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Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire$
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Carla J. Mulford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384198.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire

Carla J. Mulford

Oxford University Press

Franklin’s intellectual roots lie in the early modern liberalism he derived from his readings as a youth in his family’s home and his brother James’s print shop in Boston. As this book shows, Franklin was committed to ideals of religious, civil, and political freedom throughout his life. Franklin originally conceived that the British Empire represented these freedoms, but he slowly realized the conflict between imperial processes and individual liberty. Franklin concluded that governors should be concerned with the welfare of its people; when he realized that this was no longer the case with the British Empire, he began to turn away, in a process that evolved over a twenty-year span.

Keywords:   Benjamin Franklin, early modern liberalism, first British Empire, theories of empire, American independence, civil freedom, political freedom

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