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story.lead_photo.caption William Woods University history professor Craig Bruce Smith speaks with students following a lecture about George Washington last winter. His upcoming lecture about Benjamin Franklin at the University of Missouri will be taped by C-SPAN and aired at a later date. Photo by Jenny Gray / Fulton Sun.

COLUMBIA, Mo. —Avid historian, author and director of the history department at William Woods University, Craig Bruce Smith is about to reach his biggest audience yet.

He will deliver a lecture this week that will be filmed by C-SPAN.

"I imagine someone will watch it," he said while laughing. "It will be the biggest audience I've had. It sort of fell into my lap."

Smith will present "'Early to Rise: Benjamin Franklin and the Creation of Ascending Honor" at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The presentation is part of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy's Fall 2017 History Colloquium Series, and will be in room 410 at Jesse Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The talk will focus on Franklin's innovative perspectives on honor and ethics. Franklin believed status was not about the level of society people were born into, but how they acted and behaved in the world.

"Franklin was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back," Smith said, adding in those days, "honorable" people were regarded to have that status because they were born into it.

Smith said Franklin developed his own concept of honor and experimented with virtues and how they applied to his own life.

"It was about how he conceptualized his place in the world, and he eventually uses his ideas which become ideas for the formation of the United States," Smith said

C-SPAN is a national cable and satellite television network that airs political and policy events, as well as historical programming. Smith's lecture will be aired on  the series "American History TV."

"I asked specifically about when it would air, and they said they won't know until after it's filmed," Smith said.

In addition to the lecture, Smith's first book, "American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era," will be published in April by the University of North Carolina Press. It will be available for presale on

"It's drawn on the concept of honor," he said. "The book is an ethical history of the American Revolution. It focuses on the broader Revolutionary period with four main figures: Washington, Adams, Franklin and Jefferson."

Smith is presently researching his next project, "'The Greatest Man in the World,' A Global History of George Washington." He joined William Woods in 2016.

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