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A Project of Moral Perfection: Benjamin Franklin’s List of Virtues and Purpose

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • What was Benjamin Franklin’s identity?
  • What was Franklin’s purpose in developing his plan for moral perfection?
  • How did Franklin attempt to achieve moral perfection? Did he succeed? Why or why not?
  • How did Benjamin Franklin’s purposeful life help to advance freedom for himself as well as for others?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze Benjamin Franklin’s attempts to be virtuous in his life.
  • Students will examine how Franklin was purposeful in the way that he lived.
  • Students will apply their knowledge about purpose to their own lives.

Student Handouts