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Benjamin Franklin the most important figure among the anti-mystics who more than any other man represents the spirit of the Enlightenment movement in America These ideas and attitudes are not harmonious simple and unifiedor totally new but they do share a determination to break from dogmatic religion feudal social relationships and political absolutism Intellectually this movement was influenced by the new science associated with Galileo and Newton culturally by a turn from religion to interest in nature especially human nature politically by the development of liberal thought associated with the bourgeois revolution and socio-economically by the growing importance of the commercial middle class and entrepreneurial capitalismThough born in Boston of Puritan parents Benjamin Franklin while retaining all of his Puritan faith in the standard virtues nevertheless had no patience with the Calvinistic attitude that the earth was a vale of tears and suffering so constituted to try mens spirits for the wrath to come Rather he believed that this life should be dedicated to the pursuit of human happiness which is attained only through a constant cultivation of the art of getting along with ones fellow man For Benjamin Franklin the act of worship was carried out most sincerely when it was directed toward the betterment of man in his practical every-day human relationships He borrowed from the Puritan teachings to produce his famous Thirteen Virtues temperance silence order resolution frugality industry sincerity justice moderation cleanliness tranquility chastity and humility He urged others to follow these beliefs not for their Calvinistic value of justifying the ways of God to man but for their practical usefulness in what he recognized and approved as the fundamental motive of existence--the desire to Get On In a sense his attitude was simply a modernization of the Puritan concept of fruitful industry But whereas the Calvinist regarded prosperity as a mark of Gods favor and a possible sign of heavenly reward He looked upon it as a means of establishing
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