Fostering the "pursuit of happiness" was an avowed purpose of the American Revolution, but what was the phrase to mean in practice? How would the new society being created achieve what Enlightenment egalitarians called the "common good"? In this dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, Jeffery A. Smith examines the careers of two of the most prominent journalists to advocate what became known as Jeffersonian republicanism. Franklin used his writings to encourage the kind of conscientious and public-spirited behavior he thought necessary if the majority of people were to secure free and prosperous lives. He impressed these ideals on Bache as he supervised his education in three countries and established him as a printer-publisher in Philadelphia. In the 1790s, as Federalists and Republicans battled over the course the United States would take in national and international affairs, Franklin's carefully indoctrinated protege became Jefferson's confidant and most fierce journalistic supporter. Franklin and Bache were among those envisioning a nation where liberty, learning, and a more even distribution of wealth would inaugurate a new epoch in human history. Published on the 200th anniversary of Franklin's death, this careful study offers a much-needed illumination of early American aspirations for a democratic future.
- Publication Date:
- 05 / 07 / 1990