Benjamin Franklin in Early American Immigration
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the most celebrated of America's Founding Fathers, a man who enjoyed success as an inventor, scientist, printer, politician, and diplomat. He helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
In 1753, Franklin wrote about heavy German immigration into his home colony of Pennsylvania. His basic concerns about the consequences of that immigration for the English language and Anglo-American society have been echoed many times since in American history: "Few of their Children in the Country learn English," Franklin wrote. "They import many Books from Germany... The Signs in our Streets have Inscriptions in both Languages, and in some places only German... In short, unless the Stream of their Importation could be turned... they will soon so outnumber us, that all the advantages we have, will not in my Opinion be able to preserve our Language, and even our Government will become precarious."