On this day in 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter saying
that he was not pleased about the choice of Bald Eagle as the symbol of
America. He wished it had not been chosen as a 'representative of our
country' because, he said, it is a 'Bird of bad moral Character.' Franklin
wrote about the eagle: 'Like those among Men who live by Sharping and
Robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy.'
There was a different fowl that Franklin championed as a true representative
of the budding United States: 'The Turkey', he wrote 227 years ago today,
'is a much more respectable bird, and...a true original Native of America.'
From the Writer's Almanac for January 26, 2011