Liberty, Responsibility, and the Self-Made Man


Conferees examined the model of the self-made man presented in three narratives: Franklin's Autobiography, and two novels, The Autobiography of an Ex–Colored Man and The Great Gatsby. Participants also read essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and Ayn Rand on the themes of responsibility for self and liberty.


Conference Readings

Douglass, Frederick. "Self-Made Men" (1872). Downloaded from Monadnock Valley Press at

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays and Lectures. Edited by Joel Porte. New York: Library of America, 1983.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Dover Thrift Editions, 1996.

Johnson, James Weldon. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. New York: Dover Thrift Editions, 1995.

Rand, Ayn. The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism. New York: New American Library, 1964.