Pragmatist or Pretender? Benjamin Franklin and Slavery
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Benjamin Franklin was known for his work and statesmanship during the American Revolution, but he was also an advocate of abolition near the end of his life. The antislavery group of which he was president submitted the first petition to the United States government to end the slave trade in America, but Franklin did not always hold antislavery beliefs, as he owned household slaves for the majority of his life and greatly profited from the institution. The purpose of this paper is to examine how Benjamin Franklin's opinion of slavery changed over the course of his life. It draws upon primary and secondary sources to synthesize existing scholarship into a single narrative, and discusses several different interpretations of Franklin and slavery.
Slavery--United States--History--18th century
Antislavery movements--United States--History--18th century
Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790--Political and social views