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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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What does it take to create a museum? How can a museum help visitors grapple with a very uncomfortable aspect of their nation’s past? Ibrahima Seck, a member of the History Department at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, author of the book, Bouki Fait Gombo: A History of the Slave Community of Habitation Haydel (Whitney Plantation)…
 
When we think of important years in the history of the American Revolution, we might think of years like 1765 and the Stamp Act Crisis, 1773 and the Tea Crisis, 1775 and the start of what would become the War for American Independence, or 1776, the year the United States declared independence. Award-winning historian Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donl…
 
How did Jamaica grow to become the "crown jewel" of the British Atlantic World? Part of the answer is that Jamaica’s women served as some of the most ardent and best supporters of the island’s practice of slavery. Christine Walker, an Assistant Professor of History at the Yale-NUS College in Singapore and the author of the award-winning book, Jamai…
 
What was everyday life like for those who lived in early America? To understand the everyday lives of early Americans we need to look at the goods they made and how they produced those goods. In essence, nothing explains the everyday as much as the goods in people’s lives. Glenn Adamson, author of Craft: An American History, joins us to investigate…
 
This episode is a companion episode to the 2-episode World of the Wampanoag series. This bonus episode allows us to speak with two guests from the World of the Wampanoag series: Jade Luiz, Curator of Collections at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums, and Lorén Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum in Rhode Island. Both Jade and Lorén help us e…
 
Before New England was New England, it was the Dawnland. A region that remains the homeland of numerous Native American peoples, including the Wampanoag. When the English colonists arrived at Patuxet 400 years ago, they arrived at a confusing time. The World of the Wampanoag people had changed in the wake of a destabilizing epidemic. This episode i…
 
Before New England was New England, it was the Dawnland. A region that remains the homeland of numerous Native American peoples, including the Wampanoag. Over the next two episodes, we’ll explore the World of the Wampanoag before and after 1620, a year that saw approximately 100 English colonists enter the Wampanoags’ world. Those English colonists…
 
The name “Great Dismal Swamp” doesn’t evoke an image of a pleasant or beautiful place, and yet, it was an important place that offered land speculators the chance to profit and enslaved men and women a chance for freedom in colonial British America and the early United States. Marcus Nevius, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Rh…
 
In what ways did the Atlantic World contribute to the American Revolution? Empire, slavery, and constant warfare interacted with each other in the Atlantic World. Which brings us to our question: In what ways did the Atlantic World and its issues contribute to the American Revolution? Tyson Reeder, an editor of the Papers of James Madison and an af…
 
Join the Omohundro Institute and Mass Humanities for a special two-episode series about the World of the Wampanoag before and after 1620. The Wampanoag’s history has always been spoken. Hear it on Ben Franklin’s World in December 2020.By Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
 
This special bonus episode previews the Ben Franklin's World Subscription program and its monthly bonus episode for program subscribers. In this bonus episode, Historian of the United States House of Representatives Matt Wasniewski and Historical Publications Specialist Terrance Rucker answer your questions about the early history of the United Sta…
 
For four months during the summer of 1787, delegates from the thirteen states met in Philadelphia to craft a revised Constitution that would define the government of the United States. It took them nearly the entire time to settle on the method for selecting the President, the Chief Executive. What they came up with is a system of indirect election…
 
Who is American democracy for and who could participate in early American democracy? Women and African Americans were often barred from voting in colonial and early republic elections. But what about Native Americans? Could Native Americans participate in early American democracy? Julie Reed, an Assistant Professor of History at the Pennsylvania St…
 
Independence from Great Britain provided the former British American colonists the opportunity to create a new, more democratic government than they had lived under before the American Revolution. What did this new American government look like? Who could participate in this new American democracy? And what was it like to participate in this new de…
 
The British North American colonies formed some of the most democratic governments in the world. But that doesn't mean that all early Americans were treated equally or allowed to participate in representative government. So who could vote in Early America? Who could participate in representative government? Historians James Kloppenberg, the Charles…
 
On Friday, September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, died. Justice Ginsburg's death has caused a lot of debate about whether the President should appoint a new justice to fill her seat and, if he does appoint someone, whether the Senate should vote on the President’s nomination before the elec…
 
2020 commemorates the 300th anniversary of French presence on Prince Edward Island. Like much of North America, the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, and Prince Edward Island were highly contested regions. In fact, the way France and Great Britain fought for presence and control of this region places …
 
2020 commemorates the 300th anniversary of French presence on Prince Edward Island. Like much of North America, the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, and Prince Edward Island were highly contested regions. In fact, the way France and Great Britain fought for presence and control of this region places …
 
Between 1760 and 1761, Great Britain witnessed one of the largest slave insurrections in the history of its empire. Although the revolt took place on the island of Jamaica, the reverberations of this revolt stretched across the Atlantic Ocean and into the British North American colonies. Vincent Brown, the Charles Warren Professor of American Histo…
 
We live in an age where big businesses track our shopping habits and in some cases our work habits. But is the age of data new? When did the “age of the spreadsheet” and quantification of habits develop? Caitlin Rosenthal, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Accounting for Slavery: Masters a…
 
The American Revolution is embedded in the American character. It’s an event that can tell us who we are, how we came to be who we are, and how we can strive to be who we want to be as a nation and people. Rick Atkinson, a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a journalist who has worked at The Washington Post, and the author of The British Are …
 
Thank You for being a Ben Franklin's World subscriber! We really appreciate your support. In this bonus episode, Kimberly Alexander discusses how shoes can help us better understand social class and privilege in Early America, whether we can use the terms cobblers and cordwainers interchangeably, and whether early American shoemakers made shoes for…
 
As the first President of the United States, George Washington set many precedents for the new nation. One of the biggest precedents Washington set came in the form of the Cabinet, a body of advisors from across the U.S. government who advise the president on how to handle matters of foreign and domestic policy. Today, we investigate Washington’s c…
 
Polygamy is not a practice that often comes to mind when many of us think about early America. But it turns out, polygamy was a ubiquitous practice among different groups of early Americans living in 17th and 18th-century North America. Sarah Pearsall, a University Teaching Officer, Fellow, and Historian at the University of Cambridge, joins us to …
 
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech to an anti-slavery society and he famously asked “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” In this episode, we explore Douglass’ thoughtful question within the context of Early America: What did the Fourth of July mean for African Americans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries…
 
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