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The Spirit Of ’54
More than two decades before the Revolution broke out, a group of Americans voted on a scheme to unite the colonies. For the rest of his life, Benjamin Franklin thought it could have prevented the war. It didn’t—but it did give us our Constitution.
August/September 2002 | Volume 53, Issue 4
Writing in 1789, when the new federal government of the United States of America was functioning, Franklin indulged in speculation about what might have been had the Plan of Union been adopted: “On reflection, it now seems possible, that, if the foregoing plan, or something like it, had been adopted and carried into execution, the subsequent separation of the colonies from the mother country might not so soon have happened, nor the mischiefs suffered on both sides have occurred, perhaps, during another century. For the colonies, if so united, would have really been, as they then thought themselves, sufficient to their own defense: and, being trusted with it, as by the plan, an army from Britain, for that purpose, would have been unnecessary. The pretences for framing the Stamp Act would then not have existed, nor the other projects for drawing a revenue from America to Britain by acts of Parliament, which were the cause of the breach, and attended with such terrible expense of blood and treasure: so that the different parts of the empire might still have remained in peace and union.”