Turkey as a Better Symbol for America

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen 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 near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk [Osprey]; 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.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country...

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.


Benjamin Franklin argues that the turkey is a better mascot than the bald eagle, for it is a more noble bird. The behavior he describes in the eagle, which steals fish from osprey, has been confirmed independently from naturalists we have spoken to.

Folksonomies: naturalism patriotism symbolism turkey bald eagle

/pets/birds (0.640344)
/society/senior living (0.299734)
/science/biology/zoology/endangered species (0.204184)

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Bald Eagle:Organization (0.893957 (positive:0.258106)), Turkey:Country (0.484348 (positive:0.116975)), King Bird:GeographicFeature (0.287888 (negative:-0.632776)), Bird:Person (0.253086 (neutral:0.000000)), America:Continent (0.197644 (positive:0.646385)), Benjamin Franklin:Person (0.193172 (positive:0.258106)), Sharping:Company (0.190558 (neutral:0.000000)), British Guards:Organization (0.176963 (negative:-0.298613)), Cincinnati:City (0.173161 (positive:0.674984)), Representative:JobTitle (0.167968 (neutral:0.000000))

Bald Eagle (0.958447): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Bird (0.688071): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Eagle (0.630900): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Florida (0.549920): geo | website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Benjamin Franklin (0.531461): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Native Americans in the United States (0.515904): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Osprey (0.471721): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Great Seal of the United States (0.464510): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) to Sarah Bache (1743-1808), January 26, 1784
Personal Communications>Personal Letter:  Franklin, Benjamin (January 26, 1784 ), Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) to Sarah Bache (1743-1808), January 26, 1784, Retrieved on 2013-11-28
  • Source Material [www.loc.gov]
  • Folksonomies: symbolism turkey