Information To Those Who Would Remove To America Summary
Looking at "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," what is Benjamin Franklin's vision of the United States?
The major point that Franklin is trying to make in this piece is that the United States is a country in which people are all fairly equal. It is an egalitarian country both in attitudes and in economics. His vision of the United States, then, is that it is a country where everyone is equal to one another.
Franklin starts out by talking about economics. He says that people from Europe think that they could just come over to American and become rich. But Franklin says that is not likely to happen. He says that there are few poor people but also that there are few very rich people. In his words, while it is true that there are, in the United States
few People so miserable as the Poor of Europe, there are also very few that in Europe would be called rich; it is rather a general happy Mediocrity that prevails.
Franklin goes on to say that there is no point in leaving Europe if you think that your birth matters. He says that the US is not a place for aristocracy. As he says, it is a very bad idea for a person to come to the US
who has no other Quality to recommend him but his Birth. In Europe it has indeed its Value; but it is a Commodity that cannot be carried to a worse Market than that of America…
Franklin sees the United States, then, as a land of opportunity where anyone can become something if they are willing to work hard. He sees it as a land where no one is better than anyone else, but anyone can get ahead. As he says, the kind of people who should come to America are
Persons of moderate Fortunes and Capitals, who, having a Number of Children to provide for, are desirous of bringing them up to Industry, and to secure Estates for their Posterity…
If these people come to America, they will find opportunities that are not available to them in Europe.
As opposed to Europe, where there exists both very poor and very rich people, America, as Franklin writes, contains a "happy mediocrity." He writes that America is not a place for those who want to live idly on the rents they collect or for people who appoint themselves as geniuses. Instead, it is a place where those who work the soil or have a trade will be rewarded. It is also a place in which public offices are not very numerous or remunerative. People who prosper in America do so by their own industry and by providing services that are useful, instead of by relying on the patronage of great men.
Those willing to work the land can establish themselves in America and benefit from the availability of cheap land. As people in America tend to have large families, there are also positions for carpenters and builders. Franklin writes that the sins of idleness are prevented in America, where everyone must have a trade or business of some sort to survive. His vision of America is of a land in which people are industrious, healthy, and ambitious.