Benjamin Franklin

American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, diplomat, Founding Father (1706–1790)

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American statesman, Founding Father, and scientist. He has also been known as "the First American". He was a very important person in the American Revolution and helped make the Thirteen Colonies one nation. As a leader of the Enlightenment, he influenced European scientists. He even was the first thing many Europeans associated with America at the time. His successful diplomacy in France was an important factor in the United States' win over Great Britain.

Benjamin Franklin
6th President of Pennsylvania
In office
October 18, 1785 – November 5, 1788
Vice PresidentCharles Biddle
Thomas Mifflin
Preceded byJohn Dickinson
Succeeded byThomas Mifflin
United States Minister to France
In office
September 14, 1778 – May 17, 1785
Serving with Arthur Lee, Silas Deane, and John Adams
Appointed byContinental Congress
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byThomas Jefferson
United States Minister to Sweden
In office
September 28, 1782 – April 3, 1783
Appointed byCongress of the Confederation
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byJonathan Russell
1st United States Postmaster General
In office
July 26, 1775 – November 7, 1776
Appointed byContinental Congress
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byRichard Bache
Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly
In office
May 1764 – October 1764
Preceded byIsaac Norris
Succeeded byIsaac Norris
Member of the Pennsylvania Assembly
In office
In office
Personal details
Born(1706-01-17)January 17, 1706
Boston, Massachusetts Bay
DiedApril 17, 1790(1790-04-17) (aged 84)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Deborah Read
ChildrenWilliam Franklin
Francis Folger Franklin
Sarah Franklin Bache

Childhood and family change

Franklin was born in Boston.[1] After two years of school he stayed home as an apprentice in his father's candle-making shop. Two years after starting to work at his father's shop, he went to work at his brother James' printing shop. While working there, Franklin secretly wrote articles for the newspaper and labelled them as being by "Mrs. Silence Dogood".[2] He quarrelled with his brother and at age 17 ran away to Philadelphia, then to London and then back to Philadelphia.

Franklin loved books and reading. Franklin, at the age of 21, established the colonies' first circulation library for all interested citizens.[3] He became rich and famous as a printer, publisher and writer. Later, he sold his businesses and became busy with science and politics.

Political life change

Benjamin Franklin was very important in Pennsylvanian and early American politics. He was a leader in the city of Philadelphia, where he did many important things. He was the President of the Academy and College of Philadelphia. Later he became a councilman, a Justice of the Peace, later a representative of the city. He also started one of the first public libraries in Philadelphia. He was for many years the postmaster of Philadelphia, and in 1753 became Postmaster General of the Thirteen Colonies. In 1757 he went to live in London as agent for Pennsylvania and later for other colonies.

He was in the Continental Congress, which led the country during the Revolutionary War, and he helped write the United States Declaration of Independence. He controlled the postal service as Postmaster General. As ambassador to France he helped persuade the French to join the war against Great Britain. He helped negotiate the peace, too. Later, he was part of the group that made the Constitution of the United States.

Publications change

Franklin called himself a printer, but is also known for his writings. Among some of the more well known are Poor Richard's Almanack, and the Pennsylvanian.

Inventions change

Franklin was a scientist who studied experiments in an effort to improve or correct them. One of his greatest contributions was in the theory of electricity through the Leyden jar.

Most people see Franklin as one of history's greatest inventors. For example, he invented the lightning rod and bifocals, the Franklin stove, and the glass harmonica.

Death change

Franklin died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from pleurisy, April 17, 1790 aged 84.

Legacy change

Benjamin Franklin owned slaves and printed ads to help slavers find runaway slaves in his newspaper.[4] Eventually, he changed his mind and became an abolitionist. But he still made a lot of money from slavery.

The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where he lived) marked his three hundredth birthday in 2006. Many streets and a few towns are named for him.

A picture of Franklin has been on the United States' hundred-dollar bill since 1928. He was also on the fifty-cent coin for 15 years.

Footnotes change

  1. Engber, Daniel (2006). What's Benjamin Franklin's Birthday?. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  2. William H. Nault (1973). World Book Encyclopedia. Field Enterprises Educational Corp. p. 413. ISBN 978-0716-60073-2.
  3. "27 Interesting Facts about Ben Franklin". Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  4. Nash, Gary B. (2006). "Franklin and Slavery". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 150 (4): 620.

References change

  • Feldman, Eve B. Benjamin Franklin: Scientist and Inventor. New York: Library of Congress, 1990. Print.

Other websites change