Atlantic Cousins: Benjamin Franklin and His Visionary Friends

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Ben Franklin was at the heart of the Enlightenment. He drew to him some of the greatest minds of that time, people who remain among the most intriguing in history — Americans, Englishmen, and Frenchmen whose ideas continue to shape how we live. Through engaging anecdotes and short histories, Atlantic Cousins includes intimate portraits of Franklin and Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Voltaire, the Marquis de Condorcet, Georges-Jacques Danton, Camille Desmoulins — and their arch-enemy, ...

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Overview

Ben Franklin was at the heart of the Enlightenment. He drew to him some of the greatest minds of that time, people who remain among the most intriguing in history — Americans, Englishmen, and Frenchmen whose ideas continue to shape how we live. Through engaging anecdotes and short histories, Atlantic Cousins includes intimate portraits of Franklin and Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Voltaire, the Marquis de Condorcet, Georges-Jacques Danton, Camille Desmoulins — and their arch-enemy, William Cobbett, an unrelenting monarchist and anglophile. Aside from the colorful personalities, author Jack Fruchtman documents developments from Thomas Paine's smokeless candles to the founding of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia; the debate that led to the Declaration of Independence; the abolitionist movement both in America and abroad; and Paine's Rights of Man. Atlantic Cousins contains numerous illustrations and maps that complement the material, and shows just how Ben Franklin and his circle of friends shaped this unique and remarkable period in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fruchtman (political science, Towson Univ.; Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom) has written a readable volume made up of lively portraits of 11 intellectual "cousins" with whom Benjamin Franklin conversed in America, England, and France during that Age of Enlightenment. Included here are Anthony Benezet of Philadelphia and Granville Sharp of London, who helped shape Franklin's evolving stance against slavery. We also meet British dissenting ministers Joseph Priestly and Richard Price, who engaged with Franklin on issues of church and state while following serious scientific pursuits, as he did. There is the Marquis de Condorcet, whose Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind is described as one of the "greatest works in political thought ever written during the French Enlightenment." Then there are men such as Jean-Paul Marat and Franz Anton Mesmer, with whom Franklin became disenchanted. Although an abundance of Franklin books are available, this is a solid addition with a fresh approach for general readers. The book has a clear structure, dividing the cousins among America, England, and France. A contemporary illustration of each man is included. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.-Evon J. Dewald, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560259626
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Fruchtman, Jr., is the author of Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom, and several books on the Age of Enlightenment. He is a professor of political science at Maryland's Towson University.

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Table of Contents

Prologue : Franklin's Atlantic cousins 1
1 Three men and the horrors of slavery : Whitefield, Benezet, and Sharp 23
2 Benjamin Rush, revolution, religion, and medicine 55
3 Paine, revolutionary zeal, and engineering 101
4 Price and Priestley, religious dissent and revolution 141
5 Price, Priestley, and scientific inquiry 169
6 Marat and Mesmer, charlatans or misunderstood scientists? 197
7 Condorcet, revolution, and la Republique Francaise 233
8 Brissot, revolutionary politics, and democracy 269
9 Learning in the new era 305
Epilogue : a future of progress, liberty, and justice 325
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