How did Benjamin Franklin's Junto help bring together colonists of different religious and political backgrounds?
The Junto was intended to be a club where young men could meet to discuss a wide array of matters, mostly philosophical in nature. The members of the Junto, according to Franklin, were intended to be from a broad cross-section of society, from Pennsylvania's governing elite to artisans. In fact, artisans in various trades were the core of the original Junto, which included printers like Franklin himself as well as other trades such as cabinetmakers. It also included several Quaker merchants, as well as Anglicans, which reflects Franklin's commitment to religious tolerance, as well as the diverse nature of Philadelphia religious society. It was a book club, a debate society, a benevolent order, and, to some extent, a gossip circle. While its membership remained fairly small, and most of its early members rose from the artisan class to become quite wealthy (like Franklin himself,) it would have an enduring legacy in that it served as the foundation for the American Philosophical Society.