“Historicus” to Federal Gazette

Briana D’Amelio, Megan Scully, Marissa Gadaukas and Ashlee Backhus

On March 23, 1790, Benjamin Franklin, under the pseudonym of Historicus, responds to a speech given by Georgia Representative James Jackson. This speech mirrored one spoken 100 years prior by the Islamic leader of Algiers Sidi Mehmet Ibrahim. Quoting Ibrahim’s speech showed that Jackson’s views on slavery were immensely similar to that of the Islamic leader. The speech shines light on what are considered to be “positive” aspects of slavery thus including what a slave is supposed to do after they are set free and what they believe the point of slavery is- to convert those in captivity to their preferred religion.

The goal of Franklin in responding to this speech was to mock Ibrahim and Jackson in the ideal that slavery could be considered a “good” thing. Being the President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, Franklin was obligied to go against slavery and make others aware that the abolition of it could be possible. His reasoning for not blatantly coming out and saying “slavery is wrong” was to  not dictate anyones ways of thinking  and allow all those who followed to form their own opinions.

It is important to note that this was the last piece of work written by Benjamin Franklin due to his death just three weeks later.

One thought on ““Historicus” to Federal Gazette”

  1. I noticed how concise this was while still containing a lot of good information, but it seems more like a list of events rather than a summary/analysis.
    I like that you noted Franklin’s rationale for not coming right out and damning slavery, but how he wrote an article in response to the matter and approached it civilly. Also how you pointed out that this was the last piece he wrote before his death, i.e. his last mark in history.
    Although it is a good summary of the article, I feel like it would be easier to understand and fully grasp the issue at hand if you would have included some direct quotes to support the claim that Jackson’s speech 100 years later did in fact mirror and show similarities to Ibriham’s speech.
    Overall great post just needs a little more depth for clarity!

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