Toss all common beliefs aside that unfair taxation was the sole impetus for the American Revolution. A new work of meticulous historical research advances the theory that Benjamin Franklin, using the freeing of a British slave as the catalyst, orchestrated a little-known yet elaborate scheme to impassion revolt throughout the colonies against England and in effect spark America’s fight for independence.

In Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution, Phillip Goodrich gives readers insight into hidden truths behind the American Revolution that some might argue rewrites history — at a crucial moment in our present day.

A book of obscure American history facts compelled Goodrich to research documents from the 18th century where he discovered British court cases tried to free various slaves belonging to British citizens — the most notable being James Somersett. Goodrich’s investigation pieces together the methods and motivations of unlikely leaders who beat the odds against Great Britain’s war machine by turning the practice of slavery into battle drums. But how?


Working behind the scenes with his inner circle of confidantes, Franklin used his contacts, political acumen and his renown as a publisher and man of science to manipulate the American colonies into a fight for independence from Great Britain. The legal case of Somersett v. Steuart resulted in the first court-ordered freeing of a British slave in 1772. The impact of the case fueled the cry by the southern colonies for independence from Britain and provided a compelling and passionate reason for the American colonies to revolt.

Goodrich is an American history buff with a fascination for the lesser-known stories behind some of America’s founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. He shares his unique insights into the motivation for the American Revolution gleaned through exhaustive research, supported by more than 500 research notes. Goodrich is a practicing general surgeon and a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Southern California in medicine.

Using Britain’s stance on the abolition of slavery, Franklin wrote letters to prominent colonists and colonial leaders to spur the American colonies — both the northern colonies who supported abolition and the southern colonies who didn’t — to fight for freedom in protection of their own self interests. 

By March 1773, colonial leaders including Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry determined that the livelihood and security of the South would be threatened if their Black African slaves were freed en masse. Independence from Britain was the only way to protect the American colonies from ruin. 


The institution of slavery provided the passion needed to fuel the fury against Great Britain; preserving it was one of the major drivers behind the Revolution. 

Also, to enrage the northern colonies and provide further motivation for revolt, Franklin leaked letters written by then Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, to the British government — The Hutchinson Letters —which requested it send troops to quell the American revolutionaries and suppress the civil rights of American colonial citizens. Samuel Adams’s outrage over the letters and his impassioned address to Boston citizens incited his audience to desecrate 342 chests of tea, the act known as The Boston Tea Party.

Former loyal subjects of King George III would evolve into the American patriots who fought for freedom from Britain for very different reasons, based on their need for slave labor, as engineered by Franklin’s manipulation. Somersett gives readers a glimpse into Franklin’s behind-the-scenes intervention, which ignited the revolt against Britain and resulted in American independence. 

Anyone fascinated with American history in general, the American Revolution in particular and the personalities and manipulations of some of our founding fathers will surely want to pick up Somersett. As will those who recognize the significance of its revelations in the wake of our country’s recent events and continuing struggles with institutionalized racism.

Somersett is available for purchase. For more on Phillip Goodrich, visit his BookTrib author profile page and check out our interview with the author.

An amateur American history buff, Phillip Goodrich has developed a fascination with the lesser-told stories behind the characters during America’s founding years. His interest has led him to extensive research into the personal and political lives of American greats such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Through his unique insights and knowledge, Phillip shares his findings in his first foray into the realm of narrative American history with Somersett.

A graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Southern California in medicine, Phillip is a practicing general surgeon in suburban Kansas City, MO. He has been an active member on physician forums for the past fifteen years and can often be found at philanthropic events across the country.

He lives with his wife Melodee, their geriatric dog, Loulou, and cat, Allie, in Platte City, MO.