Tag: Benjamin Franklin

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Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership

Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership by Edward J. Larson (New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2020) George Washington and Early Republic scholar Edward J. Larson (author of The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789 and A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign) has produced a new work focusing on […]

by Timothy Symington
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Opposing the Franco-American Alliance: The Case of Anne-Robert Jacques Turgot

The participation of the French on the side of the newly declared independent American colonies is widely acknowledged as the factor that tipped the balance in the American Revolution and ultimately led to the defeat of the British. This alliance, actually two alliances—one of commerce and one of military cooperation—was concluded in early 1778, but […]

by Richard J. Werther
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Information Operations: The Provincial Congress Shapes the Narrative in Great Britain

The efforts of the American Provincial Congress at the beginning of the revolutionary war against Great Britain offer the perfect case study to understand how best to utilize information against an enemy during conflict. After the initial skirmishes at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the Provincial Congress sought to influence Great Britain’s political […]

by Patrick Naughton
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Tapping America’s Wealth to Fund the Revolution: Two Good Ideas that Went Awry

“Unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place,” Gen. George Washington wrote from Valley Forge on December 23, 1777,[1] to Henry Laurens, the recently-appointed president of the Continental Congress, “the Army must inevitably be reduced to one or the other of these three things. Starve—dissolve—or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence.” A week later, […]

by Tom Shachtman
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Impeachment: The Framers Debate and Discuss

Author’s Note: Selections from all resolutions and working drafts are italicized. Most of what we know about the framers’ discussions comes from James Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787; material from Madison’s notes is identified by quotation marks or indented block quotes. The best print source, annotated by Adrienne Koch and […]

by Ray Raphael
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How Magna Carta Influenced the American Revolution

In 1984, Ross Perot purchased a copy of the 1297 reissuance of the Magna Carta from the Brudenell family who had held the document for centuries. In 1988, it became a permanent fixture of the National Archives Museum where it stayed in the rotunda along with the American charters of freedom for several years. Nearly […]

by Jason Yonce
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The Declaration of Independence: Did John Hancock Really Say That about his Signature?—and Other Signing Stories

When we picture the Declaration of Independence, most of us immediately think of the document handwritten on parchment and signed at the bottom by fifty-six members of the Second Continental Congress. Few individuals from the first two generations of Americans shared that view, however. The vast majority of those citizens never saw the Congress’s document, […]

by J. L. Bell
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Josiah Quincy, Jr.

Josiah Quincy, Jr.’s name is rarely mentioned in history books. This is because his name never appeared at the top of any leaderboard, that is, he was not a member of the Continental Congress, a military hero, a leader of a movement or group, or an author of an influential work, and because he died […]

by Bob Ruppert
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George Washington Dealmaker-in-Chief

George Washington Dealmaker-In-Chief: The Story of How the Father of Our Country Unleashed the Entrepreneurial Spirit in America by Cyrus A. Ansary (Lambert Publications, LLC, 2019) Few writers on George Washington have examined his economic vision for the new American nation. Cyrus A. Ansary sets out to do just that. He argues that Washington, as […]

by Benjamin Huggins
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How Robert Morris’s “Magick” Money Saved the American Revolution

The year 1780 ended badly, and the new year boded worse for America’s War of Independence. Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s treason and defection to the British army had left Gen. George Washington’s officer corps in disarray, demoralized. Officers of all ranks eyed each other suspiciously, questioning each other’s decisions, while distrust of officers provoked mutinies […]

by Harlow Giles Unger
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The Dark and Heroic Histories of Georgia’s Signers

Revolutions are complex multi-sided economic, political, social, and technological events. They begin as conservative movements. As each side fears losing, all of these different interests radicalize but when the struggle is over, as historian Robert Calhoon points out, each side will adopt constructive compromise to find a way to govern together.[1] In the American Revolution […]

by Robert Scott Davis
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The Earl of Dartmouth: Secretary of State for the Colonies, Third Year: August 1774–November 1775

While the Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colonies, was on holiday in the summer of 1774, his office continued to receive and send communications concerning the political divergence with the American colonies. The general issues were the Quebec Act, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, the Non-Importation Agreement, […]

by Bob Ruppert
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Who Picked the Committees at the Constitutional Convention?

Through four months in the summer of 1787, passionate arguments over political principles filled the Pennsylvania State House while hard-nosed political horse-trading buzzed in the taverns and drawing rooms of Philadelphia. Fifty-five American politicians were writing a new charter of government for the United States, the Constitution. They produced the longest-surviving constitutional republic in human […]

by David O. Stewart
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JOIN, OR DIE: Political and Religious Controversy Over Franklin’s Snake Cartoon

On May 9, 1751, Benjamin Franklin published a satirical article in the Pennsylvania Gazette commenting on British laws that allowed convicted felons to be shipped to the American colonies. As an equal trade, Franklin wryly suggested that the colonists should send rattlesnakes to Great Britain and carefully distribute them among “Places of Pleasure.”[1] Although these […]

by Daniel P. Stone