Benjamin Franklin The class

September 25, 2003



Benjamin Franklin

The class was England and America
It was part two of establishing "normal" society in 18th century Anglo-America.

The kids read Ben Franklin's Autobiography and wrote a total softball homework "What most surprised you about Benjamin Franklin."

I had a list of points I wanted to make, I also prepped a short lecture on the imperial system, the Georgian kings, European wars, and these wars' impact on the colonies.

As expected, though, we spent all class digging into Franklin.

I opened both sections by explaining where we were and then explaining that we were going to use Franklin as a window into 18th century society. For both I explained that we were going to start with their talking points and we would run from there.

The first section, I got a mess of "surprises" from the kids, wrote them on the board, and then went back through them. The second section I had a kid propose something, we talked about it, I explained more of it, we talked some more and then, after it was dead, I asked for another volunteer to suggest something new to talk about. The second section worked a LOT better - more talk, more interplay, it was more live while the morning got a bit dead. Note to self, keep things flowing in the future.

We hit the major aspects of Augustan society: patron-client relationships, the republic of letters, geographical mobility, the importance of local elites, self-education and self-improvement, sexuality marriage and children.

The morning section had more on marriage, gender, and property rights. The afternoon section had a nice digression on drug epidemics, with chat about Gin in Augustan England, Whiskey in the Early American Republic, Opium after the American Civil War, Cocaine in the 1920s, Heroin in the 1950s, and Cocaine again since the 1980s.

The class is already fading a little - do I need to take notes myself about what it was that we actually covered?

Posted by Red Ted at September 25, 2003 04:15 AM | TrackBack