Franklin and Bache: Envisioning the Enlightened Republic

Overview

Fostering the "pursuit of happiness" was an avowed purpose of the American Revolution, but what was the phrase to mean in practice? How would the new society being created achieve what Enlightenment egalitarians called the "common good"? In this dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, Jeffery A. Smith examines the careers of two of the most prominent journalists to advocate what became known as Jeffersonian republicanism. Franklin used his writings to encourage the kind of ...

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Franklin and Bache: Envisioning the Enlightened Republic

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Overview

Fostering the "pursuit of happiness" was an avowed purpose of the American Revolution, but what was the phrase to mean in practice? How would the new society being created achieve what Enlightenment egalitarians called the "common good"? In this dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, Jeffery A. Smith examines the careers of two of the most prominent journalists to advocate what became known as Jeffersonian republicanism. Franklin used his writings to encourage the kind of conscientious and public-spirited behavior he thought necessary if the majority of people were to secure free and prosperous lives. He impressed these ideals on Bache as he supervised his education in three countries and established him as a printer-publisher in Philadelphia. In the 1790s, as Federalists and Republicans battled over the course the United States would take in national and international affairs, Franklin's carefully indoctrinated protege became Jefferson's confidant and most fierce journalistic supporter. Franklin and Bache were among those envisioning a nation where liberty, learning, and a more even distribution of wealth would inaugurate a new epoch in human history. Published on the 200th anniversary of Franklin's death, this careful study offers a much-needed illumination of early American aspirations for a democratic future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Smith's careful and thoughtful analysis of the relationship between Franklin and Bache sheds valuable light on the role of education and the fate of disinterested republicanism in the new nation."—History of Education Quarterly

"Well researched....Highly readable. It seems to me to be a model for intellectual biography."—American Journalism

"Jeffery Smith is a rare combination of superb writer, conscientious researcher, and perceptive historian. This new book has the potential of contributing significantly to our understanding of the development of Republican and Enlightenment ideology in the early republic."—Paul G. Boyer, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"This extensively researched and documented book is an intelligent addition to the literature on Franklin's moral philosophy as well as an excellent and long-needed biographic introduction to Bache."—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"Reviewing the education and development of Benjamin Franklin Bache in radical republican principle, Smith clearly illustrates this nation's ideological conflict in its formative years with a focus on connunication. The significance of the Aurora to Jeffersonian Republicans is incalculable, and it is amazing that scholars have not dealt with this before. Bache's newspaper, aimed at Washington and Adams, clearly has been underrated by historians of the past."—MaryAnn Yodelis Smith, Associate Vice Chancellor, University of Wisconsin Centers, Madison

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195056761
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Iowa
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