2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Pilgrim of Unity: Adams, Franklin, and an Elusive Education
Connor J. Stangler
Dr. David Partenheimer, Faculty Mentor

Henry Adams and Benjamin Franklin wrote two of the most recognizable and archetypical autobiographies in American literature. Though both written for personal reasons, each contained a bold theory of education. In The Education of Henry Adams, Adams disproves through falsification each attempt at firm and unified understanding. Throughout, education is unattainable and asymptotic. In the anecdotal Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin advances a more sanguine, practical, and democratic theory of education. This paper contrasts the two theories but also seeks within the comparison what is distinctly American about the author and the work. However, it would betray the two works intentions to read disinterestedly. The authors meant to inspire their audience. Thus, drawing on my experience at Truman State University, my paper will also fulfill the authors' tradition and directive: to critically reflect on my own educational experience and attempt to extract (or deny) existential meaning.

Keywords: Autobiography, Education, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Adams, Truman State University


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 405-3
Location: VH 1320
Time: 3:00

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