'Sensitive, moving and finely textured' Guardian 'Fantastic' Dan Snow For the great majority of his long life, Benjamin Franklin was a loyal British royalist. In 1757, having made his fortune in Philadelphia and established his fame as a renowned experimental scientist, he crossed the Atlantic to live as a gentleman in the heaving metropolis of London. With just a brief interlude, a house in Craven Street was to be his home until 1775. From there he mixed with both the brilliant and the powerful, whether in London coffee house clubs, at the Royal Society, or on his summer travels around the British Isles and continental Europe. He counted David Hume, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley, Edmund Burke and Erasmus Darwin among his friends, and as an American colonial representative he had access to successive Prime Ministers and even the King. The early 1760s saw Britain's elevation to global superpower status with victory in the Seven Years War and the succession of the young, active George III. These two events brought a sharp new edge to political competition in London and redefined the relationship between Britain and its colonies. Though Franklin long sought to prevent the break with Great Britain, his own actions would finally help cause that very event. On the eve of the American War of Independence, Franklin fled arrest and escaped by sea. He would never return to London. With his unique focus on the fullness of Benjamin Franklin's life in London, George Goodwin has created an enthralling portrait of the man, the city and the age.
Benjamin Franklin was born in extraordinary times. The people of the thirteen colonies were considering rebelling against their English masters, and each person would be forced to choose where they would stand on the issue of independence. The young nation would need brave men and women to stand up to tyranny and take the lead, helping others on the path to liberty and freedom. You may know Franklin’s name, but perhaps you've wondered, "What's so great about him?" This book (part of the “What’s So Great About…”) series, gives kids insight into life, times and career of Benjamin Franklin.
Thirty carefully researched scenes introduce youngsters to the intelligent and generous man who played many important roles in American history. Includes illustrations of Benjamin Franklin during the American Revolution, as a statesman, inventor, commissioner to France, and more. Captions.
An Informal History of Pouring Oil on Water with Reflections on the Ups and Downs of Scientific Life in General
Author: Charles Tanford
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
When Benjamin Franklin, the 18th-century American statesman and scientist, watched the calming effect of a drop of oil on the waves and ripples of a London pond, he was observing what Pliny the Elder and generations of seafarers had done before him. Franklin, though, was the first to wonder exactly what was happening to the oil, and to investigate this strange phenomenon.Following Franklin's lead, a motley crowd of scientists over the next two centuries and more chose to investigate the nature of atoms and molecules through the interaction of fluid membranes. They included Lord Rayleigh, an altruistic English Lord, Agnes Pockels, who conducted experiments in her kitchen and became one of the earliest women to make lasting contributions to science, the renowned Dutch pediatrician Evert Gorter, and Irving Langmuir, one of America's greatest industrialscientists. Building on Franklin's original experiments, their work has culminated in the discovery of the structure of cell membranes, research that continues to bear fruit today.Ben Franklin Stilled the Waves is far more than the story of oil on water; it is a voyage into the very nature of science and its place in our history.
The tenth and youngest son of a poor Boston soapmaker, Benjamin Franklin would rise to become, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "the greatest man and ornament of his age." In this short, engaging biography, historian Edwin S. Gaustad offers a marvelous portrait of this towering colonial figure, illuminating Franklin's character and personality. Here is truly one of the most extraordinary lives imaginable, a man who, with only two years of formal education, became a printer, publisher, postmaster, philosopher, world-class scientist and inventor, statesman, musician, and abolitionist. Gaustad presents a chronological account of all these accomplishments, delightfully spiced with quotations from Franklin's own extensive writings. The book describes how the hardworking Franklin became at age 24 the most successful printer in Pennsylvania and how by 42, with the help of Poor Richard's Almanack, he had amassed enough wealth to retire from business. We then follow Franklin's next brilliant career, as an inventor and scientist, examining his pioneering work on electricity and his inventions of the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod, and bifocals, as well as his mapping of the Gulf Stream, a major contribution to navigation. Lastly, the book covers Franklin's role as America's leading statesman, ranging from his years in England before the Revolutionary War to his time in France thereafter, highlighting his many contributions to the cause of liberty. Along the way, Gaustad sheds light on Franklin's personal life, including his troubled relationship with his illegitimate son William, who remained a Loyalist during the Revolution, and Franklin's thoughts on such topics as religion and morality. Written by a leading authority on colonial America, this compact biography captures in a remarkably small space one of the most protean lives in our nation's history.
Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World
Author: Mary Beth Norton
Publisher: Cornell University Press
In Separated by Their Sex, Mary Beth Norton offers a bold genealogy that shows how gender came to determine the right of access to the Anglo-American public sphere by the middle of the eighteenth century. Earlier, high-status men and women alike had been recognized as appropriate political actors, as exemplified during and after Bacon's Rebellion by the actions of-and reactions to-Lady Frances Berkeley, wife of Virginia's governor. By contrast, when the first ordinary English women to claim a political voice directed group petitions to Parliament during the Civil War of the 1640s, men relentlessly criticized and parodied their efforts. Even so, as late as 1690 Anglo-American women's political interests and opinions were publicly acknowledged. Norton traces the profound shift in attitudes toward women's participation in public affairs to the age's cultural arbiters, including John Dunton, editor of the Athenian Mercury, a popular 1690s periodical that promoted women's links to husband, family, and household. Fittingly, Dunton was the first author known to apply the word "private" to women and their domestic lives. Subsequently, the immensely influential authors Richard Steele and Joseph Addison (in the Tatler and the Spectator) advanced the notion that women's participation in politics-even in political dialogues-was absurd. They and many imitators on both sides of the Atlantic argued that women should confine themselves to home and family, a position that American women themselves had adopted by the 1760s. Colonial women incorporated the novel ideas into their self-conceptions; during such "private" activities as sitting around a table drinking tea, they worked to define their own lives. On the cusp of the American Revolution, Norton concludes, a newly gendered public-private division was firmly in place.