There have been those who have claimed that Benjamin Frankling can be called the Founding Father. The one individual who embodied the classical ideals that make America. But I would disagree. Benjamin Franklin to me is not the the Founding Father, he may be the original American. By this, I mean that Benjamin Franklin is the perfect embodiment of the Protestant work ethic and the slimy "get ahead" attitude that infuses American life. In other words, Benjamin Franklin can be accurately characterized as the original hustler.
What characteristics would you say enable Franklin to hold this title?
The first, and most important feature, is that Franklin did not grow up in a privileged household. Franklin understood from a young age that he would have to make a name for himself. He could not depend on his family to care for him always, so he knew he'd have to get a trade and make a go at it. At the same time, though, Franklin cannot be limited by working for another person; and this is the second aspect of being a hustler. The desire to be independent is the principal driving force behind the hustler.
The drive for independence is what differentiates the hustler from the employee. Whether you look at a simple corner drug boy compared to his lieutenants and mid-level dealers, or a cubicle dweller comapred to upper management, the dichotomy exists. The hustler seeks autonomy and influence. If he can do his own thing, he will. And it is this drive that truly makes the hustler unique, and is one of the principal driving forces of Benjamin Franklin. His desire to be free of his father's and brother's influence, his ability to lead those around him, and his almost boundless intelligence all lead him to the life of the hustler. And hustle he does.
Franklin takes his skills and parlays them into real influence. From publishing Poor Richard's Almanac to acting in service of the colonial government in Europe, Benjamin Franklin finds a way to separate himself from those around him and to gain influence where one should not have it. In essence, he hustles. In this sense, Franklin is the original, and maybe the best, American hustler.