Benjamin Franklin was a world traveler, consummate learner, and a polymath extraordinaire; the Founding Father was a printer, scientist, inventor, diplomat, postmaster general, educator, philosopher, entrepreneur, library curator, and America’s first researcher to win an international scientific reputation for his studies in electrical theory. He even made contributions to knowledge of the Gulf Stream.

But he was just as much a product of his extraordinary world as he contributed to it. Neither Colonial North America nor the embryonic United States developed apart from the rest of the world. They were active participants in the politics, economics, and culture of the Atlantic World. The events in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America affected the way North Americans lived, dressed, worshipped, conducted business, and exercised diplomacy.

Today’s guest is Elizabeth Covart, host of Ben Frankin’s World podcast. She is here to talk about how Benjamin Franklin took an active part in the Atlantic World. He helped found the United States and influenced technological developments after his death.

In this episode we discuss

  • How he both influenced and was influenced by the early American colonies
  • Franklin’s success as a diplomat to France during the Revolutionary War and “failures” in England before it
  • How Franklin got rich as a printer, producing Poor Richard’s Almanac, and how the printing press shaped American life
  • Smuggling during the American Revolution

RESOURCES FOR THIS EPISODE

Ben Franklin’s World

The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Episode 161: Smuggling and the American Revolution