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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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Love of Country

Love of Country

(p.228) Seven Love of Country
Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire

Carla J. Mulford

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 takes up about 1769 to 1775, important years in the evolution of Franklin’s ideas about three matters: that agriculture rather than commerce was the foundation of a nation’s well-being; that constitutional reform was essential to the colonies’ political status as part of the British Empire; and that British North American defense and commerce needed to be free of intervention by Crown, ministry, and Parliament. Franklin’s ideas about the potential self-sufficiency of the colonies developed into a theory that embraced constitutional monarchy. Franklin’s turn against the British Empire reached clear articulation in 1771, after Franklin toured Ireland. In thinking about legal opinions being rendered about British India, Franklin groped toward an opinion regarding British Americans’ original sovereignty over their colonies—thus denying the British nation’s jurisdiction over American lands—and conceived that lands in North America acquired peacefully from the Native peoples there belonged to the new possessors alone.

Keywords:   agricultural and empire, British Empire, British India, Ireland, American colonies, French physiocrats, Henry Home, Lord Kames, Alexander Wedderburn, the Cockpit

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