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A Companion to Benjamin Franklin

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9996-4
560 pages
August 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Benjamin Franklin (1405199962) cover image


This companion provides a comprehensive survey of the life, work and legacy of Benjamin Franklin - the oldest, most distinctive, and multifaceted of the founders.

  • Includes contributions from across a range of academic disciplines
  • Combines traditional and cutting-edge scholarship, from accomplished and emerging experts in the field
  • Pays special attention to the American Revolution, the Enlightenment, journalism, colonial American society, and themes of race, class, and gender
  • Places Franklin in the context of recent work in political theory, American Studies, American literature, material culture studies, popular culture, and international relations
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Table of Contents

List of Figures x

About the Contributors xi

Introduction 1
David Waldstreicher

Part I Biography 5

1 Franklin’s Boston Years, 1706–1723 7
Nian-Sheng Huang

2 The Philadelphia Years, 1723–1757 25
George W. Boudreau

3 The Making of a Patriot, 1757–1775 46
Sheila L. Skemp

4 Franklin Furioso, 1775–1790 65
Jonathan R. Dull

Part II Franklin and Eighteenth-Century America 81

5 Benjamin Franklin and Colonial Society 83
Konstantin Dierks

6 Benjamin Franklin and Pennsylvania Politics 104
Alan Tully

7 Benjamin Franklin and Religion 129
John Fea

8 Benjamin Franklin and the Coming of the American Revolution 146
Benjamin L. Carp

9 Benjamin Franklin and Native Americans 164
Timothy J. Shannon

10 The Complexion of My Country: Benjamin Franklin and the Problem of Racial Diversity 183
Nicholas Guyatt

11 Benjamin Franklin, Capitalism, and Slavery 211
David Waldstreicher

12 Benjamin Franklin and Women 237
Susan E. Klepp

Part III Franklin the Writer and Thinker 253

13 “The Manners and Situation of a Rising People”: Reading Franklin’s Autobiography 255
Ormond Seavey

14 Poor Richard’s Almanac 275
William Pencak

15 Benjamin Franklin and Journalism 290
David Paul Nord

16 Benjamin Franklin, the Science of Flow, and the Legacy of the Enlightenment 308
Laura Rigal

17 Benjamin Franklin, Associations, and Civil Society 335
Albrecht Koschnik

18 Empire and Nation 359
Eliga H. Gould

19 Franklin’s Pictorial Representations of British America 373
Lester C. Olson

Part IV Franklin and the Categories of Inquiry 391

20 American Literature and American Studies 393
Edward Cahill

21 Benjamin Franklin’s Material Cultures 412
Megan E. Walsh

22 Benjamin Franklin and Political Theory 430
Jerry Weinberger

23 Benjamin Franklin and International Relations 463
Leonard J. Sadosky

24 Benjamin Franklin in Memory and Popular Culture 479
Andrew M. Schocket

Bibliography 499

Index 536

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Author Information

David Waldstreicher is Professor of History at Temple University. He is the author of numerous publications including Slavery's Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009); Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution (2004); and In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (1997).
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“Readers will also appreciate the text’s comprehensive bibliography.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  General readers, upper-division undergraduates, researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 April 2012)

“A wonderful addition to the field of eighteenth-century studies, making available in a single volume the latest scholarship on this important figure.” – Kate Mearns Ohno, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Yale University

“This wide-ranging collection of essays enhances our understanding of the endlessly fascinating runaway, printer, scientist, imperial servant, and revolutionary Benjamin Franklin, and illuminates his significance in American history and culture.” – Simon P. Newman, Sir Denis Brogan Professor of American History, University of Glasgow

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