Benjamin Franklin's Junto

Content Index: PC67

By Scott Nesler

Benjamin Franklin's is measured as one of the greatest American forefathers. His contribution to the countries independence, development of its system of government, and respect as a uniter of intelligent minds is admirable. Many would claim that Benjamin Franklin was the greatest American entrepreneur and inventor. In his autobiography he describes a group which could be credited for developing his ideas and contributing to his success.

I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year, [1727] I had form'd most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss'd by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.

Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.

Concepts of the Junto

  • Benjamin Franklin formed a group he named the Junto in his early twenties.

  • Members of Franklin's Junto were diversified in experience and vocation.

  • The group met every Friday evening over a pint of beer and dinner. It was a the Indian Head Tavern where the Junto first met until the group relocated to Scull's Bear Tavern in 1728.-- Penn State Live.

  • Each week the group would rotate members for presenting a topic of his choice. This topic could be of political, religious, entrepreneurship, science, mathematical or any other subject of common interest. Each member had 12 weeks to refine their idea before presenting to the group for intellectual refinement.

  • The goal of the group was to refine arguments with measures of respect and mutual understanding. Small penalties were put in place to insure respect for the argument.

  • The following link describes how to establish a Franklin Junto. Click here.

 



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We shall never be understood or respected by the English until we carry our individuality to extremes, and by asserting our independence, become of sufficient consequence in their eyes to merit a closer study than they have hitherto accorded us. Henry Lawson

 

 

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