Talk: Benjamin Franklin’s influence at the Constitutional Convention

Dr Nicholas Cole is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford University, who specialises in the political thought of early America and the creation of America’s political institutions. He leads the Quill Project, an interdisciplinary project which studies the processes of negotiation that created America’s political system. Their flagship project is a digital model of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, which provides an opportunity to reassess the importance of Franklin’s role in the creation of the American Federal System.

Wednesday 17 October, 6.30pm

£6/per person

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Franklin & Grant: Americans Against Slavery

Franklin & Grant: Americans Against Slavery

2018 Benjamin Franklin House Robert H. Smith Lecture in American Democracy- Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Director, Benjamin Franklin House 

Franklin and Grant, two American historical figures not traditionally linked, traversed similar paths to fervent antislavery conviction, both of whom left an important imprint on American democracy.

The last public role of 18th century entrepreneur, author, scientist, diplomat and nation builder, Benjamin Franklin, was President of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery (1789- 1790). Franklin made a trajectory from acceptance to outspoken opponent of slavery by the end of his life. He rallied against abhorrent inhumanity for the enslaved and forecast a terrible toll for the new United States, a prediction borne out by the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Brilliant military general and eventual President, Ulysses S. Grant, traversed similar ground on the question of slavery. Though born into an anti-slavery family, he was initially apathetic, marrying into a slave-holding Southern family, but came to see moral purpose in perhaps his greatest role, as victor in the war that restored the American union.

Dr. Márcia Balisciano, historian and founding director of Benjamin Franklin House, will show the connections between two American leaders who left an indelible mark on modern America.

Thursday 4 October

Tickets to be booked through the Eccles Centre for American Studies, British Library

More details to follow

Fireworks, Franklin & the Fourth

In the run up to American Independence Day, Dr. Simon Werret will explore fireworks in Benjamin Franklin’s time, highlighting the differences and similarities between celebrating with in 18th century Britain and America. Simon will reveal how Franklin’s famous electricity experiments are connected to the history of fireworks.

Thursday June 28, 6.30pm

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Festive Candlelit Tours

Step back in time and experience the House in true eighteenth-century style this winter, with our festive candlelit tours. Mulled wine and mince pies in Franklin’s parlour before exploring the House and its unique history.

Thursday 6 December, 6.30pm

Thursday 13 December, 6,30pm

Thursday 20 December, 6.30pm

£10/per person

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Thanksgiving Dinner

An American Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings will take place at magnificent Clothworkers’ Hall. Roast turkey (and stuffing and vegetables and of course pumpkin pie) will be a highlight.  Franklin, in addition to suggesting the turkey become one of America’s national symbols, practised cooking it as part of his early work on electricity.

Thursday 22 November, 7.30pm

Tickets: £90/Adults £50/Children

Further details or to book email info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org

The US Elections, Washington Politics and the Prospects for 2020

At a time when there seem to be few fixed points on the political landscape it might seem that election results at least can provide fixed points from which to look at the current and potential future of party politics in the USA. Philip Davies- Professor Emeritus of American Studies, De Montfort University and Former Director, Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library- will reflect on the lessons that can be taken from the US elections of Tuesday 6th November and whether they provide a reasonable lens through which to look forward to 2020.

Wednesday 14 November, 6.30pm

£6/per person

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Museums at Night- The Craven Street Bones

Explore the darker side of the 18th century’s pursuit of knowledge with the team at Benjamin Franklin House. As you make your way through the Grade I, Georgian building you’ll discover why over 1200 bones were unearthed in the basement. Drink included.

Saturday 27 October, 6pm and 8pm

£10/per person

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Concordia Concert

We will be hosting an evening in keeping with Franklin’s love of 18th century music in association with our Craven Street neighbours, the Concordia Foundation, which serves young musicians. Join us for a concert featuring the string quartet, Zelkova Quartet.

Wednesday 20 June, 7pm

£25/per person, includes refreshments