Jun 07 2010
Actually, Ferguson insists that there is a tradition of documents that goes back ot older ‘constitutions’ and compacts’ – do you know what he is refering to, and why? This comes at the beginning of his text when he talks about the difference between American constitutionalism and its English counterpart. Even without knowing too much about constitutionalism, you may be able to get some sense out of his argument in what way Americans were more drawn to the written word – how so?
Franklin’s autobiography is a case in point – would you agree? In what way does his attempt at ‘reliving’ his life in the form of writing attest to the trust in writign that Ferguson talks about? Please try to remember what we talked about when we discussed Franklin’s assessment about the permanence or endurance of the written memory against the natural ‘life span’ of remembering.
And lastly, you may also comment on Franklin’s famous experiment to arrive at the moral perfection of character. Please discuss what he tried to do and why, and especially try to comment in what way his idea could be related to earlier puritan modes of self-inspection and in what way he is departing from, say, Samual Sewall’s writing in the latter’s diary.
So much for now, more coming up!