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Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment

Tom Shachtman.
Publisher Palgrave  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
ISBN 9781137278258
Pages/Publication Date 254/2014
Daedalus Item Code 71532
List Price: $27.00
Sale Price: $5.98
You Save: $21.02
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George Washington's embrace of an experimental vaccination for smallpox saved the American army in 1777. John Adams founded a scientific society, and wrote public support for science into the Massachusetts Constitution. Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was so suffused with scientific thinking that it was called Newtonian. Benjamin Franklin's reputation as an "electrician" helped him persuade France to help America win the Revolutionary War. Thomas Paine invented smokeless candles, underwater bombs, and the world's first iron-span bridge. Indeed, as historian and documentary film writer Tom Shachtman shows here, our inventive and philosophical Founding Fathers conceived of the United States as a "grand experiment" in the scientific meaning of the term.

"A well-researched, lively entry into the current debate about the role of science in a democracy."—Kirkus Reviews

"We might hear as children about Ben Franklin with his kite and key in the thunderstorm, but this lively and learned book gives us the grown-up view of the Founders and their fascination with things scientific. Employing a large cast of colonial characters—Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, and other famous figures of the era, but also lesser-known thinkers and tinkerers—Tom Shachtman makes a compelling case that the American Revolution became a movement not only for political independence, but for scientific independence as well. Indeed, Shachtman shows us that the two can hardly be considered separable."—Greg Nobles

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