Silence Dogood Letter 8

Benjamin Franklin wrote the 8th letter of his series under the pseudonym Silence Dogood on July 9, 1722, at the age of 14. In this letter he discusses the idea of rights of citizens of a government, particularly the ideas of Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech. Rather than discuss his own opinion on the matter Franklin, under his pen name Silence uses a long passage from the London Journal. He says, “I prefer the following Abstract from the London Journal to any Thing of my own, and therefore shall present it to your Readers this week without any further Preface.”

The passage of the journal gives a very extensive opinion on the ideas of free speech and press. It outlines the necessity of having these freedoms to have a well functioning society. It says that they are certainly rights that should not be deprived by any sort of tyranny, so long as the citizens who have these rights use them properly. The passage then goes on to illustrate the past tyrannical rulers of England who denied these rights. They were afraid that if these rights were allocated, that their regimes would be undermined by there servants. while this is a legitimate fear, the author of the passage counters by saying “Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well as the Effect of a good Government.” Essentially, by allowing your servants to have these rights, you will have a much better, and functioning government and society than you would by pressing these rights. In addition to this, all though the people of this government would have the right to criticize their leader publicly, there would be no turmoil and revolution over the oppression of their rights.

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