Benajmin Franklin's 13 Virtues

Length: 3 Pages 741 Words

Living in a civilized society, there are certain rules and regulations that everyone must follow in order to succeed. Along with these rules, there are virtues that some people choose to follow in order to live a healthy, honorable life. In Benjamin Franklin’s The Autobiography, he lists thirteen virtues that he feels are most imperative to living a moral life. Even though he created this list in the 18th century, most of the virtues are still relevant today. There are, however, a couple that seem to be out of date for today’s society. There are also some virtues that should be added to Franklin’s list because of the changes that our society has gone through in the past few centuries. Each individual has a personal list of virtues that he or she feels are the basis of a moral life. There will be differences in each one, but there is also a general similarity in many. Franklin’s virtues fit into many of these similarities. In the 18th century, etiquette was an important aspect of life. This is especially apparent in three of Franklin’s virtues – cleanliness, order, and Continue...


Franklin says to "Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation" (317). Most people try to be organized, but once again, it is not important to live a righteous life. Benjamin Franklin had a good idea when he decided to focus on thirteen virtues that he felt he and others needed to improve on. When tolerance is absent in society, horrendous things happen to minorities. No person is perfect, and therefore could most likely never succeed at accomplishing all of these virtues. If each person just sought to meet these goals, the world would be more pleasant and accepting. If everyone focuses on what they can change to solve their problems, the world would be a better place. The Holocaust is a perfect example of the absence of tolerance. Along with the addition of tolerance, responsibility should be added to Franklin"tms list. Too often I blame my problems on others, when in fact they are my fault. None of these three are crucial to a righteous life in the present. Going long with cleanliness, order is also a nice thing to have. These virtues are all too often dismissed as impossible and idealistic.