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.
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