Segments in this Video

Benjamin Franklin: The Making of a Revolutionary—Introduction (00:54)


Benjamin Franklin was once an aristocrat who considered himself more of an Englishman than an American. This film demonstrates how he finally came to oppose English control of America.

Correspondence (04:13)

Franklin reads a letter written to Catharine Ray. Hear the letter Franklin wrote to Catharine Ray and facts about the correspondence. Franklin had a reputation as a womanizer and flirt; he enjoyed mentoring younger women.

Franklin Returns to England (03:24)

Franklin and his son William travel to England at the behest of the colony of Pennsylvania. They were received as guests of high society and the aristocracy.

Franklin's Crucial Mission (03:32)

Franklin went to England to petition the government for a solution to the Penn family's exploitation of the colony of Pennsylvania. Hear Franklin's and Thomas Penn's words about their dispute.

Franklin's Connections (02:59)

Franklin spent his time in England pursing scientific and philosophical hobbies, and his mission from Pennsylvania. He met with notable thinkers like David Hume, Joseph Priestley and William Strahan.

Dr. Franklin (03:18)

Franklin received honorary doctorates from two universities. He spent many years away from his family pursuing his interests. Hear a letter Deborah Franklin wrote.

Serving the British Empire (04:29)

William Franklin became spoiled and lazy due to his exposure to British high society. Franklin used his contacts to gain his son the position of Royal Governor of New Jersey; a coup for the American colonies.

Stamp Tax (04:48)

in 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Tax Act and the colonies erupted in anger. Franklin made political gaffes and Deborah defended her home from a riotous mob. Franklin used the press to fight against the stamp tax.

Inventor and Mediator (03:09)

Franklin invented the glass harmonica; an instrument which remained famous throughout his lifetime. In addition to pursuing his inventing, Franklin attempted mediation between American and British interests.

Franklin's Autobiography (04:36)

In 1771, Franklin, suffering from gout and other ailments, retreated to a country estate and began to write. He treated his autobiography as though writing a treatise on pursuing success and morality.

Crumbling Empire (03:16)

Distrust for the crown increased in the colonies; Franklin thought he could save the situation by resorting to political tricks. They backfire and he was blamed for the fomenting rebellion in the colonies.

Franklin Faces the Privy Council (03:57)

Franklin was blamed for the problems in the colonies. The event changed his political leanings. Deborah dies before he can return to America.

Colonies in Turmoil (07:53)

Franklin returned to America. On his voyage across the Atlantic, he maps the gulf stream current. He began pursuing a path of independence for the American colonies. William goes against his father; a crushing blow to Benjamin.

Flawed Leader (02:57)

William was imprisoned by the new American government; Franklin never forgave his son. Openly signing the Declaration of Independence lost Franklin the respect of many of his scholarly peers.

Credits: Benjamin Franklin: The Making of a Revolutionary (01:05)

Credits: Benjamin Franklin: The Making of a Revolutionary

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Benjamin Franklin: The Making of a Revolutionary

Part of the Series : Benjamin Franklin
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Benjamin Franklin is outgrowing the colonies; when Pennsylvania asks him to go to England on official business, he jumps at the chance. Accompanied by his beloved son, William, Franklin takes up residence in London and a new persona emerges. He indulges himself with the finest clothes, lavish food, abundant wine and all the other trappings of a gentleman. He also meets intellectual peers among Europe's leading figures in science, philosophy and letters. Franklin's devoted wife, Deborah, who has become accustomed to his long absences, maintains his business and his position in Philadelphia. All of that is threatened as Franklin finds himself in the middle of a growing series of disputes between England and her American colonies. A fervent champion of the British Empire, Franklin struggles as a conciliator, but the English blame him for inciting rebellion in America and he is called to account before His Majesty's Privy Council. It is a turning point. Franklin turns his back on Britain and sets sail for America, arriving just after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Working with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, he helps to draft the Declaration of Independence. William, who serves as governor of New Jersey, remains loyal to the Crown. It is a betrayal that Franklin never forgives.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL131243

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

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