Benjamin Franklin's Letter to James Parker

Dublin Core


Benjamin Franklin's Letter to James Parker


History, Politics, Thirteen Colonies, Iroquois League, Confederacy


In 1751, Benjamin Franklin wrote to James Parker discussing the advantageous of forming a union of their own. In it Franklin shows amazement of how “Six Nations of ignorant savages would be capable of forming a scheme for such a union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears indissoluble.” Franklin goes on to mention that a union of English colonies would serve a better purpose, meaning that if the more “civilized” British decided to split from the Crown, then they could use the Iroquois League’s method of governing and amplify it; hence him specifically mentioning the use of such a method on thirteen colonies as opposed to six nations. This letter was written at a time of growing distaste of the Crown by colonists due to its excessive interference in colonial life, whereas the colonists had little to no say in British government. Essentially, Franklin is planting the seeds of revolution by seeing hope in the way the Iroquois operate.


Benjamin Franklin


Smithsonian Institute


University of Memphis




[no text]


Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies


Benjamin Franklin, “Benjamin Franklin's Letter to James Parker,” Early North America, accessed March 20, 2018,

Output Formats