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America’s leaders meet at a convention in Philadelphia and decide to write a radical new Constitution. Ben Franklin, in his final moment on the world stage, helps forge the “Great Compromise” on legislative representation. James Madison writes much of the Constitution, the lawful embodiment of the promise of the Revolution (9/17/87). It includes the “odious compromise” on slavery that maintains the practice’s legality in the United States. George Washington is inaugurated as the first President (4/30/1789). Moses resolves to open a school for free black children. Sarah’s father joins the family from Ohio. Everyone looks forward to their new lives in the United States of America.
With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, loyalists are forced to leave their homes. Many slaves move to Canada to avoid being returned to slavery. American soldiers return home, many of them to abject poverty. Shays’ Rebellion and other events make it clear that the United States requires a strong central government if it is to survive as a nation.Sarah goes to New York to get the story of the fate of the loyalists from Mrs. Radcliffe. Moses helps Cato travel to New York, where Cato leaves for Nova Scotia with Mrs. Radcliffe. James reports on Shays and the discontent of the former soldiers -– and resolves to own and run his own newspaper. Lafayette invites Henri to live with him in France. Ben, accompanied by Sarah’s mother, returns from Europe to a triumphant reception in Philadelphia.
Ben Franklin and John Adams sign the peace treaty with England, ending the Revolutionary War. At Newburgh, New York, some members of Washington's officer corps want him to become King and take over the country. Washington puts down the revolt -- with his eyeglasses. He then races to Congress and resigns to become, once again, a farmer and private citizen.
Massachusetts slave “Mum Bett” sues for her freedom (5/28/1781). When she wins, she renames herself Elizabeth Freeman (8/81). With this decision and that in the case of another slave, Quok Walker, Massachusetts has abolished slavery (1783). In Great Britain, a bitter, recalcitrant King George III is finally convinced to recognize American independence and to go to the peace table.Sarah, staying with Abigail Adams in Boston, is thrilled to see Mum Bett freed and resolves to fight for civil rights. In France, Ben Franklin hopes that news of Yorktown will convince King George to surrender to his former colonies.
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- Premiered: September 2, 2002
- Rating: TV-Y7
- Premise: Two teen apprentices to Benjamin Franklin witness Revolutionary War events in this celebrity-studded animated series aimed at 7 to 12-year-olds. Voices include Billy Crystal (John Adams), Michael Douglas (Patrick Henry), Whoopi Goldberg (Deborah Sampson),… (more)