In 1782, when the Second Continental Congress was considering the bald eagle as the symbol of the newly formed United States, Benjamin Franklin was not very supportive of the idea. He wrote to his daughter of his disapproval of the choice because the bald eagle had a "bad moral character." He believed that the eagle was lazy because it stole food from hawks. He also felt it was easily frightened by smaller birds [source: Franklin Institute]. Instead, Franklin wanted the turkey to be the fledgling nation's symbol. While he thought the turkey was slightly "vain and silly," he believed that the turkey displayed its courage by hunting for its own food.
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