From Publishers Weekly
Cohen's eye-opening, elegant study shows that America's Founding Fathers were true citizens of the Age of Reason who sought links between scientific principles and constitutional government. Thomas Jefferson, naturalist and inventor, had a consuming passion for scientific pursuits ranging from paleontology to zoology. The Declaration of Independence, which he wrote, reverberates with echoes of Newtonian science, as when he invokes "self-evident" truths or "laws of nature." Benjamin Franklin, far from being a mere tinkerer or inventor, pioneered the science of electricity. Franklin also developed a demographic theory that North America would become a population center of the British world; this led to the policy according to which the British annexed Canada rather than Guadeloupe as the spoils in the war against the French (1754-63). John Adams, who studied astronomy and physics at Harvard, was a founder of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston. And James Madison, a devoted amateur scientist, drew on scientific metaphors and analogies in his Federalist articles. Illustrated. Cohen is Victor S. Thomas professor emeritus of the history of science at Harvard University.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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“Intellectually engaging . . . deftly written.” (Boston Globe)
“The founding fathers appear in an interesting new light, thanks to Cohen's fresh, not to say iconoclastic, vision.” (Kirkus Reviews)