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Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement$
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Alan Houston

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300124477

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300124477.001.0001

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. Association

. Association

(p.60) 2. Association
Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement

Alan Houston

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Benjamin Franklin's thought on association of men and organizations in America. The Association is a striking illustration of the capacity of voluntary organizations to address unmet needs. Franklin gutted the concept of the body politic of these traditional meanings and stuffed it with new ideas. Unity was a function of interdependence, not hierarchy, and did not require that the hand command the foot, or the hand defer to the heart. It called for each part to acknowledge its dependence on the others. Franklin's appeal to the middling People rested on their needs. The body politic was a commercial society, its bonding force the mutual satisfaction of needs and interests. Society emerges from the practice of exchanging either goods or services, and the relationships of one man to another were those of buyer to seller.

Keywords:   Benjamin Franklin, association, body politic, commmercial society, buyer, seller

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