The 70-year-old statesman lived the high life in Paris and pulled off a diplomatic miracle
The Revolution’s Second Toughest Job
One of his least-known contributions to modern life is also one of his most important
The French helped us win our Revolution. A few years later we were at war with Napoleon’s navy. The two countries have been falling in and out of love ever since. Why?
More than two decades before the Revolution broke out, a group of Americans voted on a scheme to unite the colonies. For the rest of his life, Benjamin Franklin thought it could have prevented the war. It didn’t—but it did give us our Constitution.
FRANKLIN FLIES A KITE
THE STRANGE FORGOTTEN LIFE OF AMERICA’S OTHER BEN FRANKLIN, BY AN AUTHOR SO FASCINATED HE’S WRITING A NOVEL ABOUT HIM
When the French Revolution broke out two hundred years ago this month, Americans greeted it enthusiastically. After all, without the French we could never have become free. But the cheers faded as the brutality of the convulsion emerged—and we saw we were still only a feeble newborn facing a giant, intimidating world power.
Only one man would have had the wit, the audacity, and the self-confidence to make the case
James Wilson was an important but now obscure draftsman of the Constitution. Carry Wills is a journalist and historian fascinated by what went on in the minds of our founders. The two men meet in an imaginary dialogue across the centuries.
THE AMERICAN BALD EAGLE
“I … sigh in the midst of cheerful company”
“It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling should continue so long in vogue,” said Benjamin Franklin. Yet continue it did, often with peculiarly American variations
Rakehells, men of good will, adventurers, and bunglers were all in the glittering pageant when the Old World came to help out the New
OF BALLOONS, THE FIRST AIR-MAIL LETTERS, AND THE EVER-ENTERPRISING FRANKLIN FAMILY
“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature , since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do’