How We Rediscovered a Founding Father

It's no accident that the Benjamin Franklin you see on our cover is portrayed as a kind of action hero. Of all the founding fathers, he was early America's boldest intellectual adventurer, making history in every realm from science to business to statesmanship. "My goal," says artist Michael Deas, who painted the cover, "was to present Franklin as a vigorous, flesh-and-blood person, not the somewhat frumpy figure we see on the face of a $100 bill." During the 84 years of his amazing life, it was a rare moment that Franklin, young or old, wasn't hatching an innovation that would shape...

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