Benjamin Franklin, Genius of Kites, Flights and Voting Rights

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About the Book

This unconventional biography of Benjamin Franklin, the great American Renaissance man, explores examples of Franklin’s diverse genius and accomplishments in different fields.
Among the topics explored are Franklin’s views on women’s issues, such as disapproving of impractical hoopskirts, supporting their education, and suggesting insurance for widows and spinsters. It describes his love of a good hoax, contributions to ballooning while an ambassador in France, experiments with the famous kite, and advances in heating houses. His work with money is also covered, including methods of printing money to confuse counterfeiters, a revolutionary way of making a print of a real leaf, and his updated portrait on the present $100 bill. Franklin’s role as head of a commission to examine (and debunk) mesmerism is addressed.
No stranger to controversy, Franklin headed the first successful attempt to unify the colonies to create a country. This work shows that Franklin is more responsible than any other for the founding of the United States—and also that he was a leading cause of the French Revolution, providing the French with an example of a successful rebellion, lessons on how to shift power from the king, and ideas about erecting a constitutional government (in addition, he weakened the French royal treasury by extracting loans and gifts to support America).

About the Author(s)

Seymour Stanton Block is a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Seymour Stanton Block
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, chronology, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1942-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8024-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Introduction      3

Chronology      5

1. Benjamin Franklin’s Greatest Invention      15

2. The Mystery of Polly Baker      43

3. Benjamin Franklin at the Dawn of the Space Age      63

4. That Famous Kite      78

5. That Famous Stove      109

6. Benjamin Franklin and the French Revolution      135

7. Benjamin Franklin, Money Maker      151

8. Detergents, Emulsions, and Foams      178

9. The Hypnotist      207

10. America’s First Senior Citizen      227

Notes      249

Index      259