Posted by: history591seventeen | June 11, 2008

David Waldstreicher and Robert Engs

Today we had a real treat, two great speakers- David Waldstreicher and Robert Engs


David Waldstreicher talked to us about Ben Franklin and him becoming an abolitionist.  He explained how Franklin really did start out as a “salt of the earth”, self-made man.  He didn’t support anti-slavery until the ends of his life.  At the same time, he started out indentured to his brother, which is somewhat comparable to slavery. 


After running away from his brother, he set up his own print shop and climbed the ladder of success.  In the newspapers he printed he advertised run away slaves, and he owned five or six, so it took Franklin a while to come around and join the anti-slavery movement (1787). 


Yesterday when we were at Atwater Kent Museum, the guide made the statement that Franklin joined the movement almost “too late”.  That statement makes better sense to me now.  The impression has been that Franklin was always an abolitionist, but apparently he was not.


The next speaker, Robert Engs spoke of the “Great American Slave Rebellion”, and stated that the slaves won.  He went on to explain four questions that were considered about slaves:

1.      Would they rebel against their masters?

2.      Did they want their freedom?

3.      Would they fight for it?

4.      Did they know what to do when they got it?


He explained what each one meant.  As he was explaining these questions, I thought that these would be great questions to ask students to answer as a warm-up to this discussion. Dr. Waldstreicher and Dr. Engs both gave great insight in their lectures.



This afternoon, I went to the Second National Bank, where there are many painting on display.  At the same time we asked about the vault in the basement of the bank, and the ranger explained that that is where most of the gold would have been stored; however, for easy access there are “closets” in each corner upstairs where the day’s worth of gold would have been stored.  The door looks like a wooden door, yet they are solid metal.  That was sooo cool!


Then we went to Franklin’s underground museum, which holds some of his items and paintings of his family.  At the same time, there is one painting that really bugs me.  It is the one of Franklin’s young son, Franky, that died.  In the painting he looks like a 40 year old man in a child’s body.  How weird is that.  I also want to try and find out more about this son, because in everything we have heard this week, there hasn’t been much information given about him.  I think he died of yellow fever and maybe that’s all there is to know.


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