George Goodwin delivers the 2017 Benjamin Franklin House Annual Symposium, exploring Franklin’s life in London and his changing political allegiances
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States, was for the best part of two decades, the most celebrated American in London. His groundbreaking electrical experiments had won him the 18th century equivalent of the Nobel Prize and a Royal Society Fellowship. He was famous throughout Europe with Immanuel Kant describing him as 'The Prometheus of Modern Times' and his friend David Hume describing him as 'America’s First Great Man of Letters'.
Franklin was also an American colonial representative and practical politician with access to the greatest in the land. He understood the extraordinary potential of North America and he wanted it for Britain, once writing 'I see the colonies as so many counties gained to Great Britain.' He sought a solution to the Anglo-colonial dispute to the very moment that the actions of Britain’s 'mangling ministers' forced him to flee and to become, only then, one of the fiercest of American patriots.
'George Goodwin captures as well as any recent biographer just why Franklin’s contemporaries found him so captivating.' – TLS
'A Fascinating perspective.' – Wall Street Journal
George Goodwin FRHistS FRSA is a 2017 Eccles Centre Makin Fellow at the British Library and Author in Residence at Benjamin Franklin House in London. He is also a 2017 International Fellow at the Robert H Smith International Centre for Jefferson Studies, Monticello. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, UK; Yale University Press, USA), which is his third book.
Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, in collaboration with Benjamin Franklin House
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