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Science and the founding fathers : science in the political thought of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison

Author: I Bernard Cohen
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, ©1995.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
America's founding fathers were remarkably well-rounded people, not least in their understanding of science. Thomas Jefferson was the only president who could read and understand Newton's Principia. Benjamin Franklin, in 1775, held international fame in science. John Adams had the finest education in science the new country could provide, including "Pnewmaticks, Hydrostaticks, Mechanicks, Staticks, Opticks." And
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Named Person: Benjamin Franklin; Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; John Adams; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Franklin; John Adams; James Madison
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: I Bernard Cohen
ISBN: 0393035018 9780393035018
OCLC Number: 30919665
Description: 368 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Contents: Science and American history --
Science and the political thought of Thomas Jefferson --
Benjamin Franklin --
Science and politics: John Adams --
Science and the Constitution --
Supplements.
Responsibility: I. Bernard Cohen.

Abstract:

America's founding fathers were remarkably well-rounded people, not least in their understanding of science. Thomas Jefferson was the only president who could read and understand Newton's Principia. Benjamin Franklin, in 1775, held international fame in science. John Adams had the finest education in science the new country could provide, including "Pnewmaticks, Hydrostaticks, Mechanicks, Staticks, Opticks." And James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution, peppered his Federalist Papers with reference to physics, chemistry, and the life sciences.

For these men science was an integral part of life - including political life. This is the story of their scientific education and of how they employed that knowledge in shaping the political issues of the day, incorporating scientific reasoning into the Constitution. General readers, students of American history, and professional historians alike will profit from reading this engaging presentation of an aspect of American history conspiculously absent from the usual textbooks and popular presentations of the political thought of this crucial period.

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