Although William Bradford and Ben Franklin lived 100 years apart from one another, they share at least one common theme: each man adhered to and dedicated himself to a particular system of belief. One key difference between Bradford’s faith and Franklin’s ideal of success is that Bradford believed that the way to improvement was through God.
Franklin believed that the only person or thing that could make things happen was you. Bradford’s point is illustrated in is work Of Plymouth Plantation. He states, “The difficulties were many, but not invincible. For though there are many of them likely, yet they were not certain. It might be sundry of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means might in great measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne or overcome.” Bradford 144Order now
In this quote he is talking about the pilgrims first coming to America. He thinks that through God they survive and will prosper. Bradford’s puritan belief influenced the way that he survived. His survival depended on the his faith in God. Imagine someone coming to a new world just for the sake of coming. If he didn’t have his faith he probably wouldn’t have stayed and founded the Plymouth colony. But because of his faith in God, he stayed.
Franklin believes that God is to be thanked, but his own hard work with God’s providence made him the way he is. Franklin 370 Franklin believed the only way to improve was to take what God had given to you and work hard using your talents to become successful. He stated in Poor Richard Improved, “He that plough would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.” Franklin 439
This mentions nothing about God, only He or Himself. Whereas all of Bradford’s passage about himself mention something about God. Franklin’s belief system is through hard work and self-improvement. He achieved all he did through his own hard work. Ben Franklin grew up in a upper-class environment and when his father lost his money Franklin had to go to work as a printing person. He made it where he is today because of his hark work and self-improvement.
In my view Franklin’s success system has the greatest strength. I tend to think that Bradford’s view is a little unattainable.
In my opinion God gave us free will for a reason. This reason was for us to make our own conscience decisions and to look to God for guidance only and not rely on him for every little detail of our lives. We have to work hard and be thankful for God’s providence that we have the opportunities we have. I also think that we have to have a little bit of Bradford’s faith. His faith in God gave him strength to overcome insurmountable odds. I think that we should learn from both Franklin and Bradford. God and hard work will make us