Best Benfranklin podcasts we could find (Updated March 2019)
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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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Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick, Patrick Carr, and Crispus Attucks. These are the five men who died as a result of the shootings on Boston’s King Street on the night of March 5, 1770. Of these five victims, evidence points to Crispus Attucks falling first, and of all the victims, Crispus Attucks is the name we can recall. Why is th ...…
 
Within days of the Boston Massacre, Bostonians politicized the event. They circulated a pamphlet about “the Horrid Massacre” and published images portraying soldiers firing into a well-assembled and peaceful crowd. But why did the Boston Massacre happen? Why did the British government feel it had little choice but to station as many 2,000 soldi ...…
 
On the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered in Boston’s King Street and confronted a a sentry and his fellow soldiers in front of the custom house. The confrontation led the soldiers to fire their muskets into the crowd, five civilians died. What happened on the night of March 5, 1770 that led the crowd to gather and the soldiers to disch ...…
 
In the 21st century, we are all creators and users of content. We take original photos with our smartphones, generate blog posts, digital videos, and podcasts. Some of us write books and articles. And nearly everyone contributes content to social media. Given all of the information and content we generate and use, it’s really important for us t ...…
 
What do we mean by “the state?” How is a “state” produced? Is “the state” something everyone can participate in producing? Ryan Quintana, an Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College and the author of Making a Slave State: Political Development in Early South Carolina, joins us to answer these questions with a look at the creation and ...…
 
In 1738, a cooper named Benedict Arnold petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for a divorce from his wife Mary Ward Arnold. Benedict claimed that Mary had taken a lover and together they had attempted to murder him with poison. How did this story of love, divorce, and attempted murder unfold? What does it reveal about the larger world of ...…
 
The Atlantic World has brought many disparate peoples together, which has caused a lot of ideas and cultures to mix. How did the Atlantic World bring so many different peoples and cultures together? How did this large intermixing of people and cultures impact the development of colonial America? Kevin Dawson, an Associate Professor of History a ...…
 
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Ohio River Valley proved to be a rich agrarian region. Many different Native American peoples prospered from its land both in terms of the the land’s ability to produce a wide variety of crops and its support of a wide variety of small fur-bearing animals for the fur trade. Susan Sleeper-Smith, a Professo ...…
 
Have you ever wondered how the capital of the United States came to be situated at Washington D.C.? The banks of the Potomac River represent an odd place to build a national city, a place that would not only serve as the seat of government for the nation, but also as an economic, cultural, and intellectual hub. Still in 1790, the United States ...…
 
Can food help us better understand the people and events of the past? Can we better understand a person like Benjamin Franklin and who he was by the foods he ate? Rae Katherine Eighmey, an award-winning food historian, author, and cook, joins us to explore the culinary tastes and habits of Benjamin Franklin and colonial British Americans with d ...…
 
Did you know that one of the earliest practices of slavery by English colonists originated in New England? In fact, Massachusetts issued the very first slave code in English America in 1641. Why did New Englanders turn to slavery and become the first in English America to codify its practice? Margaret Ellen Newell, a professor of history at The ...…
 
Inns and taverns played prominent roles in early American life. They served the needs of travelers who needed food to eat and places to sleep.They offered local communities a form of poor relief. And they functioned as public spaces where men could gather to discuss news, organize movements, and to drink and play cards. Adrian Covert, author of ...…
 
Have you ever wondered where the Christmas traditions of stockings, presents, and cookies come from? What about jolly, old Saint Nicholas? Who was he and why do we often call him Santa Claus? Peter G. Rose, culinary historian of Dutch foodways in North America and author of Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treat ...…
 
How do you uncover the life of an enslaved person who left no paper trail? What can the everyday life of an enslaved person tell us about slavery, how it was practiced, and how some enslaved people made the transition from slavery to freedom? We explore the life of Charity Folks, an enslaved woman from Maryland who gained her freedom in the lat ...…
 
What do George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They all grew-up in blended or stepfamilies. Lisa Wilson, the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of American History at Connecticut College and author of A History of Stepfamilies in Early America, takes us through the creation and interactions of blended and stepfamil ...…
 
We tend to view gay marriage as a cultural and legal development of the 21st century. But did you know that some early Americans lived openly as same-sex married couples? Rachel Hope Cleves, a Professor of History at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and author of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America, reveals th ...…
 
Was the early United States a “Christian nation?” Did most of its citizenry accept God and the Bible as the moral authority that bound them together as one nation? Scholars have taken a binary stance on these questions. Some argue that early America was a thoroughly religious place and that even those who didn’t attend church were on the same b ...…
 
In 1621, the Pilgrims of Plimoth Colony and their Wampanoag neighbors came together to celebrate their first harvest. Today we remember this event as the first Thanksgiving. But what do we really know about this holiday and the people who celebrated it? So much of what we know about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving comes to us through my ...…
 
How do historians and biographers reconstruct the lives of people from the past? Good biographies rely on telling the lives of people using practiced historical methods of thorough archival research and the sound interrogation of historical sources. But what does this practice of historical methods look like? In this final episode of the Omohun ...…
 
As part of the Omohundro Institute's Doing History series on biography, Episode 212 offers us a new conversation with Erica Dunbar, the author of Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge. The new episode will explore how historians and biographers reconstruct the lives of people from the past using the ...…
 
Can a biography help us explore big historical questions? Can knowing about the life of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, help us better understand the Supreme Court and how it came to occupy the powerful place it has in the United State government? The Doing History: Biography series continues and expl ...…
 
For 34 years, John Marshall presided as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. During his service, Marshal transformed the nation’s top court and its judicial branch into the powerful body and co-equal branch of government we know it as today. The Doing History: Biography series continues as Joel Richard Paul, a professor of law ...…
 
Biography. Since the earliest days of the United States, and even before the thirteen colonies came together to forge a nation, Americans have been interested in biography. But why? What is it about the lives of others that makes the past so interesting and fun to explore? This episode marks the start of the Omohundro Institute’s 4-episode Doin ...…
 
2018 marks the 241st anniversary of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga and the 240th anniversary of the Franco-American Alliance. But was the victory that prompted the French to join the American war effort, truly the "turning point" of the War for Independence? National Book Award-winner Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to explore the ...…
 
What in the first 40 years of his life made Benjamin Franklin the genius he became? Benjamin Franklin serves as a great window on to the early American past because as a man of “variety” he pursued many interests: literature, poetry, science, business, philosophy, philanthropy, and politics. But one aspect of Franklin’s life has gone largely un ...…
 
Between 1500 and the 1860s, Europeans and Americans forcibly removed approximately 12 million African people from the African continent, transported them to the Americas, and enslaved them. Why did Europeans and Americans enslave Africans? How did they justify their actions? Katherine Gerbner, an Assistant Professor of History at the University ...…
 
La Presidente? The Presidentess? The First Lady of the Land? The Second Article of the United States Constitution defines the Executive Branch of the government, the powers it has, and the role of the chief executive, the President of the United States. But what about the position of the President’s spouse? Jeanne Abrams, a Professor at the Uni ...…
 
Aaron Burr: Revolutionary War hero, talented lawyer, Vice President, and Intriguer of treason? Between 1805 and 1807, Aaron Burr supposedly intended to commit treason by dividing the American union. How did Americans learn about and respond to this treasonous intrigue? James Lewis Jr., a Professor of History at Kalamazoo College and author of T ...…
 
Hamilton the Musical hit Broadway in August 2015 and since that time people all around the world have been learning about a man named Alexander Hamilton. Or, at least they’ve been learning about the musical’s character Alexander Hamilton. But who was Alexander Hamilton as a real person? Joanne Freeman, a Professor of History and American Studie ...…
 
On September 17, 1787, a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention approved the new form of government they had spent months drafting and submitted it to the 13 states for their ratification and approval. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the Constitution, which prompted the transition to the govern ...…
 
What kind of character should Americans have? Is it possible to create a shared sense of national character and identity that all Americans can subscribe to? Americans grappled with many questions about what it meant to be an American and a citizen of the new republic after the American Revolution. They grappled with these questions because the ...…
 
What would you like to know about Early American History? It turns out, you wanted to know about the establishment of schools, how the colonial postal service worked, and about aspects of health and hygiene in early America. In this listener-inspired Q&A episode, we speak with Johann Neem, Joseph Adelman, and Ann Little to explore these aspects ...…
 
When we explore the history of early America, we often look at people who lived in North America. But what about the people who lived and worked in European metropoles? What about Native Americans? We explore early American history through a slightly different lens, a lens that allows us to see interactions that occurred between Native American ...…
 
When we think of Native Americans, many of us think of inland dwellers. People adept at navigating forests and rivers and the skilled hunters and horsemen who lived and hunted on the American Plains. But did you know that Native Americans were seafaring mariners too? Andrew Lipman, an Assistant Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia ...…
 
When we think about early American slavery, our minds evoke images of plantations where enslaved men and women were forced to labor in agricultural fields and inside the homes of wealthy Americans. These images depict the practice of chattel slavery; a practice where early Americans treated slaves as property that they could buy, sell, trade, a ...…
 
We live in an age of information. The internet provides us with 24/7 access to all types of information—news, how-to articles, sports scores, entertainment news, and congressional votes. But what do we do with all of this knowledge? How do we sift through and interpret it all? We are not the first people to ponder these questions. Today, Alejan ...…
 
In 1705 a group of colonists in Simsbury, Connecticut founded a copper mine, which the Connecticut General Assembly purchased and turned into a prison in 1773. How did an old copper mine function as a prison? Morgan Bengel, a Museum Assistant at the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine, a Connecticut State Historic Site, helps us investigate bot ...…
 
As part of its mission, the National Park Service seeks to protect and preserve places saved by the American people so that all may experience the heritage of the United States. These places include those with historical significance. Supervisory Park Ranger Garrett Cloer joins us to explore the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters Nation ...…
 
In 1959, the Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press published Lester J. Cappon’s The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams. It was the first time that all 380 letters between Jefferson and the Adamses appeared in a single volume. Why did Lester Cappon and the ...…
 
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Two drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence, two diplomats who served the United States abroad in Europe, and two men who went on to serve as vice president and president of the United States. Both men left indelible marks on American society. Adams and Jefferson are two founders who captivate th ...…
 
The Jersey Devil is a monster legend that originated in New Jersey’s early American past. How and why did this legend emerge? And, what can it tell us about New Jersey’s past? Brian Regal, an Associate Professor of History at Kean University and the co-author of The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Frankl ...…
 
King Philip’s War is an event that appears over and over again in books about colonial America. So when you have an event that has been as studied as King Philip’s War has been, is there anything new that we can learn about it by re-examining it in our own time? Lisa Brooks, an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst Coll ...…
 
As many as 70 percent of Americans consider themselves to be members of the middle class. But if you consider income as a qualifier for membership, only about 50 percent of Americans qualify for membership. So what does it meant to be middle class and why do so many Americans want to be members of it? Jennifer Goloboy, an independent scholar ba ...…
 
We’re living in a period of climate change. Our Earth has been getting warmer since the mid-19th century. So how will humans adapt to and endure this period of global warming? Will they adapt to it and endure? It turns out the people of early America also lived through a period of climate change and their experiences may hold some answers for u ...…
 
The Alien and Sedition Acts consisted of four laws enacted by the United States government in 1798. The United States passed these laws during a time of great uncertainty, a time when many Americans feared for the very survival for their nation. But why did Americans fear for the United States’ existence and why did they think four laws that li ...…
 
Our present-day American culture is obsessed with sports. To cite just two pieces of evidence of this, on average, more than 67,000 fans attend each National Football League game and more than 30,000 fans attend each Major League Baseball game. This is to say nothing of the millions of fans who watch these sports on television or listen to them ...…
 
As a result of Great Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War, British North America expanded so that it stretched from the Atlantic seaboard west to the Mississippi River and from Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to Florida. Plus, it also included islands in the Caribbean. How exactly would Great Britain, centered on a small isla ...…
 
Who should determine our culture and the morals our society follows? Culture, or the intellectual achievements, attitudes, and behaviors of our particular places and social groups, is all around us. It impacts how we think and act as members of families, local communities, states, and nations. Culture is important. So how do we establish cultur ...…
 
Early North America was a place rife with violent conflict. Between the 17th and 19th centuries we see a lot of conflict between different Native American peoples, Native American peoples and colonists, colonists from one empire versus colonists from another empire, settlers from one state quarreling with settlers from another state, and in the ...…
 
George Washington played three very important public roles during his lifetime. He served as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, the President of the Constitutional Convention, and as the first President of the United States. In addition to these important public roles, Washington also played a role that was very important to him. H ...…
 
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