The Louisiana Junto is a group fashioned after Benjamin Franklin's Junto established in 1727 in Philadelphia.  The Philadelphia Junto is credited with having given birth to a variety of great American institutions including:

  • The first US lending library
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • The first American Fire Department
  • The American Philosophical Society
The Junto was a club for mutual improvement Also known as the Leather Apron Club, the Junto's purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.
The Louisiana Junto is intended to be a group that pursues the same goals of civic improvement, civil debate and individual improvement.
Like Franklin's Junto, the Louisiana Junto wishes to avoid bitter argument, impassioned oratory and appeals to emotion over reason. As Franklin said, discussions and actions are

   "...be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction,..." (Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography)

Please note that in 1727 parlance Benjamin Franklin was referring to heated discussions when he said to 'prevent expressions of warmth'.
When he spoke of discouraging 'all expressions of positiveness' he was speaking of discouraging the close mindedness that often follows the tendency to state one's opinions as positively correct. Franklin often wrote that expressing opinions as being necessarily true was foolish and the cause of many a man or woman refusing to listen to reason for fear of being wrong.
In Franklin's autobiography he wrote:

"I made it a rule to forebear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others , and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion such as certainty, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so: or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly and of showing  immediately some absurdity in his proposition;and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction: I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed  with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right." (Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography)

 If you have participated in online debate with friends or strangers you may have experienced the urge to not be wrong at any cost because of fear of having you entire premise appear invalid because of a single incorrect assertion or conclusion. Because of this urge many a discussion becomes a bitter butting of heads instead of a rational meeting of minds.
The Junto meetings were conducted around a set of 24 questions which led members in constructive and positive directions. Junto meetings, online or in person, will be conducted in the same manner.

The primary method used by the original Junto members to discuss matters was Socratic Questioning aka Socratic reasoning. Potential Junto members will be required to demonstrate a knowledge of the Socratic Method before being granted full membership. Online sources and sample Socratic scenarios will be made available.

Franklin's Junto was composed of people from all walks of colonial life. Tradesmen such as carpenters and printers predominated but there were minister, lawyers, clerks and a variety of different members over the years. Membership was based first and foremost upon being able to correctly answer the FOUR QUESTIONS.





The Louisiana Junto membership requirements will start with the same four questions which are as applicable today as they were in 1727. The Louisiana Junto welcomes membership from all walks of life, from all races and genders. All potential members will have to avow the same correct answers to the same four questions asked of Franklin's Junto. Additionally all members will have to eventually learn the Socratic Method, demonstrate their mastery of the method and agree to and abide by a strict code of membership conduct.
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