franklin displayed a deep concern for fostering an American awareness during his tenure with the aspiration of assisting the informed people to prosper and eventually demonstrate to other states the epitome of the “American Dream”. Furthermore, Franklin was more than a political head. As an inventor and an entrepreneur, Franklin was responsible for the inception of the initial paper currency first in Pennsylvania and later on in the United States (Perkins 31). In this way, he embodied Solomon’s proverb in the currency, a concept that has been retained into the current century.

Columbus’ story was that of chance and simplicity compared to Franklin’s. Immediately after America managed to separate itself from England’s rule, it found itself without any sense of identity or national figures. The relationship between America and Christopher Columbus started with the film industry that portrayed the early explorers and founders of the new land as heroes. It was appealing for the American people to use Columbus as a beacon of national identity since he had found a way of escaping the dreadful life in Europe. He had also challenged the high seas, roamed the Indian-dominated lands, and made a home in America. Many people sought to understand their freedom from monarchy because of Columbus’ efforts. Columbus’ case as a nationalist is quite difficult to argue. In fact, one might even posit that he is both a hero and a villain (Perkins 45). On one hand, Christopher Columbus was responsible for leading the first voyagers into discovering America. For this, he has been lauded generously. Conversely, Columbus was responsible for eroding a vital part of America’s history and heritage – the Native Indians. In conclusion, between the two individuals, Benjamin Franklin emerged as a true nationalist who desired to see America prosper. Furthermore, Columbus has also been implicated in contributing towards reducing the dominance of the Native Indian tribes. Therefore, Columbus represented a sad day for American history. In conclusion, between the two individuals, Benjamin Franklin emerged as a true nationalist who desired to see America prosper. Furthermore, Columbus has also been implicated in contributing towards reducing the dominance of the Native Indian tribes.

Leadership Skills

            In the process of comparing the leadership qualities that exist between these two prominent figures, it is important to acknowledge the gap in eras. Christopher Columbus exhibited excellent leadership skills for a voyager tasked with the duty of furthering Spanish interests overseas. The sailor had a vision who understood that he had a mission to find new land elsewhere (Perkins 56). This allowed for flexibility in the plan until he found his way into America. He also exhibited aspects of persistence and resilience: two qualities that allowed him to survive through the constant battles with Indians and lay the foundation for the entry of the first American ancestors. Lastly, his ability to adapt to the geographical, social, and political changes that happened around him allowed Columbus to emerge as one of the genuine founding fathers of America.

Benjamin Franklin was equally an excellent leader who started off his leadership stint with mediating in the Revolutionary War. However, analyzing Benjamin Franklin as a leader is not straightforward since he did not lead any armies or participate in the wars. However, he illustrated the ultimate hybrid form of leadership. For one, he was a successful businessperson who worked hard and developed himself a solid empire associated with massive resources and many employees (Perkins 89). Most of these businesses were handed over to other people after they stabilized. Two, he was a great academician who specialized in political science and philosophy. His leadership at the Philosophy Society in London was well documented through his various inventions. Finally, he was also one of the founding fathers of America. From being a representative of Pennsylvania, Franklin tackled the public problems that he encountered in the political sphere (Perkins 105). His passionate zeal to realize social justice while in England and later on in America, contributed greatly towards the current equality being enjoyed in the nation.


Work Cited

Perkins, George. American Literature before the Civil War. New York: McGraw-Hill/Create, 2011. Print.

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