He was very opposed to colonialism. That was a bad word. He believed that any nation or "empire" that had territories should treat all inhabitants, in the far-flung territories as well as near the center, as equal citizens with equal democratic and legislative and governing rights. In other words, he was against "colonialism" but he never used "empire" in a pejorative manner.
Dick Cheney may be fully aware of what Franklin meant when he uttered the word "empire," but even so it can't have escaped his notice that the word's contemporary meaning is much more provocative.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.