Benjamin Franklin Initiative

"Portrait of Benjamin Franklin" by Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis (cropped)The American Democracy Forum, with generous financial support from the Templeton Foundation, announces the Benjamin Franklin Initiative (BFI).

From 2013–2016, the BFI will explore links between law, science and politics in the American Founding and in the Atlantic Enlightenment more generally through a series of lectures and workshops. Each academic year the Initiative will pursue a new theme centered on the connection of science, technology and moral and political thought in the Enlightenment in an interdisciplinary fashion, which began with a focus on the American Founding and Benjamin Franklin himself in 2013-2014. In 2014-2015, we investigated the role of advances in science and technology in the moral, political and economic thought of the Scottish Enlightenment, as well as the subsequent theoretical and practical impact of that thought in early America. in 2016, our final year, we will investigate the new understandings of freedom that emerged in the Enlightenment as a whole. More information on our 2016 Spring Colloquium can be found here.

As the BFI is fundamentally an interdisciplinary program, we partner with History and History of Science on the UW-Madison campus for much of our programming.

UPCOMING EVENT! Here are important details for the 2016 BFI Spring Colloquium. You can also download the BFI Spring Colloquium flyer here: BFI2016-ConferencePoster.

Questions about the BFI colloquium? Need to RSVP? Email or