Not Your Usual Founding Father: Selected Readings from Benjamin Franklin

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Yale University Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 303 pages
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This engaging book reveals Benjamin Franklin's human side--his tastes and habits, his enthusiasms, and his devotion to democracy and the people of the United States. Three hundred years after his birth, we may remember Franklin's famous Autobiography, or his status as framer of the Declaration of Independence and the peace with Great Britain, or his experiments in electricity, or perhaps his sage advice on diligence and thrift. But historian Edmund S. Morgan invites us to meet the man himself, a sociable, good-natured, and extraordinary human being with boundless curiosity about the natural world and a vision of what America could be.

Drawing on lifelong research in the vast Franklin archives, Morgan assembles both famous and lesser-known writings that offer insights into this founding father's thinking. The book is organized around four major themes, each with an introduction. The first section includes journal excerpts and letters revealing Franklin's personal tastes and habits. The second is devoted to Franklin's inexhaustible intellectual energy and his scientific discoveries. The third and fourth chronicle his devotion to serving the people who became the United States both before and after the Revolution and to advancing his democratic vision of their future. Franklin's humanity and genius have never seemed more real than in the pages of this appealing anthology.
 

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Not your usual founding father: selected readings from Benjamin Franklin

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Morgan (history, emeritus, Yale;Benjamin Franklin ), the author of a long shelf of books on Colonial and revolutionary America, is not your usual academic historian. Similarly, this book is not your ... Read full review

Contents

The Young Man and the Old Man
5
Friendship and Flirtation
25
The Uses of Laughter
45
Religion
58
Nature Observed
67
Ships and the Sea
96
Electric Fire
112
Geology and Cosmology
132
Join or Die
170
The Vision Challenged
185
The Empire at Risk
199
War Peace and Humanity
219
Poor Richards Diplomacy
232
A Huckstered Peace
242
America
271
Chronology
289

A Continental Vision
141
Ethnic Pride and Prejudice
158

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About the author (2007)

Edmund S. Morgan, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University, was recently honored with a special citation from the Pulitzer board for what Pulitzer officials described as "his creative and deeply influential body of work as an American historian that spans the last half century.

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