Re-Elect Sharon L. Kennedy

Online Event: Historian Phillip Goodrich

Wednesday, October 7 - 7:00 PM

Toss all common beliefs aside that unfair taxation was the sole impetus for the American Revolution. Phillip Goodrich’s Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution pieces together the methods and motivations of unlikely leaders who beat the odds against Great Britain by turning the practice of slavery into the call for revolution. The book advances the theory that Benjamin Franklin, using the freeing of a British slave as the catalyst, orchestrated a little-known yet elaborate scheme to spark revolt throughout the colonies and impassion America’s fight for independence from England.

In 1772, the British legal case of Somersett v. Steuart resulted in the first court-ordered freeing of a British slave, James Somersett. Goodrich’s book argues that Benjamin Franklin used Britain’s stance on the abolition of slavery—and his contacts, political acumen, and renown as a publisher and man of science—to work behind the scenes with his “inner circle” of confidantes to manipulate the American colonies into a fight for independence from Great Britain.

In Somersett, Goodrich makes the case that Benjamin Franklin wrote letters to prominent colonists to spur the American colonies to fight for freedom to protect their own self-interest—both the northern colonies that supported abolition and the southern colonies that didn’t. By March 1773, colonial leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry, determined that the livelihood and security of the South would be threatened if enslaved Africans were freed en masse. Independence from Britain, Goodrich asserts, was the only way to protect the American colonies from ruin.



Virtual on Zoom
, 43215
Event Type


Thurber House

Date / Time

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


(614) 464-1032
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