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The Albany Plan of Union proposed by Benjamin Franklin was not an original plan. In fact, there was another plan. William Penn proposed this plan before the London Board of Trade in 1697.

 

Penn had devised this plan because he was concerned about the English possessions in America and the uneasy peace following King William's War. This plan was one of the earliest known proposals for a unified government in the Colonies.

This plan had seven main points that, influenced Franklin's Albany Plan and, became incorporated into the United States Constitution in 1789.

These points were:
1.That two persons of substance from each Colony would make up a Congress of this Union.

2.The King's Commissioner, for that purpose specially appointed, shall have the chair and preside in the Congress.

3.This Congress would meet in the Colony of New York, as it was the central Colony geographically, thus making it easier for the representatives to attend.

4.New York's Governor would serve as the King's High Commissioner during the session, after the manner of Scotland.

5. All of the Colonies would meet once a year, more often in times of war, to debate and resolve such measures for their better understanding and the public tranquility and safety.

6.The business of this Congress would be to hear and resolve issues of contention between the Colonies.

  • People who left one Colony for another for the sole purpose of avoiding paying their debts, despite the fact they could pay up.
  • People who left a Colony to avoid jail or fines. This was an extradition of criminals.
  • Economic trade disputes between the Colonies.
  • Finally, they would decide on issues of common defense against the enemies of the Colonies. They would set quotas on how many men from each Colony would serve in the military.

7.That in time of war, the King's High Commissioner would serve as the Commander in Chief of the combined forces of the several Colonies

Reference

William Penn: Plan of Union for the English Colonies in America,
The Annals of America, Volume 1, pp. 308-309. Copyright 1976 by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Chicago Ill. USA.

Penn's Plan of Union
You can view William Penn's plan at the From Revolution to Reconstruction Project Web site.

The Albany Plan
You can view Franklin's plan of Union and compare his with Penn's Plan.

The Constitution of The United States
Examine the articles of the Constitution and you will notice the influence of the Penn and Franklin plans.

The Articles of Confederation
Take a look at the first Constitution and you will also note that the ideas of the Penn plan were also incorporated.

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