407 episodes

This is a multiple award-winning podcast about early American history. It’s a show for people who love history and who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features conversations with professional historians who help shed light on important people and events in early American history. It is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Ben Franklin's World Airwave Media

    • History
    • 4.4 • 1.4K Ratings

This is a multiple award-winning podcast about early American history. It’s a show for people who love history and who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features conversations with professional historians who help shed light on important people and events in early American history. It is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    387 California and Slavery

    387 California and Slavery

    When we think of California, we might think about sunny weather, Hollywood, beaches, wine country, and perhaps the Gold Rush.
    What we don’t usually think about when we think about California is the state’s long history of slavery.
    Jean Pfaelzer, a Californian and a Professor Emerita of English, Asian Studies, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware, joins us to lead us through some of California’s long 250-year history of slavery with details from her book, California: A Slave State. 
    Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/387



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation American Friends of Lafayette Grand Tour Re-Enactment
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 014: West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 Episode 067: An Environmental History of Early California and Hawaii  Episode 115: The Early American History of Texas Episode 139: The Other Slavery: Indian Enslavement in the Americas Episode 233: A History of Russian America  Episode 277: Whose Fourth of July? Episode 312: The Domestic Slave Trade Episode 371: An Archive of Indigenous Slavery  Episode 384: Making Maine: A Journey to Statehood  
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    Helpful Links
    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter  

    • 1 hr 2 min
    386 Sleeping with the Ancestors

    386 Sleeping with the Ancestors

    In this special Juneteenth episode, as we honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, we delve into the work of those working to preserve slave dwellings across the United States, safeguarding the essential stories these structures embody.
    In our conversation, Joseph McGill, the Executive Director and Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, joins us to share why former slave dwellings are vital to our nation's history and what they reveal about the lives of those who once lived in them.
    Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/386



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Juneteenth at Colonial Williamsburg
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 075: How Archives Work Episode 079: What is a Historic Source? Episode 089: Slavery & Freedom in Early Maryland Episode 312: The Domestic Slave Trade Episode 331: Discovery of the Williamsburg Bray School Episode 360: Kyera Singleton, Slavery & Freedom in Massachusetts Episode 378: Everyday Black Living in Early America
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    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter

    • 51 min
    385 Did George Washington Have Heirs?

    385 Did George Washington Have Heirs?

    The United States Constitution of 1787 gave many Americans pause about the powers the new federal government could exercise and how the government's leadership would rest with one person, the president.
    The fact that George Washington would likely serve as the new nation’s first president calmed many Americans’ fears that the new nation was creating an opportunity for a hereditary monarch. Washington had proven his commitment to a democratic form of government when he gave up his army command peacefully and voluntarily. He had proven he was someone Americans could trust. Plus, George Washington had no biological heirs–no sons–to whom he might pass on the presidency.
    But while George Washington had no biological heirs, he did have heirs.
    Cassandra A. Good, an Associate Professor of History at Marymount University and author of First Family: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America, joins us to explore Washington’s heirs and the lives they lived.
    Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/385



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 027: A History of Stepfamilies in Early America Episode 033: George Washington and His Library  Episode 061: George Washinton in Retirement  Episode 074: Martha Washington  Episode 137: The Washingtons’ Runaway Slave Episode 183: George Washinton’s Mount Vernon  Episode 222: The Early History of Washington, D.C.  Episode 265: An Early History of the White House  
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    Helpful Links
    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter

    • 1 hr 4 min
    384 Making Maine: A Journey to Statehood

    384 Making Maine: A Journey to Statehood

    Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution establishes guidelines by which the United States Congress can admit new states to the American Union. It clearly states that “no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State…without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”
    Five states have been formed from pre-existing states: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Maine. How did the process of forming a state from a pre-existing state work? Why would territories within a state want to declare their independence from their home state?
    Joshua Smith, the interim director of the American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point, New York, and author of the book Making Maine: Statehood and the War of 1812, leads us on an exploration of Maine’s journey to statehood.
    Show Notes:https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/384



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Juneteenth at Colonial Williamsburg
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 030: Northern New England’s Religious Geography Episode 057: Money and the American State Episode 098: Birth of the American Tax Man Episode 103, James Monroe and & His Estate Highland Episode 134: Pulpit and Nation Episode 309: Merchant Ships of the Eighteenth Century
    Listen!
    Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts Amazon Music Ben Franklin's World iOS App Ben Franklin's World Android App
    Helpful Links
    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter

    • 1 hr 5 min
    383 Aquatic Culture in Early America

    383 Aquatic Culture in Early America

    If you will recall from Episode 331, the Williamsburg Bray School is the oldest existing structure in the United States that we know was used to educate African and African American children.
    As the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation prepares the Bray School for you to visit and see, we’re having many conversations about the history of the school, its scholars, and early Black American History in general. During one of these conversations, the work of Kevin Dawson came up. Kevin is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Merced and author of the book, Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora.
    Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/383



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 104: The Saltwater Frontier: Europeans & Native Americans on the Northeastern Coast Episode 241: Pearls and the Nature of the Spanish Empire Episode 250: Virginia, 1619 Episode 277: Who's Fourth of July? Episode 331: Discovery of the Williamsburg Bray School Episode 347: African and African American Music Episode 352: James Forten and the Making of the United States
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    Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts Amazon Music Ben Franklin's World iOS App Ben Franklin's World Android App
    Helpful Links
    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter  

    • 56 min
    382 Hessians in the American Revolutionary War

    382 Hessians in the American Revolutionary War

    Within the Declaration of Independence, the founders of the United States present twenty-seven grievances against King George III as they declare their reasons for why the thirteen British North American colonies sought their independence from Great Britain. Their twenty-fifth grievance declares that King George III “is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat [sic] the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun.”
    What do we know about the “Armies of foreign Mercenaries” King George III sent to his rebellious American colonies? 
    Friederike Baer, an Associate Professor of History at Penn State Abbington College, joins us to explore the lives and wartime experiences of the 30,000 German soldiers the British Crown hired and dispatched to North America during the American War for Independence. Frederike is the author of the award-winning book Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War.
    Show Notes: https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/382



    Sponsor Links
    Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
    Complementary Episodes
    Episode 046: Whirlwind: The American Revolution & the War That Won It  Episode 048: Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives During the War for Independence  Episode 081: After Yorktown Episode 144: The Common Cause Episode 147: British Soldiers, American War  Episode 157: The Revolution’s African American Soldiers Episode 252: The Highland Soldier in North America Episode 375: Misinformation Nation
    Listen!
    Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts Amazon Music Ben Franklin's World iOS App Ben Franklin's World Android App
    Helpful Links
    Join the Ben Franklin's World Facebook Group Ben Franklin’s World Twitter: @BFWorldPodcast Ben Franklin's World Facebook Page Sign-up for the Franklin Gazette Newsletter

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics ,

Turn Your Dearth of Information to a Plethora

This show does exactly what it promises - puts you in the rough timeframe that Ben Franklin would have lived in, and tells you what life is really like. It accomplishes it through discussions with authors with detailed knowledge of a very specific topic. Loved the History of Maine, Race in New Orleans, Hessians, and Texas in Spanish Empire. Liz asks soid questions and keeps the show moving well.

Tardigras ,

Wonderful Guests, Deeply Informative

Each succeeding episode seems like the best one I’ve listened to yet. I only “discovered” BFW some 43 podcasts ago but your format is eminently “binge-able.” Super guest list. I want to matriculate with a major in American History all over again.

Honest Abby ,

Hands down my fav podcast.

I look forward to each new episode. So professional and enlightening. Thanks Liz Covart!!!

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