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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.
 
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show series
 
The first Jewish colonists in North America arrived in 1654. From that moment, Jews worked to build and contribute to early American society and the birth of the United States. Gemma Birnbaum and Melanie Meyers, the Executive Director and Director of Collections and Engagement at the American Jewish Historical Society, join us to explore the histor…
 
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. This purchase included the important port city of New Orleans. But the United States did not just acquire the city’s land, peoples, and wealth– the American government also inherited the city’s Yellow Fever problem. Kathryn Olivarius, an Assistant Professor of History at Stan…
 
What has enabled the American experiment in democracy to endure for nearly 250 years? What is it about early American history that captivates peoples’ attention and makes them want to support the creation of historical scholarship and the sharing of historical knowledge? David M. Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group and a…
 
We rejoin Colin Calloway, Professor of History and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, in this bonus episode so he can answer more of your questions about Native American experiences in early American cities. Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/314 Join Ben Franklin's World! Subscribe and help us bring history right to your ears…
 
Have you ever considered early American cities as places where Native Americans lived, worked, and visited? Native Americans often visited early American cities and port towns, especially the towns and cities that dotted the Atlantic seaboard of British North America. Colin Calloway, an award-winning historian and a Professor History and Native Ame…
 
Welcome to OI Reads, an occasional series on Ben Franklin's World where we introduce you to new books that we'll think you love and that are published by the Omohundro Institute. Using details from her book, The Strange Genius of Mr. O, Carolyn Eastman, a Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, acquaints us with James Ogilvie, one…
 
You know “America’s favorite fighting Frenchman” is the Marquis de Lafayette. But what do you know about Lafayette and his life? How and why did this French-born noble end up fighting in the American Revolution? Mike Duncan, a self-described history geek, public historian, and the podcaster behind the award-winning podcast The History of Rome and t…
 
The transatlantic slave trade dominated in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. But by 1808, a different slave trade came to dominate in the young United States, the domestic or internal slave trade. Joshua D. Rothman, an award-winning historian, Professor of History at the University of Alabama, and author of the book, The Ledger and …
 
Investigations of the American Revolution often include explorations of politics, ideology, trade and taxation, imperial control, and social strife. What about religion? What role did religion play in the American Revolution? Katherine Carté, an Associate Professor of History at Southern Methodist University and the author of Religion and the Ameri…
 
To understand early American history, we need to investigate and understand North America as an Indigenous space. A place where Native American populations, politics, religion, and trade networks prevailed for centuries before and after the arrival of Europeans and enslaved Africans. In this episode, we travel into the heart of the North American c…
 
By the eighteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean had become a busy highway of ships crisscrossing its waters. What do we know about the ships that made these transatlantic voyages and connected the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world through trade, people, and information? Phillip Reid, a historian of the Atlantic World and maritime technology a…
 
The story of freedom in colonial New Orleans and Louisiana pivoted on the choices black women made to retain control of their bodies, families, and futures. How did black women in colonial Louisiana navigate French and Spanish black and slavery codes to retain control of their bodies, families, and futures? Jessica Marie Johnson, Assistant Professo…
 
In Episode 307, Michael Hattem helped us investigate the role history played in the American Revolution and the ways early historians used history as a tool to unite Americans as one people after the Revolution. This bonus episode brings us back together with Michael Hattem so we can explore a few topics we didn’t have time to explore in our full-l…
 
The story of the founding of the United States is a familiar one. It usually (but not always) begins with the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, describes the founding and development of thirteen British North American colonies that hugged North America’s eastern seaboard, and then delves into the imperial reforms and conflicts that…
 
The words of the Declaration of Independence are not the only aspect of the American Revolution that carry power. Visual and material objects from during and after the Revolution also carry power and meaning. Objects like monuments, uniforms, muskets, powder horns, and the Horse’s Tail, a remnant of a grand equestrian statue of King George III, whi…
 
Death is one of the few universals in life. Everyone who is born, will die. How do the living make peace with death? While different cultures make peace with death in different ways, Erik Seeman joins us to investigate how white, American Protestants made their peace with death during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Erik Seem…
 
Juneteenth is a state holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865, the day slavery ended in Texas. Over the last decade, a push to make Juneteenth a national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States has gained momentum. What do we know about Juneteenth and its origins? Annette Gordon-Reed, an award-winning historian at Harvard Uni…
 
The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the home of many different peoples, cultures, and empires during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to some historians, the Gulf Coast region may have been the most diverse region in early North America. Matthew Powell, a historian of slavery and southern history and the Executive Director of the La P…
 
Before its eradication in 1980, smallpox was the most feared disease in many parts of the world. Known as the “king of terrors” and the “disease of diseases” the search for a way to lessen and avoid smallpox was on! How did vaccination come about? What are vaccination’s connections to smallpox inoculation? And how did news and practice of vaccinati…
 
Smallpox was the most feared disease in North America and in many parts of the world before its eradication in 1980. So how did early Americans live with smallpox and work to prevent it? How did they help eradicate this terrible disease? Over the next two episodes, we’ll explore smallpox in North America. We’ll investigate how smallpox came to Nort…
 
What do historians wish more people better understood about early American history and why do they wish people had that better understanding? In celebration of the 300th episode of Ben Franklin’s World, we posed these questions to more than 30 scholars. What do they think? Join the celebration to discover more about Early America and take a behind-…
 
What can a portrait reveal about the history of colonial British America? Portraits were both deeply personal and yet collaborative artifacts left behind by people of the past. When historians look at multiple portraits created around the same time and place, their similarities can reveal important social connections, trade relationships, or cultur…
 
Have you ever stopped to think about how the United States became a manufacturing nation? Have you ever wondered how the United States developed not just products, but the technologies, knowledge, and machinery necessary to manufacture or produce various products? Lindsay Schakenbach Regele has. Lindsay is an Associate Professor of History at Miami…
 
The history of Native American land dispossession is as old as the story of colonization. European colonists came to the Americas, and the Caribbean, wanting land for farms and settlement so they found ways to acquire lands from indigenous peoples by the means of negotiation, bad-faith dealing, war, and violence. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 is d…
 
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