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Comments

Hattie

I love this!
You're also making a subtle point here: that racism has an economic element.

littleandy

I don't get it. The Swedes, a swarthy complexion? Don't they have the brightest skin in Europe?
"as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English"
Does the "who" refer to the Germans or the Saxons? And since when do Saxons have lighter or darker skin then the rest of the Germans?

David

At least he didn't disparage the "Red" Native Americans.

antonymous

The redskins were just not worth mentioning, David.

As much as US-Americans hate Benjamin Franklin because of that 'giving up freedom for security" quote,I think this eulogy for the white race should definitely restore some some of his respect from the Anglos..

Greg

Southern Germans often have southern European features of dark hair, eyes and perhaps a, well, suntan. In any case, they always look like foreigners to me (I'm not from Germany, but I live here, or there depending how you see it) and I've a few lectures from southern Germans about the myths of blond hair, blue eyes and no suntans.Since a lot of German immigrants came from the south, maybe Ben just simply didn't have blood in his eye about them "forners".

whocares

The English started all this nonsense about who is the Whitest among all of Europe. Actually, they go so far as to say they are not European. Actually, they are a mixed people from both north and south europe- the DNA evidence proves this. And yes, all of europe is white you racist jerk!

Navillan

Yes. It is true actually. The majority of the british are a mix of southern and northern europeans. At least 3/4 of the britons are descendants of the basques. (Google basque people if you dont know who they are).

Peter

"and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion"

Yeah... cant be much more white, blonde and blue eyed than a swede.

Alot of countries between Sweden and the rest he mentions. We take all the southern countries and the one furthest to the north... that makes sense Ben.

Charlie

You can't judge Ben Franklin based off of our current moral code as a society. He did a lot of good things. He was wrong about what he said, but I'm sure he would have had German mistresses too! Keep in mind he learned a lot of things on his own, we're pretty lucky about all we learned from the civil war and civil rights. We have much more information at our fingertips. Don't judge him for this.

Ike Iszany


Franklin was so right. That's why we have to be careful about Mexicans and Muslims. They'll take over. Just like the Germans did! I mean Pennsylvania is like a German colony. They speak only German there. They're all Lutherans. They're all Nazis.Can't believe they let that happen in America.

Anthony Platt

Strange article... "swarthy Germans"? Anyway, it turns out that the Germans assimilated fairly well, the insults against them were also few and far between, and lesser than virtually any group that immigrated to America. The Germans it turns out are quite easy to get along with, were willing to adopt the local culture, and did just fine, despite Franklin's claims, in intellectual and economic senses.

DC

This complexion thing seemingly all disappears against the backdrop of African Americans!

We Afro s are and will be the socio/economic fulcrum by which other cultures(especially Xenophobe Europeans)compare their cultural self esteem.

Workstops4

Do you realize how rediculous this article is?

First of all I'd like to start by saying I am Scottish. There seem to be many Scottish people including myself who are "swarthy" as you say. Look at Scottish movie stars Gerard Butler and Robert Carlyle. Look at Irish actor Collin Ferrell and whoever the other guys name is. I do not live in Scotland I live in Canada and I find it rediculous how many times people think I am some more southern european.

It just shows how uneducated and unwordly north americans are. So by the proof have I have shown, does this mean that only English people are pure whites?

A lot of Scottish and Irish and pale as anything. But what has to be remembered is that we are people with very diverse features, hair colours, eye colours, skin colours. Exactly as someone stated above we are mixed and likely of basque decent.

All NON English countries in the British Isles are of mixed decent.
While the ENGLISH ARE ANGLO SAXONS. The English people took all of our Gaelic languages away and now we are pretty much considered english. But I guess I just proved that we are truely not the same.

SAXON MEANING GERMAN

Therefore Ben Franklin was incredibly misinformed.

Thanks.

asdzxc

This guy was a total moron.

The English population are descended from different germanic tribes... In other words he was likely of German/Swedish descent himself.

60 Geburtstag

Sehr interessant und informativen Artikel zu lesen ....

tweedledee

Interesting that after his racist rant, Franklin notes that he's just biased, like anyone would be, toward his own race. It's a huge step in progressive thinking.

To workstop4 and others: uh, yeah, we get that Franklin was misinformed, that's the point of the article.

Bill

My Dad's people had originally come from the 19th century Rhine-Neckar region of southwest Germany, like most German immigrants to America did in FRanklin's time. My Dad was blue eyed, but had blackish brown hair, and a deep ruddy complexion. I imagine many of those "swarthy Germans" old Ben wrote about looked a great deal like my Dad.

Tiglath Pileser III

"All NON English countries in the British Isles are of mixed decent."

News flash: the English are of mixed ancestry, as well. DNA tests show conclusively the aboriginal inhabitants of England came from Iberia. Let's not also forget the Jewish strain in English blood (thanks to Oliver Cromwell). Finally, thanks to centuries of British imperialism there is a decided Indian taint in English blood. If you don't believe that last one, google information on the blood disease Hemoglobin D. Even the late Princess Diana admitted she had Indian ancestry.

Bev

I am reading an historical fiction novel about a German immigrant family moving to America which alluded to Franklin "hating" Germans. It was surprising news to me and subsequent follow up led me to this article. My awe of BF has diminished a bit. Also, as a Pennsylvania German, I feel anger about the prejudices of BF and some of the commenters. Hopefully this lesson will make me even more tolerant.

Devin

This is an a-historical lambast designed to make the author look good. My memory of this -- I am not the one who published an article -- is that he said things like this in relative youth and gave it up as he matured and became one of the most tolerant people on earth.

I suggest some of you actually learn something before you attack one of our country's and the world's great men -- who served his country brilliantly and faithfully, advanced science, and died universally revered.

This must be the left-wing tea party. If someone says it in a blog we like, it most represent all wisdom.

If I am wrong I apologize but I am only attacking some show-boat with a blog.

AlterXXX

Guessing back in the 1700s there wasn't any air conditioning and a lot of the newly arrived immigrants worked outdoors. Swedes and Germans were probably in the mix of the ones taking the low paying wages and out n the sun a lot.... There is a reason we call most of the descendants of the Scot Irish rednecks....truth is white man is more like a chameleon ... Environment dictates his color...

Meatwad

Who said "we hate him for his freedom or security" remarks? They are very profound and true. You do not get more freedom as you tighten security.

Seems a biased commentator that is in the security show biz.

Tren

Benjamin Franklin as any person spreading racism said nonsense and fool theories without facts. Just reacting by fear then having weird thoughts.

If the world is so mixed, why exist racism (Especially when is convenient)? European countries who colonized and conquered new territories have mixed at pleasure. Germans owned the actual Venezuela then sold it to Spain but immigrants stay there and mixed. After the independence of American continent more Europeans came to different countries, even today.

There are Germans communities in my country and most of them are blond, blue-eyed. And I knew some have married and had children with people of here. They can speak Spanish some with German accent others without.

The reason of this words is to say seems like USA is the nest of racism not only today even in the past.

Oh, I remember some American in a forum saying "Looks like Europeans have a different definition of white that we have here in US". His comment was at cause of a blond girl with what they could swarthy white and European comments said she's white.

John Smith

"Germans represent the largest group of immigrants to America, outnumbering the English and Irish by a wide margin. Nearly 20% of Americans can trace their ancestors back to Germany."

There are more Americans of English descent than either German or Irish. The total number has been estimated to be at least 80,000,000.

David

From the US Census Bureau: "Americans of German ancestry comprise about 50 million people,[1] making them the largest ancestry group ahead of Irish Americans, African Americans and English Americans."

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