Benjamin Franklin, Politician

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
A distinguished historian of early America sees Franklin's influence on the course of the revolutionary movement in a new light. Benjamin Franklin was a man of genius and enormous ego, smart enough not to flaunt his superiority but to let others proclaim it. To understand him and his role in great events, one must realize the omnipresence of this ego, and the extent to which he mirrored the feelings of other colonial Pennsylvanians. With this in mind, Francis Jennings sets forth some new ideas about Franklin as the "first American." In so doing, he provides a new view of the beginnings of the American Revolution in Franklin's struggle against William Penn. By striving against Penn's feudal lordship (and therefore against King George) Franklin became master of the Pennsylvania assembly. It was in this role that he suggested a meeting of the Continental Congress which, as Jennings notes, flies in the face of historical opinion which suggests that Boston patriots had to drag Pennsylvanians into the revolution. Franklin's autobiography omits discussion of his heroic struggle against Penn and, in so doing, robs history of his true role in the making of the new country. It is through an accurate accounting of what Franklin did, not what he said he did in his autobiography (which Jennings likens to a campaign speech), that we understand the author's use of the term "first American."
 

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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, POLITICIAN: The Mask and the Man

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A revisionist look at Franklin, focusing on his long struggle against the power of the Penn family and his evolution into one of the nation's first revolutionaries. Jennings (Empire of Fortune, 1988 ... Read full review

Benjamin Franklin, politician

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Jennings (The Invasion of America, 1976), the director emeritus of the Newberry Library's Center for the History of the American Indian, has written a short account of Benjamin Franklin's pre ... Read full review

Contents

A Personal Preface
10
Soldier
135
Royalist
149
Rebound
168
Spokesman
191
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Francis Jennings is former director of the Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian.

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