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Science And The Founding Fathers

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Cohen, I. Bernard. Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams & James Madison. USA: W. W. Norton, 1995. Pp. 369

As the representatives of states and acting as designers of government, the Founding Fathers invoked natural law to model and validate the institution they sought. The idea was of democracy, however, hadn't any such history of this political nature to observe. As intelligent men of property, some were versed in the highest scientific publication of the time, Isaac Newton's Principia. The Age of Reason, as this time was often labeled, praised the ideas of science and the human ability of cognition. The previous science would have relied on extensive survey to estimate the measure of the earth, scientists and mathematicians of the Age of Reason used complex calculations with quill and paper. Science and the Founding Fathers illustrates the men and the Age in which they were involved. I. Bernard Cohen was awarded the first doctorate as a historian of science. In his book, there are four profiles of the founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Madison. They are the best examples of a science thought lending to democratic design.

Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were scientists and politicians, great contributions in both areas. The Fathers Madison and Adams were students taught of Newtonian sciences and scientific methodology approaches to human problems. Their political careers brought the teachings of science to their push for a democratic nation and lead it with science values. However, sometimes due to their brief study of concepts Newton discovered, James and John misinterpret the nature of the science and misuse the laws of nature. Cohen describes the idea that science concepts and politics can have negative transferability. Benjamin Franklin's scientific experiments on electric current were a crowning achievement of the Age of Reason, the Age in which humans could rely on themselves to exist and protect themselves from danger and benefit from the forces. The lightning rod, or "Franklin rod" during the time, became the exemplary product. This became a political debate when deciding whether the shape the rods on top of buildings ought to be pointed or round-balled. Superstition of the councils and political opponents believed that the rods had invoked lightning and was retribution for playing with the forces of nature. Cohen asserts that because of the importance these four individuals placed on the sciences that the constituents were of same respects.

Cohen elaborates on the influence that the scientific ideas that were being comprehended at the time concerning anatomical and medical discoveries, physics, modern calculus, statistics, electricity, and others. The debates of the Continental Congresses and political writings used the knowledge as inspiration for their political ideas or used the metaphorical summons to highlight characteristics of their held ideas. John Adams agued that the legislature should have a bicameral house by saying that it should act like a heart with two different sized ventricles with different functions while cooperating. Madison cited Newton's 3rd law of motion of equilibrium between three forces as evidence for three branches of legality. There is also a vocabulary such as "health of the economy" and "head of the state" and "polarizing issues", which capture scientific principles for political characterizations.

Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, & James Madison is a thorough document to the intellectuals and their pursuits dealing with science and its corresponding effects. There is extensive scientific thought put further during and into the doctrine of democratic ideals. The four prolific Fathers are maybe the only



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