Benjamin Franklin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Benjamin Franklin
6th President of Pennsylvania
In office
October 18, 1785 – November 5, 1788
Vice President Charles Biddle
Thomas Mifflin
Preceded by John Dickinson
Succeeded by Thomas Mifflin
United States Minister to France
In office
September 14, 1778 – May 17, 1785
Serving with Arthur Lee, Silas Deane, and John Adams
Appointed by Continental Congress
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Thomas Jefferson
United States Minister to Sweden
In office
September 28, 1782 – April 3, 1783
Appointed by Congress of the Confederation
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Jonathan Russell
1st United States Postmaster General
In office
July 26, 1775 – November 7, 1776
Appointed by Continental Congress
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Richard Bache
Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly
In office
May 1764 – October 1764
Preceded by Isaac Norris
Succeeded by Isaac Norris
Member of the Pennsylvania Assembly
In office
1762–1764
In office
1751–1757
Personal details
Born January 17, 1706(1706-01-17)
Boston, Massachusetts Bay
Died April 17, 1790(1790-04-17) (aged 84)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Deborah Read
Children William Franklin
Francis Folger Franklin
Sarah Franklin Bache
Profession Scientist
Writer
Politician
Signature

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American statesman. 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.

Early life and family[change | change source]

Franklin was born in 1706 in Boston.[1] After two years of school he stayed home as an apprentice for father's candle-making shop. Two years after starting to work at his fathers 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 quarreled with his brother and ran away to Philadelphia and London and 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 grew to be quite rich, but he gave up his printing career to do other things related to science.

Political life[change | change source]

Benjamin Franklin was a very important person in 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. In 1757 he went to live in London as agent for Pennsylvania and later for other colonies. He also started one of the first public libraries in Philadelphia.

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 the Postmaster General, and made a system for people to send letters. He was an ambassador to France during and after the war, and he was part of the group that approved the Constitution of the United States.

Publications[change | change source]

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

Inventions[change | change source]

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.

Most people see Franklin as one of history's greatest inventors. He invented the lightning rod and bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other things.

Legacy[change | change source]

Although Franklin owned slaves, towards the end of his life he freed them, and became an abolitionist.

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 a short time.

Footnotes[change | change source]

  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". http://www.franklinbusybody.com/facts.asp. Retrieved 2013-07-23.

References[change | change source]

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

Other websites[change | change source]