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“An American” (1775-1790)

Season 1 Episode 2 | 1hr 54m 59s

Benjamin Franklin leaves London and returns to wartime Philadelphia where he joins Congress and helps Thomas Jefferson craft the Declaration of Independence. In Paris, he wins French support for the American Revolution then negotiates a peace treaty with Britain. He spends his last years in the new United States, working on the Constitution and unsuccessfully promoting the abolition of slavery.

Aired: 04/04/22 | Expires: 04/25/22
Corporate funding for BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and its members Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; University of Pennsylvania; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; Perry and Donna Golkin; Kissick Family Foundation; Deborah and Jon Dawson; Diane and Hal Brierley; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Cappy and Janie McGarr; Lavender Butterfly Fund; and Susan and Charles Shanor Charitable Trust.
The Treaty of Paris ended a war, secured Independence and created an Empire.
Franklin studied electricity and proved lightning’s electrical nature with a key and kite.
Enslaved Philadelphia residents worked in businesses and homes, including Franklin’s.
A visit to a school for Black children challenged Franklin’s racial prejudices.
As impasse threatened the Constitutional Convention, Franklin appealed for Compromise.
Late in life, Franklin petitioned Congress to end slavery in the United States.
Franklin and Adams frustrated each other in France with opposing approaches to diplomacy.
Franklin’s musical invention, the armonica, became a sensation in Europe.
Franklin’s first published essays were printed under a pseudonym—Silence Dogood.
The American Revolution tore families apart, including the Franklins.
After success as a Philadelphia printer Benjamin Franklin earns worldwide fame in science.
After success as a Philadelphia printer Benjamin Franklin earns worldwide fame in science.