Bald Eagle Versus the Turkey

A bald eagle sits on a perch in front of an American Flag. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The majestic bald eagle—the symbol of the United States—has a reputation for being a noble bird that represents strength and might. In Europe, it is associated with royalty, and depictions of the formidable bird of prey adorned the military shields of powerful generals. Despite all this, however, Benjamin Franklin lobbied for the humble turkey to be used in the official seal of the United States instead of the eagle. Franklin, it seemed, saw through the façade of the eagle and believed the bird to be lacking in moral character. Let's look at Benjamin Franklin's failed attempt to name the turkey at the symbol of the newly founded nation.