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Ben Franklin's World

A weekly Society, Culture and History podcast featuring Liz Covart
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Episodes of Ben Franklin's World

The first Jewish colonists in North America arrived in 1654. From that moment, Jews worked to build and contribute to early American society and the birth of the United States. Gemma Birnbaum and Melanie Meyers, the Executive Director and Direc
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. This purchase included the important port city of New Orleans. But the United States did not just acquire the city’s land, peoples, and wealth– the American government al
What has enabled the American experiment in democracy to endure for nearly 250 years? What is it about early American history that captivates peoples’ attention and makes them want to support the creation of historical scholarship and the shari
The Massachusetts Historical Society has a podcast! In this bonus episode of Ben Franklin's World, we'll introduce you to The Object of History, with a full-episode preview of "Episode 4: A Miniature Portrait of Elizabeth Freeman." For more inf
We rejoin Colin Calloway, Professor of History and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, in this bonus episode so he can answer more of your questions about Native American experiences in early American cities. Show Notes: https://www.b
Have you ever considered early American cities as places where Native Americans lived, worked, and visited? Native Americans often visited early American cities and port towns, especially the towns and cities that dotted the Atlantic seaboard o
Welcome to OI Reads, an occasional series on Ben Franklin's World where we introduce you to new books that we'll think you love and that are published by the Omohundro Institute. Using details from her book, The Strange Genius of Mr. O, Carolyn
You know “America’s favorite fighting Frenchman” is the Marquis de Lafayette. But what do you know about Lafayette and his life? How and why did this French-born noble end up fighting in the American Revolution? Mike Duncan, a self-described hi
The transatlantic slave trade dominated in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. But by 1808, a different slave trade came to dominate in the young United States, the domestic or internal slave trade.
 Joshua D. Rothman, an award-wi
Investigations of the American Revolution often include explorations of politics, ideology, trade and taxation, imperial control, and social strife. What about religion? What role did religion play in the American Revolution? Katherine Carté, a
To understand early American history, we need to investigate and understand North America as an Indigenous space. A place where Native American populations, politics, religion, and trade networks prevailed for centuries before and after the arr
By the eighteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean had become a busy highway of ships crisscrossing its waters. What do we know about the ships that made these transatlantic voyages and connected the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world through
The story of freedom in colonial New Orleans and Louisiana pivoted on the choices black women made to retain control of their bodies, families, and futures. How did black women in colonial Louisiana navigate French and Spanish black and slavery
In Episode 307, Michael Hattem helped us investigate the role history played in the American Revolution and the ways early historians used history as a tool to unite Americans as one people after the Revolution. This bonus episode brings us bac
The story of the founding of the United States is a familiar one. It usually (but not always) begins with the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, describes the founding and development of thirteen British North American colonies
The words of the Declaration of Independence are not the only aspect of the American Revolution that carry power. Visual and material objects from during and after the Revolution also carry power and meaning. Objects like monuments, uniforms, m
Death is one of the few universals in life. Everyone who is born, will die. How do the living make peace with death? While different cultures make peace with death in different ways, Erik Seeman joins us to investigate how white, American Prote
Juneteenth is a state holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865, the day slavery ended in Texas. Over the last decade, a push to make Juneteenth a national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States has gained momentum. What d
The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the home of many different peoples, cultures, and empires during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to some historians, the Gulf Coast region may have been the most diverse region in early North A
Before its eradication in 1980, smallpox was the most feared disease in many parts of the world. Known as the “king of terrors” and the “disease of diseases” the search for a way to lessen and avoid smallpox was on! How did vaccination come abo
Smallpox was the most feared disease in North America and in many parts of the world before its eradication in 1980. So how did early Americans live with smallpox and work to prevent it? How did they help eradicate this terrible disease? Over t
What do historians wish more people better understood about early American history and why do they wish people had that better understanding? In celebration of the 300th episode of Ben Franklin’s World, we posed these questions to more than 30
What can a portrait reveal about the history of colonial British America? Portraits were both deeply personal and yet collaborative artifacts left behind by people of the past. When historians look at multiple portraits created around the same
Have you ever stopped to think about how the United States became a manufacturing nation? Have you ever wondered how the United States developed not just products, but the technologies, knowledge, and machinery necessary to manufacture or produ
The history of Native American land dispossession is as old as the story of colonization. European colonists came to the Americas, and the Caribbean, wanting land for farms and settlement so they found ways to acquire lands from indigenous peop
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