Franklin Returns to Philadelphia
FRANKLIN RETURNED TO an America different from the one he had left nine years earlier but in some ways similar. After enormous difficulties, America had won its independence, but many prewar problems remained—class differences, disputes between the states, and economic dependence on a Britain that dominated American trade and still despised Americans, as shown by its refusal to evacuate Detroit and other frontier posts.1 Without an independent income, Congress was unable to enforce unity on the states. Without economic independence, American political independence was incomplete.
Franklin's revolutionary zeal had been based on a vision of an orderly, prosperous, expanding America. Once freed from the control of narrow-minded, selfish British officials and politicians, an independent America would be able to grow. Because new obstacles had arisen to prevent American independence and growth, Franklin needed a new approach. He did not blame America's problems on social injustice or economic inequality, as this would have required him to jettison a lifetime's view of America as a promised land. Instead he viewed America's problems as temporary ones caused by political instability. To restore order,