Did Benjamin Franklin really want the turkey to be the US national bird?


There’s a story that Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey should be the national bird instead of the eagle. In a 1784 letter addressed to Sarah, his daughter, Franklin wrote:

“For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. . . . the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.” 



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