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Benjamin Franklin$
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Edwin S. Gaustad

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305357

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305357.001.0001

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Pennsylvania Politics

Pennsylvania Politics

(p.52) Four Pennsylvania Politics
Benjamin Franklin

Edwin S. Gaustad

Oxford University Press

Pennsylvanian politics had a peculiar problem. By the middle of the 18th century, Quakers, as pacifists, still constituted the ruling majority in the assembly. Other segments of the population, however, conscious of their colony's vulnerability, responded quickly to Franklin's pamphlet, Plain Truth, which amounted to a defensive call to arms. A sharp rise in German immigration in the 1730s created an ethnic bloc in the colony that worried many citizens, including Franklin. Franklin supported privately financed English schools. One explicit purpose of these schools was to Anglicize the German children. Being one of the three representatives from Pennsylvania in 1754, he set out for Albany to draw up a plan for the union of all the colonies. In 1764, he was elected as Speaker of the Pennsylvanian Assembly. Following repeal of the Stamp Act, he became the strongest voice in England for colonial interests.

Keywords:   Quakers, Plain Truth, German immigration, Thomas Penn, Pennsylvanian Assembly, Stamp Act

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