Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity

Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity

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The incredible story of Benjamin Franklin’s parting gift to the working-class people of Boston and Philadelphia—a tale that spans more than two centuries and captures the Founder’s enduring vision for the nation he helped build.

Benjamin Franklin was not a gambling man. But at the end of his illustrious life, the Founder allowed himself a final wager on the survival of the United States: a gift of two thousand pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jump-start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the accrued final payout in 1991 would be a windfall.

In Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet, Michael Meyer traces the evolution of these twin funds as they age alongside America itself, bankrolling woodworkers and silversmiths, trade schools and space races. Over time, Franklin’s wager was misused, neglected, and contested—but never wholly extinguished. With charm and inquisitive flair, Meyer shows how Franklin’s stake in the “leather-apron” class remains in play to this day, and offers an inspiring blueprint for American prosperity.

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  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328568892

  • ISBN-10: 132856889X

  • Pages: 352

  • Price: $28.00

  • Publication Date: 04/12/2022

  • Carton Quantity: 12

M
Author

Michael Meyer

MICHAEL MEYER is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches nonfiction writing. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books on China, as well as numerous pieces in The New York Times, TIME, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, Slate, the Chicago Tribune, and many other outlets, as well as for This American Life. A former Peace Corps volunteer to China, he has represented the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations there, and is also the recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award, and residencies at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy. He is a current fellow of the National Committee on United States-China Relations' Public Intellectuals Program and affiliated faculty with Pitt's Asian Studies Center. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
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Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328568892

  • ISBN-10: 132856889X

  • Pages: 352

  • Price: $28.00

  • Publication Date: 04/12/2022

  • Carton Quantity: 12

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