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To be more specific, the artifacts of history simply generate narrations of the past from fragmented memories, yet they also provide social models for the audience to construct their identities on the basis of such models at the present. Without constructing a meaningful narrative of the past, none can develop a complete identity and give meaning to his or her present.
She writes,. Apfelbaum They get involved in a dialog with their audience, and the audience develops both collective and individual identities through this process. Identity making, at this point, is a form of individual narration, and people—the audience—reconstruct their own identities by internalizing these artifacts as their reference points for the past. This is how an individual develops identity within the dialog of external and internal subjectivities.
This can be seen in all sources of history, as John Adams has already observed, Benjamin Franklin was one of the objects of this history-making process in America Mulford What one sees in the statues of Franklin is not the original source of these artifacts, but the remade models of this source, together with the memory fragments and subjectivities of the narrators, who are also members of the audience, themselves. As already discussed, human brain remembers on the basis of causality and creates meanings by decoding the fragments of past experiences, kept inside his or her memory storage.
However, every narrative needs a basis to be built upon. Such material must be flexible enough for the narrator to engrave his own depictions and adaptable enough for the audience to embrace it as a part of their identities. It was a tradition among American pioneers, when their communities became too confining, to strike out for the frontier.
But Franklin was a different type of American rebel. The wilderness did not beckon. Instead, he was enticed by the new commercial centers, New York and Philadelphia, that offered the chance to become a self-made success Isaacson Hence, R. McKenzie was chosen because he was not only an acknowledged sculptor, but he was also the head of the physical studies department.
Trait McKenzie. The Young Franklin.
He holds a wooden stick in his hand to show that he was on a journey as he had a long-way ahead and a great potential, lying in his future. In terms of his clothing, he was not in a wretched situation, but he is not clad in anything luxurious, either. Beck remarked in his speech for the unveiling of the statue on 16 June Does not this Franklin with his staff in one hand and his meagre possessions in the other, with uplifted eyes, alert, vigorous carriage and smiling, resolute face, nobly symbolize the youth of America, as they end their apprenticeship, and bravely face on the threshold of manhood the rude challenge of the world?
Beck 5. By the early s, there were already mythologies of Franklin, widely circulated around the country as a model of the ideal citizen, who was expected to be patriotic, pious, self-sufficient, and industrious, and as a proof of the achievability of the American Dream Mulford The ideal citizen had to reflect the newly independent Christian America and its success-oriented culture, causing the paradoxical existence of a half utilitarian, half materialist society.
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It was a perfect example for the reproduction of history in the hands of narrators, as discussed in the previous parts of this study, as well as how a public figure turns into an identity model for the audience of the artifacts of history. As it can be understood, these statues became the pulpits for the expression of the social values, role models, and public discourses that defined American society.
For this reason, these statues, carrying all the features of such artifacts including the subjectivities of their creators, are to be studied as the conveyors of the values that American society had already begun developing before the date when these statues were erected.
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For this reason, the statues of Franklin are not given in a chronological order, regarding the dates when they were opened to the public, covering a gigantic span of time from to , but in a contextual order with regard to the dominant themes in the history of the United States. On the contrary, Franklin was a jack-of-all-trades, as remarked by Verner W. However, Franklin provided a reachable model, which the narrators could reshape according to their discourses, rather than a colossal and almost dogmatic figure, which would be impossible to add or omit any details from its original.
In this respect, he was suitable for becoming a social figure, recognized and appraised as a model citizen, and this turned him into an almost mythological figure in the hands of people like Mason Locke Weems, Robert Thomas, Amos Taylor and Silas Felton alongside with their many successors in this myth-making process. These people were criticized by John Adams and Henry Cabot Lodge as the former witnessed the beginning of this process and the latter faced the results it had reached by the end of the nineteenth century Mulford and Descartes tried to define the differences between perspectives with the nature of light that reflects from objects and projects on the eyes of spectators, and in their eyes, visual imitations of these objects occur, and the difference between these imitations provide different perspectives about the object.
This is how light turns into meaningful images before coming into being and everyone has their own perception of the reflecting object regarding where they stand Descartes Historians, artists, family members, teachers, and basically every single member of the society are the narrators of memories as they all remember.
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They reshape memories in their reconstructions of the past, namely the act of remembering; meanwhile, they redefine their world according to what they remember. Hence the audience and the material become the objects of a narrative as artifacts of history and memory. This is how collective and individual memory occurs and works, and this is how people develop role models and identities for themselves. Hiram Powers. Library of Congress. These were two separate but related conflicts of Europe which broke out between Nationalist-Socialist political groups in these countries and the sovereign empires as the former sought national unity and independence from monarchs as new republics.
Additionally, Powers was a Unionist during the turbulent years of the American Civil War, and he advocated that the only way to prevent the sufferings and wars of the European separatist movements, which eventually led to the Great War, was to promote the traditional ideals of unity and republicanism of the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary Era Fryd Hence, it was believed that the solution for the crises of these turbulent years lay in the elevation of the fundamental ideals present at the foundation of the United States.
Powers remakes Franklin as a young individual who is leaning on a column, given the look of a tree trunk, in his sculpture, opened to the public in , just a year after the Fort Sumter incident in the first year of the Civil War.
Benjamin Franklin Facts
This model of Franklin is represented in a thoughtful manner as one of the eminent strategists of American independence and the Revolutionary War by having been involved in the determination of the proper strategy that Americans had to follow even before the French and Indian War Stourzh Reinforcing the active look of the statue, Franklin wears a long coat, resembling to the uniform of the Continental Army officers, with open buttons, and displays a casual stance with his legs. He is neither retreating nor paralyzed by fear at his position, but he is carefully observing and devising his next move.
His garments and expression contribute to the masculine look of the model. Therefore, the revolutionary Franklin was depicted to be as much of a soldier and a commander as he was an enlightened intellectual in the military sciences, as well.
This is a common characteristic, attributed to the Founders of the United States, as they were the leaders of the country during the wartime as well as the patriarchs of the post-bellum nation-making period. Benjamin Franklin lived in a transitory era, going through a metamorphic stage from agriculturalism to steam-powered industrialism as Morgan states:. The fact that Franklin thought doing things better with nothing but hand power tells us something both about him and about his time.
He liked doing things himself. He was continually designing experiments and constructing apparatus to carry them out, but mostly they were things he could do by himself or that he could get some craftsman to do his directions.
He must have been very good with his hands, and the world he knew was a world in which nearly everything was done by hand. That world was changing, even in his own life time[.
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