[Ebook] ↠ Franklin & Washington Author Edward J. Larson – Stevemiddleton.info
well written but too much like being back in history class Disclaimer I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway for the purpose of writing this review No other compensation was offered or requested.A dual biography of Benjamin Franklin 1705 1790 and George Washington 1732 1799 is, I will state right up front, is a good idea Both men were instrumental in moving the American Colonies from loyal but disgruntled subjects of the British Crown to the United States of America, an independent country with its own constitution chosen by those who lived there This volume details the times these friends cooperated, and some of their differences.The first point of concentration is the French and Indian War, in which both Franklin and Washington worked to protect their individual colonies, but found common ground and began corresponding.Both men were industrious, and self made at the beginning Washington, however, only a few years into adulthood became considerably wealthier by inheritance as a series of family deaths wiped out his close relatives Having started industrious, he then worked to make his plantation successful, as well as becoming known as a soldier and leader of men when his colony needed him.The book talks about how the men became disillusioned with British rule, both in general, and due to personal slights Franklin was diplomatic by nature, and spent quite some time abroad, first in England trying to mitigate the various taxes imposed after the Seven Years War, and during the American Revolution, convincing the French to support the rebelling colonies.Meanwhile, George Washington became General Washington, leading the American troops through many lean years of hardship until the British occupation was finally broken.After the war ended, both Franklin and Washington had learned the dangers of too little coordination between the colonies, jealous of their own prerogatives The once vibrant Continental Congress had most of its best people move on to military service or their individual state governments, while petty men served in the broader congress The Articles of Confederation gave each new state its own full powers, which meant that they could starve the national government and refuse to pay the veterans of the revolution on time.A better government was needed, and so a convention was called to amend the Articles of Confederation, which turned into the creation of the American Constitution Franklin was elderly and nearly bedridden by this point, but still managed to show up the meeting hall wasn t too far from his house and help out, while Washington presided over the convention It was pretty obvious that George Washington was the only one to be trusted as head of the new government, so his ideas were also listened to.But one of the big differences between Franklin and Washington was their attitudes towards slavery In his early career, Benjamin Franklin owned slaves, because that was how you got ahead in business, but exposure to Quaker ideas and abolitionism through his printing business caused Franklin to realize the moral implications of the practice Plus he d been an indentured servant once, so didn t buy the benevolent master argument He freed his own slaves and urged others to do the same, eventually founding a major Abolitionist society.Meanwhile, George Washington came from the planter class of Virginia Although he seems to have begun realizing the immorality of slavery sometime during the American Revolution due to interacting with free black people, Washington kept his reservations private He needed slaves economically, and reacted badly to anyone who disrespected him including slaves who ran away.Thus, Washington was not thrilled when Franklin sent a petition to the first Congressional session of the new United States, one of several that asked the government to restrict the slave trade, and even ban slavery altogether The protections in the Constitution for slavery had been a hard fought compromise, and President Washington didn t want the country torn apart again Congress kicked the can down the timeline to 1808, the first time allowed under the Constitution for restriction of the slave trade George Washington freed his own slaves in his will to take effect after the death of his wife Martha Washington, realizing that this was an open invitation to kill her, freed them early, but not her own slaves Anti slavery people took this as a sign that Washington had meant for slavery to end altogether at some point, while pro slavery people saw it as just a nice private gesture that did not set a precedent for themselves.There s a center section of color pictures, extensive endnotes, and a full index.Because the focus is on the connection between the two men and where their interests coincided and diverged, other portions of their lives get much less focus So while I do recommend this well researched book to the student of American history, you ll also want to read individual biographies of those involved to get a fuller picture. From The Pulitzer Prize Winning Historian Comes A Masterful, First Of Its Kind Dual Biography Of Benjamin Franklin And George Washington, Illuminating Their Partnership S Enduring Importance One Of Washington Post S Books To Read In February One Of USA Today S Must Read Books Of Winter One Of Publishers Weekly S Top Ten Spring Memoirs BiographiesTheirs Was A Three Decade Long Bond That, Than Any Other Pairing, Would Forge The United States Vastly Different Men, Benjamin Franklin An Abolitionist Freethinker From The Urban North And George Washington A Slavehold Ing General From The Agrarian South Were The Indispensable Authors Of American Independence And The Two Key Partners In The Attempt To Craft A Perfect Union At The Constitutional Convention, Held In Franklin S Philadelphia And Presided Over By Washington And Yet Their Teamwork Has Been Little Remarked Upon In The Centuries SinceIlluminating Franklin And Washington S Relationship With Striking New Detail And Energy, Pulitzer Prize Winning Historian Edward J Larson Shows That Theirs Was Truly An Intimate Working Friendship That Amplified The Talents Of Each For Collective Advancement Of The American ProjectDuring The French And Indian War, Franklin Supplied The Wagons For General Edward Braddock S Ill Fated Assault On Fort Duquesne, And Washington Buried The General S Body Under The Dirt Road Traveled By Those Retreating Wagons After Long Sup Porting British Rule, Both Became Key Early Proponents Of Inde Pendence Rekindled During The Second Continental Congress In , Their Friendship Gained Historical Significance During The American Revolution, When Franklin Led America S Diplomatic Mission In Europe Securing Money And An Alliance With France And Washington Commanded The Continental Army Victory Required Both Of These Efforts To Succeed, And Success, In Turn, Required Their Mutual Coordination And Cooperation In The S, The Two Sought To Strengthen The Union, Leading To The Framing And Ratification Of The Constitution, The Founding Document That Bears Their StampFranklin And Washington The Two Most Revered Figures In The Early Republic Staked Their Lives And Fortunes On The American Experiment In Liberty And Were Committed To Its Preservation Today The United States Is The World S Great Super Power, And Yet We Also Wrestle With The Government Franklin And Washington Created Than Two Centuries Ago The Power Of The Executive Branch, The Principle Of Checks And Balances, The Electoral College As Well As The Wounds Of Their Compromise Over Slavery Now, As The Founding Institutions Appear Under New Stress, It Is Time To Understand Their Origins Through The Fresh Lens Of Larson S Franklin Washington, A Major Addition To The Literature Of The Founding Era With a critical presidential election less than nine months away, millions of Americans are looking for guidance before they cast what might be the most important vote of a lifetime Perhaps they would be wise to turn their attention from the din of social media to American history for both reassurance and inspiration A good starting point in their search could be Pulitzer Prize winning historian Edward J Larson s FRANKLIN WASHINGTON The Founding Partnership, an impressive joint survey of the lives of the indispensable authors of American independence and the two key partners in the attempt to craft a perfect union Aimed at the general reader and, given the accomplishments of both men, eschewing any attempt at comprehensiveness, Larson s account comprises three acts The first focused on the French and Indian War examines the foundation of his subjects relationship, one that endured for than three decades, and their connections in the period before the American Revolution In the second section, Larson recounts their respective roles Washington on the battlefield and Franklin mostly in European diplomacy in achieving what must have seemed to both at many moments an improbable victory in the Revolutionary War Finally, he analyzes their contributions to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution of the new American nation, with particular attention to their divergent views on the issue of slavery.Emerging a generation apart from two radically different backgrounds Franklin the 15th of 17 children of a working class Boston family, who left home at age 17, eventually landing in Philadelphia where he made his fortune in the printing business, and Washington, the scion of a well to do family of Virginia planters at first they would seem to share few traits that would allow them to work shoulder to shoulder on the patriot cause Indeed, the two did not meet until 1755, when Franklin was already 49 years old, and Washington was just beginning to emerge as a public figure as a result of his military exploits on America s western frontier But as Larson demonstrates, they shared a republican ideology and progressivist faith that relied on human reason and divine providence rather than traditional ways and established dogmas They sought truth and accepted facts Life could get better, they believed Theirs did Following on the drama of the eight year long Revolutionary War when Washington masterminded a disorganized and chronically underfunded army to achieve victory over the world s most imposing military force, while Franklin deployed his considerable skill as a negotiator to secure France s decisive support for the war effort the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, to which Larson devotes a great deal of attention, may seem arid by comparison Yet it was in those debates that the foundation of an enduring republic was laid, along with the roots of some of the controversies notably, the conflicts between large and small states that define our politics to this day.Chief among those controversies was slavery, the issue that Larson argues shaped the Constitution On this issue, the views of Franklin and Washington could not have been divergent Washington, the owner of Mount Vernon, was master to some 300 slaves, ones he treated with barely a modicum of kindness Though the urbanite Franklin at one time owned a handful of house slaves, his views on the issue evolved over his long life, culminating with his assumption of the presidency of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society just before the opening of the Constitutional Convention.Franklin was nothing if not a pragmatist, and for all his principled opposition to the evil of slavery, he realized that some form of compromise, however odious it might be to him personally, had to be reached if the states had any hope of achieving the unity he had believed, since crafting the Albany Plan of Union in 1754 was essential to the growth of a new nation Though the Constitution as ratified granted slaves only 60 percent personhood and barred any attempt at abolition before 1808, Franklin persisted in attempts to restrict slavery between the date of ratification and his death in 1790, an effort that served to confirm his benevolent, philanthropic, and forward looking nature Larson, who already has produced two books about Washington and another on the Constitutional Convention, is unabashedly sympathetic toward his subjects, though it appears he has a special affection for Franklin, the Renaissance man whose accomplishments in science, literature and philanthropy he touches on only briefly Washington, he writes, governed with a granite, tight lipped self control that made him the stoic father figure for a nation that adopted Franklin as its favorite uncle Despite their differences on substance and in style, theirs was a relationship of mutual admiration and respect, as each recognized the other s goodness and greatness While fully reckoning with their shortcomings, Larson is intent on leaving the reader with portraits that reveal both Franklin and Washington as extraordinary leaders Despite their flaws, he writes, Franklin and Washington have held up better under examination than most leaders of any age Theirs was the founding partnership that launched a nation Facing the far different perils of our own age, is it too much to expect our current leaders, as these two men did, to rise to the challenges the times pose to them Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg Larson groups two founding fathers together in an unusual combination, Franklin and Washington Both would become larger than life They had simllar outlooks and convictions about the burgeoning republic The best chapter is about the constitutional convention However, most of the information Larson provided in the book lacks originality Most of it has been covered in other biographies of the two Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the advance copy. Franklin and Washington the founding partnership, by Edward J Larson William Morrow, 2020 For much of this book I was not impressed Franklin and Washington spent a lot of time not knowing or later not being in contact with one another the linkage between them seemed forced But eventually I saw the light Larson is saying that the two of them not just Washington were the essential men for the creation of the United States This is a combination of short but astute biographies, describing each of their lives and how they rose Franklin was almost by definition the self made man After the apprenticeship with his brother and his elopement to Philadelphia, he built his successful printing business, gained notice as a writer, was chosen for increasingly important posts in Pennsylvania, and worked constantly as a scientist and inventor He earned enough money that he was able to retire from business in his early 40s and devote his life to philosophy, government, and discovery He was famous Washington came from landed gentry and married very well But as a youth he was ambitious and bold, commanding an expedition to the Forks of the Ohio eventually Pittsburgh , where he attacked a French mission but later was outmaneuvered and forced to surrender to French and Indian forces, signing a letter in French that he did not understand that later proved to be quite embarrassing But he published his journals and began making a name for himself as a heroic young Virginian His goal was to become a commissioned British officer, but learned through bitter experience that the British considered the colonials a contemptible force He served in Braddock s expedition to punish the French, and warned the general that he did not know how to fight in American forests When Braddock s force was ultimately defeated, it was Washington who organized the successful retreat Now he became famous Each of the two men gradually understood that the British would not treat the colonists as equals They both tried to prevent the conflict Franklin was sent to England to plead the colonists cause, and was greeted and seen as an important diplomat But he too was ultimately humiliated, by his treatment in Parliament As the years passed the two men corresponded, and occasionally met Each knew the other as an important figure, first in the drive for independence, then during the war Washington eventually learning generalship, Franklin successfully gaining financial and military support from the French , and then in the creation of the Constitution both wanted a strong central government, not just a collection of states They were never great friends, but better perhaps they were allies in the important work of creating the United States A quick read, with some good color plates.https www.harpercollins.com 9780062 I really loved this book It covered over 30 years of their friendship I loved the part where Franklin invented some sort of chair that had a pedal on it that once it was pumped a fan would go around Once Washington saw it he wanted one so Franklin made one for him The book has all kinds of interesting things in it and well worth the read. I didn t really want to read another book about the Revolutionary War and the creation of the republic The paring of Franklin and Washington was really just a device to lure readers like me into this book, and to rehash history The book was fine, but it wasn t what I was expecting 3.5 stars 3.5 stars Interesting concept The friendship and partnership of founding Americans Ben Franklin and George Washington is an overlooked and crucial piece of history This book is a great review of the events that transpired in and related to the American colonies from about 1750 1800 It s a helpful chronology, it brings in other key players without overwhelming the reader with too many to keep track of, and it successfully weaves in Franklin s and Washington s separate and joint contributions The main focuses are the Revolution and the Constitution, unsurprisingly.I find it so interesting how hard it is for historians to denounce Washington vis vis slavery Even when they are grappling with his enthusiastic support and use of the cruel institution, and going so far as to question and criticize ol Geo W., they just can t stop from talking about how he managed to be great in the sense of significant They are so rarely able to just write a scathing critique There are many fun facts herein, and I gained an even deeper understanding of Franklin, always enjoyable. Pretty much everyone knows that Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were prime movers and shakers both pre and post the American revolution and that their work did as much as any human efforts to shape this country Libraries of books have been published about both of them Hours of instruction have been spent exploring their lives and writings What, then, you might ask yourself, as I did myself, does the world need with still Edward J Larson answers the question in fairly short order, but I m going to lead here with what I found his most trenchant point, even though it occurs near the end of the book The matter of Slavery The debates about slavery and the constitution are pretty well known The argument about the relative influence of large states and small states became intertwined with with how to count slaves On the one hand, the people you have in your state, the greater your influence in the house of representatives On the other hand, if slaves were property and not really people, how could you count them at all The 3 5 compromise whereby each slave counted as 60% of a person for census purposes was the result Thus was the nation founded on a logically absurd, not to mention inhumane, premise.Most writers pass this off as a sort condition of the times with little consequence than knee britches and cocked hats That s always bothered me, and Larson is the first historian I ve read who takes it head on.There was a thriving and powerful abolitionist movement in the colonies, not the least of which was based in Franklin s Pennsylvania The movement recognized slavery as a hideous wrong, and he was part of the faction who opposed it.Even though he had some house slaves over the years, he had freed them by the time of the revolution and he had argued eloquently against notions of Negro inferiority The constitutional debates were filled with vitriolic rhetoric on both sides of the issue Most memorable for me was the remark Larson quotes by one of our most quoted orators The same man who called, Give me liberty or give me death, when the time came to toss out the Articles of Confederation, yelled to all and sundryThey Will Free Your Niggers Such eloquence from a scion of the enlightenment, no The final document this I did not know forbad even discussing, let alone acting on, the question of slavery until 1808, twenty years after the nation would be established Thus did these courageous men turn into cowards when confronted with the deepest moral conflict of their time And dare I say we are still paying the price.Though urged by close friends to free his slaves, Washington could not bring himself to do so during his life, instead leaving manumission to a time after his wife had died I might also mention that Jefferson, too, brilliant though he was, couldn t quite figure out how to let go of his mistress chattel Sally Hemings or her his, too, of course mixed race children Such a dilemma Poor guy.But back to the other 250 pages or so of Franklin and Washington I ve done a fair amount of reading on the period, and Larson is certainly correct in stating that despite their separate accomplishments, no one has much explored how the relationship between the two men began, developed, and influenced this particular course of human events That Washington was a surveyor is fairly well known That he used his surveying work to get the inside scoop on available land and thus build his freehold far beyond what it would have otherwise been is much less known At least to me Nothing wrong with that In a system of primogeniture, the third son competing with not only two brothers but a couple of half brothers needed every advantage he could get.Franklin had it just as bad or worse, trailing in birth behind five older brothers He was every bit as enterprising as Washington, but chose, as most of us know, to write, print, publish, and invest rather than to join the landed gentry Or, as Washington did, to join the military.Both became prominent in their own ways and undoubtedly knew of one another, but their paths ran parallel for decades without significantly touching one another Franklin being twenty years the senior , finally converging during first continental congress in 1774.Astoundingly, Franklin was sixty nine at that time, yet still had the energy to exercise leadership far beyond the capabilities and energy of lesser and younger men.Washington had built himself a considerable military reputation as a British officer, had married well, and had become a man of property and influence.How could two men with such disparate skills, separated by a generation of years and constellation of life experiences, work together amid the crises that finally resulted in a group of ragtag colonies defeating the army of the world s preeminent war machine Larson doesn t make it explicit, but it seems obvious that their different backgrounds and styles complemented one another Washington, the stalwart soldier, tall, commanding, accustomed to being listened to and obeyed Franklin, the convivial joiner, intellect, scientist, founder of discussion groups on every conceivable subject The theorist as well as a practical realist who founded libraries, invented machines and spectacles, and created homespun mottoes to live by.Washington could command a room simply by walking through the door Franklin could start a conversation with about anyone on any subject And do it a at least two languages Thus a diplomat and a general The revolution needed both Washington appears in our mythology in full military regalia Franklin dared to look rather ridiculous in a fur hat that enthralled the French and their romantic image of America when he was ambassador The revolution needed both And, though the two men apparently were never really hugs and loving close, they formed a potent team that had as much to do not only with the success of the revolution but in reflecting and even forming the character that became us.