Read the Revolution – An American Triumph: America’s Founding Era Through the Lives of Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams

07/10/2024

In the early days of the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin suggested a Latin motto for use by the burgeoning American Revolutionaries: exitus in dubio est. The English translation is “the outcome is in doubt.” The motto reminded those who supported the Continental Congress and the Continental Army that their success against the British was not inevitable, but sacrifice, dedication, and hard work were required to see it through. The triumph of the American Revolutionaries is a story that continues to be inspirational nearly 250 years later.

In An American Triumph: America’s Founding Era Through the Lives of Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams, author Tom Hand, publisher of the website Americana Corner, chronicles the American Revolution in a way that is both accessible and visually rich. Hand’s goal with this book is to share the story of the Revolution, and the “hard work and bloodshed, brilliant thoughts and difficult decisions” that made it happen, to inspire modern American patriotism. The book is organized into 12 chronological chapters with 58 subsections that variously focus on the contributions and actions of Franklin, Washington, and Adams. Hand concludes the book with helpful pages of recommended reading and related historic sites to visit.

Read an excerpt from the beginning of chapter seven, “The United States Gains Independence,” in which Hand frames the significance of Franklin’s negotiations with France during the Revolutionary War.

Dig Deeper: Through its Preserving America Grant Program, Americana Corner has sponsored conservation of documents in the Museum’s collection, including a letter written by General George Washington in 1777 providing instructions about how the Commander in Chief’s Guard should be uniformed. The letter is on display in Witness to Revolution: The Unlikely Travels of Washington’s Tent.

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Excerpt from the Text
Congress declared America’s independence from England on July 4, 1776, but the most crucial step still lay ahead and that was to secure what we had declared. Delegates knew that to have a real change at success, the United States needed the assistance of one or more European powers.

The natural enemy of England in the 1700s was France. The two nations had fought four wars over the course of eighty years, and, with the right diplomacy and a little luck, American leaders hoped there would be a fifth. Due to the high regard in which Benjamin Franklin was held, Congress sent him to France in December 1776 to join fellow ambassadors Silas Deane and Arthur Lee to negotiate a treaty with that country.

One must remember that Franklin was seventy years old and in poor health, suffering terribly from gout. Nevertheless, he willingly accepted the post as he was now fully committed to the American cause and ready to pay any cost his country required. As Franklin mentioned to his friend Benjamin Rush, “I have only a few years to live, and I am resolved to devote them to the work that my fellow citizens deem proper for me.”

—Tom Hand, An American Triumph: America’s Founding Era Through the Lives of Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams (Americana Corner Press, 2023), 143-145.

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