Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Original Hustler

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.

1 comment:

Chelsea E. said...

I feel as if your assertion that Franklin was a hustler is correct in every sense, however I also do believe that it is this quality that led to his being known as the "Founding Father" of America.

"I grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and intergrity in dealings between man and man were of the most utmost importance to the felicity of life... And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable circumstances and situations, or all togeher, preserved me, thro' this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my fatherm without any willful gross immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from my want of religion...I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with; I valued it properly and determin'd to preserve it. " (pg 38).

Benjamin Franklin at a young age ralized that if he was going to be any kind of success in life then he was going to have to let his character and determination take him as far as they could, because of his poor financial situation. He knew he would have to present a character that would attract men who could help catapult him in the right direction. He came from rags to riches. He wasn't dumb. He hustled his way to the major leagues by using his personality (combined with his temperance and frugality) to help him attain everything he wanted in life. He manipulated situations as well as people, but that is character for anyone who wants to make it to the top, eventually you will step on some toes. When you think about it this exactly what a hustler does, he stops at nothing to get the job accomplished and to achieve their ultimate goal. When we put a person of this caliber in context with the time period of the early American days, one relaizes that he is one of the first to bring this idea to the forefront as well as one of the first self-made men in America, which put him ahead of numerous men in America during that time. Thus he set the example for more people to come along and turn their sad and tragic tales of oppression, despair, and poverty into one of success and contentment. Hence, he is known as the Founding Father of America.