Saturday, October 8, 2011

In Response to Benjamin Franklin's Remarks Conerning the Savages of North America

Having read Benjamin Franklin's Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America, I am admittedly quite surprised.  Before I read the document, I had suspected that Ben Franklin's view of the Native Americans would have been little different from that of other American colonist at the time.  The word "savages" in the work's title did not lead me to suspect anything else, either.  Franklin's view of the Native Americans, however, seems not only ahead of his own time in terms of tolerance and understanding, but in some ways ahead of our own.  Franklin begins the essay, for example, by stating "Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs....Perhaps if we could examine the manners of different nations with impartiality, we should find no people so rude, as to be without any rules of politeness; nor any so polite, as not to have some remains of rudeness." Well done, Ben Franklin, for being able to achieve such a deep understanding of the Native Americans at a time when so few colonists shared that same sentiment.

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