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Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history. It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world. Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
 
Explore the rich history of our past through the lens of our military institutions. From the settlement of North America to the present, this podcast encompasses traditional military history and goes the extra step to address the evolution of ideas and institutions. Join us!
 
The JuntoCast is a monthly podcast about early American history. Each episode features a roundtable discussion by academic historians, Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and guest panelists, exploring a single aspect of early American history in depth. The JuntoCast brings the current knowledge of academic historians to a broad audience in an informal, conversational format that is intellectually engaging, educational, and entertaining.
 
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show series
 
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 Protestants made their peace with death during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Erik Seem…
 
When we think of the Civil War, the titanic struggles that occurred in the mid-Atlantic states and the southeast comes to mind. What is largely forgotten was what was occurring in the American West. From 1862 through the end of the war, there were clashes in the upper Midwest with the Sioux in Minnesota, in the Southwest with the Apache and Navajo …
 
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 do we know about Juneteenth and its origins? Annette Gordon-Reed, an award-winning historian at Harvard Uni…
 
Geographically, to this point, most of our focus has been on the campaigns in the Mississippi River Valley and the mid-Atlantic states. In this episode we explore what was happening in the far west. In 1862, a Confederate force launched an offensive into the territory of New Mexico. The plan was bold, but risky. The Confederates were going to depen…
 
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 America. Matthew Powell, a historian of slavery and southern history and the Executive Director of the La P…
 
In this episode we return to the sea and look at what was going on to stem the tide of Confederate blockade runners and commerce raiders. Knowing that Union commerce was vulnerable, a small number of Confederate raiders made their reputations known around the world. Confederate raiders were enough of a problem to ratchet up insurance rates and caus…
 
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 about? What are vaccination’s connections to smallpox inoculation? And how did news and practice of vaccinati…
 
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 the next two episodes, we’ll explore smallpox in North America. We’ll investigate how smallpox came to Nort…
 
The Civil War was as much as struggle to keep armies supplied as it was to vanquish an adversary. Logistics during the Civil War had many modern qualities, in particular, using railroads to supply and move armies around the country. Both the Union and the Confederacy used their railroad networks to keep their armies fed. Unfortunately, the Confeder…
 
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 scholars. What do they think? Join the celebration to discover more about Early America and take a behind-…
 
The great leveler in the Civil War, or any war for that matter, is getting wounded or killed on the battlefield. In this episode we focus on what was going through a soldier's mind as they prepared for battle. We also discuss the medical establishment and how they handled wounded, and preventing disease. While we tend to see Civil War medicine thro…
 
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 time and place, their similarities can reveal important social connections, trade relationships, or cultur…
 
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 produce various products? Lindsay Schakenbach Regele has. Lindsay is an Associate Professor of History at Miami…
 
In this episode we will return to our mini-series on the experiences of ordinary soldiers with a focus on camp life, food, and recreation. For a majority of the men who served, military life was foreign. Experiences in camp and training molded these men into soldiers. Thankfully, due to a rise in literacy, we have a rich tapestry of memoirs, letter…
 
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 peoples by the means of negotiation, bad-faith dealing, war, and violence. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 is d…
 
Is there anything more we can know about well-researched and reported events like the Boston Massacre? Are there new ways of looking at oft-taught events that can help us see new details about them, even 250 years after they happened? Serena Zabin, a Professor of History at Carleton College in Minnesota and the author of the award-winning book, The…
 
We are taking a break from battles and leaders and looking at the men who composed the armies of the North and the South during the Civil War. This episode will be the first of several that look at the lives of the ordinary soldiers. It seems appropriate to start with a broad overview of the motivations that compelled men to serve. On the flip side…
 
What does it take to create a museum? How can a museum help visitors grapple with a very uncomfortable aspect of their nation’s past? Ibrahima Seck, a member of the History Department at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, author of the book, Bouki Fait Gombo: A History of the Slave Community of Habitation Haydel (Whitney Plantation)…
 
1862 started off well for the Union. As the year progressed, their hopes were dashed as the Confederates bested the Army of the Potomac at the gates of Richmond, Virginia, and at the end of the year in front of Fredericksburg. Even with a new commander, Ambrose Burnside, Robert E. Lee proved to be an impressive opponent. In the west, even though Br…
 
When we think of important years in the history of the American Revolution, we might think of years like 1765 and the Stamp Act Crisis, 1773 and the Tea Crisis, 1775 and the start of what would become the War for American Independence, or 1776, the year the United States declared independence. Award-winning historian Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donl…
 
When we last covered the western theater, the focus was on the pivotal battle at Shiloh. After focusing on the east, we now return to the west. In the aftermath of Shiloh, Grant was replaced with Henry Halleck. Halleck was far too slow in continuing the advance to Corinth, Mississippi and he was booted up the chain to Washington DC. In the interim,…
 
How did Jamaica grow to become the "crown jewel" of the British Atlantic World? Part of the answer is that Jamaica’s women served as some of the most ardent and best supporters of the island’s practice of slavery. Christine Walker, an Assistant Professor of History at the Yale-NUS College in Singapore and the author of the award-winning book, Jamai…
 
The bloodiest single day of the Civil War occurred at Antietam, outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Despite the intelligence find of lifetime (Lee's orders to his army), General McClellan's caution overtook him as he closed on Lee, wasting an opportunity. Nevertheless, Lee and McClellan clashed along Antietam Creek in September, 1862. McClellan, attac…
 
What was everyday life like for those who lived in early America? To understand the everyday lives of early Americans we need to look at the goods they made and how they produced those goods. In essence, nothing explains the everyday as much as the goods in people’s lives. Glenn Adamson, author of Craft: An American History, joins us to investigate…
 
Lee's victory over George B. McClellan in front of Richmond sealed Lee's reputation. With McClellan disgraced, Lincoln turned to John Pope who assembled an army along the Rappahannock River. Lee formulated a plan that would lever him out of his position by attacking his supply depot at Manassas. The bold plan worked and Pope was defeated. Lee consi…
 
This episode is a companion episode to the 2-episode World of the Wampanoag series. This bonus episode allows us to speak with two guests from the World of the Wampanoag series: Jade Luiz, Curator of Collections at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums, and Lorén Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum in Rhode Island. Both Jade and Lorén help us e…
 
Before New England was New England, it was the Dawnland. A region that remains the homeland of numerous Native American peoples, including the Wampanoag. When the English colonists arrived at Patuxet 400 years ago, they arrived at a confusing time. The World of the Wampanoag people had changed in the wake of a destabilizing epidemic. This episode i…
 
Before New England was New England, it was the Dawnland. A region that remains the homeland of numerous Native American peoples, including the Wampanoag. Over the next two episodes, we’ll explore the World of the Wampanoag before and after 1620, a year that saw approximately 100 English colonists enter the Wampanoags’ world. Those English colonists…
 
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