Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist / Edition 1

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The American Revolution was a civil war as well as a war for independence. The experience of Benjamin Franklin and his son, William, royal governor of New Jersey, reveals America's internal struggle over the question of loyalty to England. A collection of letters accompanies Sheila Skemp's narrative of the two men, bonded by blood, divided by political cause.

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Editorial Reviews

We smirk or tut-tut at such scandals as gay children of our presidents, often unaware that the Founding Fathers had closets of their own. Ben Franklin's son William, remaining loyal to the British crown, was the last royal governor of New Jersey. Skemp delves not so much into the relationship between the two as into their different personal backgrounds and political experiences as an illustration of the variety of opinions and issues that led to the Revolution. She includes eight primary documents, a chronology, and questions for students to ponder. Usable as a week-long assignment in an undergraduate course, and a brief read for armchair historians. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312086176
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/15/1994
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 205
  • Sales rank: 1,274,875
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheila L. Skemp is associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King (1990), and has served as an editor of two volumes dealing with issues of race and gender in the South. She is currently working on a biography of Judith Sargent Murray. Skemp was the recipient of the University of Mississippi's award for Outstanding Teacher in the Liberal Arts.

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Table of Contents



Introduction: Divided Loyalties
1. Self-Made Men
2. Forging a Partnership
3. Government Men
4. Men in the Middle
5. The Making of a Patriot
6. The Making of a Loyalist
7. Toward Independence
8. "When in the Course of Human Events"



1. William Franklin, Letter to Benjamin Franklin, September 7, 1765
2. Benjamin Franklin, Letter to William Franklin, September 9, 1765
3. John Dickinson, From "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies," 1767, 1768
4. William Franklin, Letter to Lord Hillsborough, November 23, 1768
5. Benjamin Franklin, "Causes of the American Discontents before 1768," January 1768
6. William Franklin, Speech to the New Jersey Assembly, January 13, 1775
7. William Franklin, Letter to Lord Dartmouth, May 6, 1775
8. Benjamin Franklin, Letter to William Franklin, August 16, 1784


A Franklin Chronology (1706-1814)
Selected Bibliography


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