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Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire (Hardback)
  • Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire (Hardback)

Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire (Hardback)

Hardback 448 Pages / Published: 23/07/2015
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Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire provides a painstaking study of the Founding Father's stances on government, imperialism, and fiscal policy, ultimately emphasizing how his opinions on these matters evolved over the course of his lifetime. Carla Mulford uses Franklin's prodigious literary output-which includes letters, pamphlets, newspaper articles, journal entries, and drafted speeches-to demonstrate how his views shifted, with special attention to the role played by Great Britain in his decision-making process before, during, and after the Revolution. The book begins with Franklin's progressive early writings on mercantilism, freedom of conscience, and freedom of the press, considering how they were shaped by his English-born parents and their decision to leave their tumultuous homeland in the seventeenth century. Franklin's young adult and middle years, when he became heavily involved with Pennsylvania politics, see a sharply conservative shift in his attitudes toward empire and monetary policy. Mulford draws on letters and issues of Poor Richard's Almanack from these years to reveal the beginnings of a conservative turn in his thought, highlighting his surprising support for the politics of imperialism. Franklin's mature years as the colonies' chief representative and cultural ambassador in Britain and Europe form the content of the next two chapters, which elucidate Franklin's disenchantment with the British colonial administrations overseeing the Thirteen Colonies. Mining Franklin's autobiography, the book's last chapters cover Franklin's ultimate rejection of Great Britain and his condemnation of imperialism, especially with regard to Ireland and India. Overall, Mulford's monograph offers fresh, nuanced interpretations of the central issues that preoccupied Franklin throughout his life.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199384198
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 704 g
Dimensions: 239 x 164 x 34 mm

Carla Mulford takes up the interpretive challenge in a "literary biography". Although many readers will see her work as intellectual history, she depicts the project as "something of a hybrid form, blending the qualities of historical documentary biography with aesthetic concerns about the life of the mind" * T.H. Breen, The Times Literary Supplement *
Certainly this book manuscript deserves publication by Oxford University Press. For one thing, Carla Mulford has earned the standing of a major scholar in the field of Early American Literature and specifically in studies on Franklin. My own observations cannot note all of the shrewd observations on her topic which she includes. Her main subject is a crucial area in the study of Franklin's thought, and she deals with that material in an authoritative way throughout ... I also like the valuable ambiguity of the title because her subject is not only the goals and purposes of empire but also the close of Franklin's engagement with the possibilities of a viable transatlantic British empire. * Ormond Seavey, George Washington University; editor of Autobiography and Other Writings by Benjamin Franklin *
First, there is a real contribution here, as I have described above, both to Franklin studies and to early American cultural history. Second, the major strength of Mulford's work is the breadth of its coverage. She has read everything in the primary sources and integrates them well ... I think this is a scholarly work that will land on the shelves of libraries and a few Franklin scholars ... I'd offer a contract. I admire the work and even more the learning that it bespeaks. * Peter Charles Hoffer, University of Georgia; author of When Benjamin Franklin Met the Reverend Whitefield: Enlightenment, Revival, and the Power of the Printed Word *
In Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire, Carla J. Mulford offers an intellectual and literary biography that explains how the man many historians have considered to be a committed imperialist ultimately joined the revolution to end the British Empire in part of North America. * Nathan R. Kozuskanich, American Historical Review *
Mulford's Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire is the fruit of a lifetime's study of the statesman and polymath, a polemically engaged and bold attempt to lend coherence to a famously multifaceted career. * The New York Review of Books *

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