On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia moved that the Second Continental Congress resolve “that these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States…”
The Second Continental Congress adopted Lee’s motion and on June 11, 1776, it appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence.
Today, Steve Pincus, the Bradford Durfee Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government, leads us on an investigation of the Declaration of Independence and the context in which the founders drafted it.
About the Show
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 a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Steve Pincus, the Bradford Durfee Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government, leads us on an investigation of the Declaration of Independence and the context in which the founders drafted it.
During our investigation, Steve reveals details about the English Revolution of 1688/89; How ideas that developed during and after the English Revolution informed British policies about is North American colonies and the American Revolution; And, how the Declaration of Independence contains the founders’ blueprint for an activist government.
What You’ll Discover
- The English Revolution or Glorious Revolution of 1688/89
- Why England shifted from a landed to a commercial society after the Glorious Revolution
- Origins of the Bank of England and the Board of Trade
- Political factions in post-1688 Parliament
- Politics of English Patriot and Establishment Whigs
- The founding of Georgia and how it demonstrated and experimented Whig ideas
- How English politics manifested in the British North American colonies
- Post-French and Indian War policies adopted by Great Britain to rebuild & pay debt
- The Stamp Act Riots of 1765 as part of a global phenomenon
- French and Spanish imperial trade laws during the 1760s
- Great Britain’s eighteenth-century budget and expenditures
- The context of the Declaration of Independence
- The Founders’ quest for an activist government
- The paragraphs in the Declaration of Independence that allow and direct Congress to create an activist government
- Why we should consider the possibility that the founders’ intended for the Declaration of Independence to serve as a blueprint for an activist government
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Steve Pincus
- Steve’s Yale webpage
- Steve on Twitter: @PincusSteven
- Jim Robinson
- The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government
- 1688: The First Modern Revolution
- A Nation Transformed: England after the Restoration
- Cornell University Press
- Julie Fisher and David Silverman, Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts
- Episode 012: Danielle Allen, Our Declaration
- Episode 062: Carol Berkin, The Bill of Rights
- Episode 113: Brian Murphy, Building the Empire State (Political Economy)
- Episode 117: Annette Gordon-Reed, The Life and Ideas of Thomas Jefferson
In your opinion, what would have happened if the Declaration of Independence had been a document that had simply declared the unmaking of the British Empire? How would the course of United States and British history be different?
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