Benjamin Franklin and the Germans: A Transatlantic Encounter in the Age of Enlightenment
Benjamin Franklin had many interesting and consequential encounters with Germans both in North America and in Europe. In Pennsylvania, where Franklin lived for a large part of his life, he was surrounded by German immigrants. While visiting various European countries, he met German politicians and aristocrats, in addition to many German citizens in their homeland.
In this lecture, Professor Overhoff’s explores Franklin’s different and evolving attitudes towards Germans on either side of the Atlantic, in the years between 1740 and 1787, and how they contributed to his perspective on transatlantic relations at large. The presentation will provide a fascinating historical background, as we in the 21st century debate the impact of global summits, one-on-one encounters between world leaders, and ordinary citizens meeting across national borders.
Juergen Overhoff, is Professor for History of Education at the University of Munster, in Germany.