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September 27, 2022 3:00 am
On this episode of Our American Stories, the American Revolution split the nation… and Ben Franklin’s family. Join Daniel Mark Epstein, author of “The Loyal Son,” to learn more about the father-son split between Benjamin and William Franklin.
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This product is not intended to diagnose and treat, or cure any disease just around the corner of it all read the material level in a family-friendly sectional modern outside air conversations that overhaul the offense will make your home phone, functional and fabulous in-store Ashley.com today this is this is our American stories. We love to tell every kind of story here from art to sports business and of course, history, and we do this day in history. Every day we love books and we've done David McCullough and the Wright brothers and we've done that great great book about Mark Twain's last epic tour in his life to will get some money back because he been broke from so many adventures and misadventures in the stock market and business, and a book review caught our attention in the Wall Street Journal and the title was the Franklin house divided, and here's how it started on 4 July 1776 Benjamin Franklin was in Philadelphia, having helped to draft the Declaration of Independence, while his son, the governor of New Jersey was under arrest in Connecticut, having been branded an enemy of his country for persisting in his royal duties in opposing the revolution in less than a year, William Franklin would be taken to the notorious Litchfield growl a destination for, among others, traders who would abuse their privileges and lighter incarceration, and that led us to the guest that joins us now. The book review was for the loyal son war in Ben Franklin's house and Daniel Mark Epstein joins us now. Thanks for joining Austin and Daniel tell us what drew you this book will Franklin, I was a kid, most versatile American man who was a great inventor.
The first great scientist in terms of electricity and course. Everybody knows the story about Ben flying the kite and I remember seeing the woodcut of Benjamin Franklin fought flying the kite with his little boy. I wondered what would it be like to have Benjamin Franklin as a father amid a man who was not only a great inventor but created the militia in Pennsylvania in order to defend the frontier Indians and then created the first postal system in Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania. And then of course became one of the greatest American patriots during the revolution, but would you like that man's son and that of course I found out that Benjamin Franklin's only son was illegitimate pastor but that he was raised just as if he had been a legitimate son and the two of them were partners in politics and military affairs. Later, in diplomacy, so was an extraordinary father-son relationship and the fact that they went different ways during the revolution and the William Franklin became the governor the world governor New Jersey while his father Christmas grease patriot drove them apart and I thought what a tragedy it was a great story/he wrote a poem about this in the 1990s with me right now.
No minutes it was published long ago and as often happens because I was a poet before I became a biographer. Several of my poems have been transformed into the larger and more complete biographies that really stuck with me went from poetry to nonfiction, poetry's storytelling as well. And that's what you doing here talk to the listeners is that a lot of people don't know this about American history. This was no ductwork for ordinary Americans it split families split fathers and sons. Some people with the revolutionaries in the end the patriots summer with that with with the crown and some were just hiding under the table, hoping it would pass. This basically split up, particularly in the area where Franklin lived in Pennsylvania. The majority of people revolution and in fact, Benjamin Franklin, who in their work diplomacy in England tried to prevent the revolution was only after the British government became more more oppressive troops to Boston that Franklin finally became a patriot, fairly late in the game around 1775, for they both resisted the revolution as far as the numbers are concerned by 7717 76.
I would say of third of the American people were for the revolution of third were against it and the other third were just trying to blow with the wind and try to know, tried try to keep out of trouble and talk about now just briefly will will open up open up the lid on the next segment about this father-son conflict, but with the weather battles out in the streets. Was this client was the simmering what was that what was the climate like for folks day today. Obviously, Franklin, and it had something to do with newspapers as well talk about what it felt like dentist today. All we hear about is my goodness the climate today in America. It's just so hard my goodness. We have seen much tougher times in this country will sample during the riots in the streets and in Boston and Philadelphia and by seven and 75 of that was really open warfare in the streets of many cities over the over the tax. There are various tax collectors. People protecting them people attacking them and by 1776. There were these provincial committees of safety who would actually hold individuals accountable if they said anything that seem to be threatening to the movement for independence and this is the point where Gov. Franklin is the last world governor of New Jersey was defending defending the loyalist the people who protect the crown so it really was. It was a revolution in Civil War in the streets of the major cities all over all of America.
Indeed, it was our first morning. That's what I got from the book we had one before we had one.
This is the and this is Daniel Mark Epstein in his terrific book loyal son war in Ben Franklin's house more after these messages we have been here the host about American stories every day on the show were bringing inspiring stories from across this great country. Doors for big cities and small towns, but we truly can't do the show without our stories are free to listen to what they're not free to me if you love what you hear but L American stories.com and click the donate button give a little give a lot go to L American stories.com and get Tori and Johnny went to 10 MG podcasts we have such a special episode brought to you by near attack ODT we recorded at iHeartRadio and Windows came down near attack ODT were not apparent 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still set an exciting event like window tango. I had when I took minor attack ODT.
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Now we talked about briefly.
Daniel what Ben Franklin was like in his remarkable contributions this country. There were very few men with his biography maybe no American with his biography and let's talk about that Sonny said he was a master child talk about his life and how we got from being Ben Franklin son to the governor of the state and the work that many states back then extraordinary people talk about printer and a politician also was extraordinary. His military career and join join the king's army of age 15 and by the time he was 18 years old Capt. which was the highest rank, you could attain in America without paying for it. At that point retired from the Army, and his father got him a really good tutoring he started studying law in many work for his father in the legislature in the assembly of his political career. When his father got the job to go off to England as the agent for the assembly of Pennsylvania representing the family against the proprietors refused to be taxed with and in England.
His son grows very quickly, he went to the bar and got his law degree 20s and shortly after that was appointed to be the governor of New Jersey. So at that point in his life he was in his late 20s.
His father was 50 is mid 50s.
He was even more powerful in the government that his father was an extraordinary career. So let's get down to this conflict to me.
By the time we get to the Stamp Act. As we've indicated before, the country was in pretty much open rebellion in the Civil War was brewing and William took the stand and then took the stand and talk about their final meeting in particular was remarkable before we get to that build up to that if we can set up that I think almost just tragic scene between father and son. It's really extraordinary extent to which the two men were living in different worlds because 75 years before the actual Declaration of Independence had been living in America.
He was the governor of New Jersey and New Jersey for more than a decade and trying to represent the king's interest in America and trying to prevent this revolution, which he knew would be a disaster and a lot of people even Benjamin Franklin. Up until 1775 would be a big steak for America to separate from the mother country. Meanwhile, his father is in England and his father is still working on behalf of the colonies representing the colonies interest in in England against parliament and he seemed more more corruption in the in England and in the meantime, the government sending troops to Boston and the rest of America in order to enforce these taxation laws is growing more and more bitter against the English government so that the two of them were living in different worlds. And when it finally came down to the something 76 and the Declaration of Independence. William was clearly on the side of the king and the crown in his father at that point was a confirmed American patriot revolutionary so they just went different ways even before that, I think it was a certain amount of jealousy between father and son sometimes happens tragically is that I think was a little bit jealous of William. So let's talk next about this father and son loggerheads. What happens to William next as he takes his stay in the country is moving toward. It's clearly ready for Williams not. First of all, his father came home to try to talk to son over to the side that he believed would be safe side of the revolutionaries very very stormy confrontations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey where where his father did everything he could to try to get him to come over to the side of the revolutionaries that was his side of the family side and William refused and ended up being the last. The last little government to do the king's business in America stubbornly refused to leave the governor's mansion and had to be taken away bodily was put into the worst prison in America, the Litchfield, Litchfield, jail, where he was in solitary confinement with bread and water for 18 months and suffered terribly. During that time he finally was released in the prisoners exchange his father had very little to do that and eventually went back to England really Ben Franklin, son, and no matter what kind of jealousies might've existed. To watch this before. This template before you son had to be difficult.
Moreover, he's a very public figure and it was as if his son was somewhat flower. He was a governor who was now in jail well so bad in our life and you believe that law the public criticism of him for not helping his son out. But remember, the minister planted sure to France and could not be seen as being in collusion with you know with the Tory horrible.
It's really a tragic situation which really is, like the Revolutionary war in microcosm really on his son's hardship. I doubt though I don't really think I think the part of the tragedy of the book and what I finally end up saying that these were two men who could never reconcile all that the son wanted to. William wanted to more than his father that they could never reconcile because they just did not understand each other and intelligent man that shows you just how extreme this break between father and son can be what happens. The father didn't understand the sun. The sun didn't understand that I don't think so.
I don't what we hadn't spoken about that at the end of the war became a counterrevolutionary, violent, counterrevolutionary, and of his father could not could not forgive. And that's and that's something we we still live with me and let's let's face it, this book reminds me of home. In large respect. These are struggles that are going on in America continually. The first Civil War. This revolutionary war the real Civil War epic sites in this country and it splits families and it splits friendships and what to take away for readers to entice them hear what's one thing you would want them to walk away with as we take the past and try connected to the present gap between the rich and the poor place with demigods.
Demagogues can enter in and cause incredible amounts of mischief and the way to look at the revolutionary war. That way the taxation during the 1760s and 70s 70s created a bigger disparity between rich and rich and poor, and a lot of the people who let the revolution in Washington and Jefferson a lot of demagogues and whose names of been forgotten and rightfully forgotten their definite parallels between the 1770s. In the present, great, great.
We urge folks to read it. Loyal son.
The author is Daniel Mark Epstein and the stories the war Ben Franklin's house read it and the process on a website, and Daniel, thank you, thank you so much for writing the book and thanks for joining us that this is going to be. This is our Americans to Ben Franklin story his son's story more after these messages just around the corner and material family friendly conversation over half the make your home phone number is not content attention. Medicare beneficiaries are you getting all the benefits you need. If you have Medicare you may now be able to get new benefits.
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