Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History

Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history. It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world. Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history. ... Show More

Episodes

How do empires come to be? How are empires made and who makes them? What role do maps play in making empires?

Christian Koot is a Professor of History at Towson University and the author of A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrm... Read more

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September 10, 2019 58 min

Who gets to be a citizen of the United States? How does the United States define who belongs to the nation?

Early Americans asked and grappled with these questions during the earliest days of the early republic.

Martha S. Jones is a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University and a former public interest litigator. Using details from her book, Read more

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We read and hear a lot about money. We read and hear about fluctuations in the value of the Dollar, Pound, and Euro, interest rates and who can and can’t get access to credit, and we also read and hear about new virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra.

We talk a lot about money. But where did the idea of money come from?

Did early Americans think about money a lot too?

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What can a family history tell us about revolutionary and early republic America?

What can the letters of a wife and mother tell us about life in the Caribbean during the Age of Revolutions?

These are questions Susan Clair Imbarrato, a Professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead, set out to answer as she e... Read more

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Much of early American history comprises stories of empire and how different Native, European, and Euro-American nations vied for control of North American territory, resources, and people. 
 In this episode, Matthew P. Dziennick, an Assistant Professor of History at the United States Naval Academy and author The Fatal Land: War, Empire, and the Highland Soldier, presents us with one of these imperial stories. Specifically, we’r... Read more

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What did early Americans think about science? And how did they pursue and develop their knowledge of it?

Cameron Strang, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno and author of Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Kn... Read more

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August 6, 2019 6 min

2019 marks the 400th anniversary of two important events in American History: The creation of the first representative assembly in English North America and the arrival of the first African people in English North America. In this bonus episode, Cassandra Newby-Alexander helps us determine whether the English or Dutch brought the first African people to English North America and explore more about the lives of those first African ... Read more

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August 6, 2019 76 min

2019 marks the 400th anniversary of two important events in American History: The creation of the first representative assembly in English North America and the arrival of the first African people in English North America.

Why were these Virginia-based events significant and how have they impacted American history?

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Between 1789 and 1825, five men would serve as President of the United States. Four of them hailed from Virginia. Many of us know details about the lives and presidencies of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. But what do we know about the life and presidency of the fourth Virginia president, James Monroe? Sara Bon-Harper, Executive Director of James Monroe’s Highland, joins us to explore the public and private life of James Monroe... Read more

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Not all historians publish their findings about history in books and articles. Some historians convey knowledge about history to the public in public spaces and in public ways. We conclude the “Doing History: How Historians Work” series with a look at how historians do history for the public with guest historian Lonnie Bunch, the Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. This ep... Read more

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A “little short of madness.” That is how Thomas Jefferson responded when two delegates from New York approached him with the idea to build the Erie Canal in January 1809. Jefferson’s comment did not discourage New Yorkers. On January 4, 1817, New York State began building a 363-mile long canal to link the Hudson River and Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes and the Midwest. Janice Fontanella, site manager of Schoharie Crossing Stat... Read more

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Did Canada almost join the American Revolution? Bruno Paul Stenson, a historian and musicologist with the Château de Ramezay historic site in Montréal, joins us to discuss how the American Revolution played out in Canada. This episode originally posted as Episode 041. Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/246   Sponsor Links Omohundro Institute The Ben Franklin's World Shop   Complementary Episodes Episode 037: Kathleen ... Read more

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July 2, 2019 72 min

It wasn’t always fireworks on the fourth. John Adams predicted Americans would celebrate the Second of July, the day Congress voted in favor of independence, "with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other." He got the date wrong, but he was right about the festivities in commemoration of Independence Day. And yet July Fourth events have changed a great... Read more

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There’s a saying that tells us we should walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. It’s a reminder we should practice empathy and try to understand people before we cast judgement. As it happens, this expression is right on the mark because it seems when we use shoes as historical objects, we can learn a LOT about people and their everyday lives and actions. Kimberly Alexander, museum specialist, lecturer at the University of New Hampsh... Read more

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For the American Revolution to be successful, it needed ideas people could embrace and methods for spreading those ideas. It also needed ways for revolutionaries to coordinate across colonial lines. How did revolutionaries develop and spread their ideas? How did they communicate and coordinate plans of action? Joseph Adelman, an Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University and author of Revolutionary Networks: The ... Read more

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Delaware may be the second smallest state in the United States, but it has a BIG, rich history that can tell us much about the history of early America. David Young, the Executive Director of the Delaware Historical Society, joins us to explore the early American history of Delaware from its Native American inhabitants through its emergence as the first state in the United States. Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/242 ... Read more

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Spain became the first European power to use the peoples, resources, and lands of the Americas and Caribbean as the basis for its Atlantic Empire. How did this empire function and what wealth was Spain able to extract from these peoples and lands? Molly Warsh, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh and author of American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700, helps us investigate answers to ... Read more

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Have you ever had one of those really conversations where the person was so fascinating that you wished the conversation didn’t have to end? Flora Fraser joins us for one of those conversations. We’ll talk about biography, and in doing so, she’ll tell us what it was like to grow up as the daughter and granddaughter of two famed, British biographers and about the genre of biography and how it developed in the United Kingdom. Show No... Read more

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How did the postal system work in Early America? How did people send mail across the North American colonies and the British Empire? Joseph Adelman, an Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University and author of Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing, 1763-1789, joins us to further explore how the early American postal system worked and how people and mail traveled around early North America a... Read more

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Benedict Arnold is an intriguing figure. He was both a military hero who greatly impacted and furthered the American War for Independence with his bravery on the battlefield and someone who did something unthinkable: he betrayed his country. Stephen Brumwell, an award-winning historian and the author of Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty, joins us to explore the life and deeds of Benedict Arnold and Arnold... Read more

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