Benjamin Franklin, Equiano, And The Great Awakening And Punishment

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During revolutionary America, Benjamin Franklin, Olaudah Equiano, and Phillis Wheatley all wrote autobiographical works that framed their identities and explored new ideas taking form through the Great Awakening and Enlightenment. Equiano and Wheatley wrote in support of abolition and used their works to exemplify that, while Franklin focused on the “American dream” and how he was able to achieve it. Despite these differences, all three were quick to mention religion in America and the Christian hypocrisy associated with it.

Wheatley and Equiano wrote for the same reason: abolition. The two shared a similar story, both were taken from their homes in Africa and brought to America as slaves (Wheatley Norton Preface, Costonzo 526). Because of this experience, both were motivated to protest slavery in America, and they chose to do so through their published works. Equiano writes, “to lay at your feet the following genuine Narrative; the chief design of which is to excite your argument assemblies a sense of compassion for the miseries which the Slave-Trade has entailed on my unfortunate countrymen” (Equiano Preface). His chief purpose throughout the work is to argue why slavery should be abolished. He goes on to give a chilling account of the horrors he faced being brought to America (Equiano 542). The same is shown in Wheatley’s poems, “I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate/Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat/…/such, such my case. And can I then but pray/Others may

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