The Speech of Miss Polly Baker 1747

By Aubrey Bepko, Kaylee Lampert


The speech of Miss Polly Baker, conducted in front of a fictional court, addresses her five charges on the crime of bearing a child out of wedlock. Miss Baker is proven to have conceived five children, none bearing genes of a husband. Miss Baker has been previously charged with fines and sentenced to public punishment for these offenses. Baker challenges the court and questions the fairness of the the law with the argument of her belief that she has done nothing in the terms of morals. Towards the end of her speech, Miss Baker proclaims that instead of her receiving public punishment there should be a statue in her honor for enduring unjust punishments for crimes she believes to be inaccurate.

Miss Baker brings to light multiple personal issues she has with the charges brought upon her. She was originally planned to be wed until she became pregnant with her fiancée’s child, until he proceeded to leave her to care after the child herself. He now holds power in the government as a Magistrate. She views this as unfair, as he was given a placement of power and no punishment, where as she was left to care for the fatherless child alone and punished for his abandonment. She states having her children not as a crime because she brought five lives into the world and into a country that is asking for more members. She explains that she has never had tainted someone else’s marriage with an affair, nor does she believe God is mad at her for having her children. She emphasizes how she has increased the population in a non sinful manner and has rightfully taken part in the process of natural selection. Due to these multiple beliefs she believes the court is in the wrong and certain laws should be taken into careful consideration.

Benjamin Franklin writes this piece as a fictional story addressing the gender inequality in the justice system during the time period. Narrating as Miss Polly Baker, Franklin tells the tale of a woman battling the wrong doing of fines and public punishments Baker receives for conceiving five children while unwed. Polly Baker was viewed to the public as a sinful woman for acts in which she believed were not worthy of punishment. Franklin addresses that it is wrong for not only the woman to be the only one to go punished, but also to even punish a woman for having a child unwed when they are the ones solely caring for the child. This piece is important because of it’s address to inequality, in the instance, Miss Baker received full punishment, and the biological father of her first child went unpunished and received a position of governmental power.

Silence Dogood #10

In 1722 on August 13th, Benjamin Franklin wrote his tenth essay under the name Silence Dogood. The purpose of this piece is to explain Dogood’s proposal that helps out poor widows by opening an office called “An Office of Ensurance for Widows.” At this time in history men were dying at a younger age leaving wives alone. Most of these families consisted of husbands in business of Clergy, shopkeepers, and artificers, and wives bearing three to four children. When a woman’s husband dies their funds are decreased a substantial amount and taking care of their children becomes tough.


Through this program, Franklin suggests widows receive help, mainly in the form of money, when they are subscribed to the system. Franklin regulates this system with multiple rules and restrictions. For example, Franklin states, “One Exception must be made; and that is, Either very unequal Matches, as when a Woman of Nine-teen Marries an old Man of Seventy.” This is just one of the multiple restrictions that prevents women to take advantage of the system. As Franklin wants to keep this system fair and honest, “the Intent being to Aid the Poor, not add to the Rich” Franklin expresses.


Franklin does well in the explanation of his proposal and explains his rules and regulation to this system with simple examples. I applaud Franklin for proposing a program that helps out widows and their families when they are the most in need. Franklin proposes this program, which has little affect to his personal life, in full benefit to others, I find this quite inspiring to know Franklin wrote this proposal at the age of 16.

Statue of Benjamin Franklin



Constructed in 1874, in front of the Old City Hall stands the eight foot tall statue of Benjamin Franklin. Created by Richard S. Greenough, this statue was the first public statue of a person to be installed in the city of Boston. This statue was built to commemorate Benjamin Franklin on all of his achievements.

Known for being an inventor, writer, politician, and leader, Benjamin Franklin was one of the most influential people in the creation of American Democracy. Franklin was the only person to sign all four of the documents that created our democracy today: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, The Treaty of Alliance with France, and The Treaty of Peace with Great Britain. Not only was Franklin apart of the Continental Congress and the country’s Ambassador to France, but he also discovered electricity through his famous kite and bronze key experiment.