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Benjamin Franklin - US founding father


"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

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Science Philosophy conservation education online: Benjamin Franklin, American politician, inventor and philosopher
Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790

Benjamin Franklin's father
was Josiah Franklin
born in England.
who had 17 children.
He converted to Puritanism
around 1670
Age 12 Benjamin Franklin
became an apprentice at his
brother's company who taught
him the printing trade.
Age 15 Benjamin Franklin
wanted to publish an article
in the newspaper, but was denied.
So he used the pen name
Silence Dogood and was published.
Age 16 Benjamin Franklin
was in charge of running the
New-England Courant newspaper.
Age 17 Benjamin Franklin
had to move to Philadelphia
The Governor of Pennsylvania
told him to go to London.
Age 20 he returned to
Philadelphia.
Benjamin Franklin
1706 - 1790
born in Boston
Massachusetts

Hard work and equality were two Puritan values that Ben Franklin preached throughout his own life.
Born 1706,in Boston Massachusetts Benjamin Franklin: a signatory to the Constitution, a French fashion icon, an inventor and a printer. He was also the author of numerous letters and newspaper articles under male and female pseudonyms. The founding father wrote letters in the voice of female pseudonyms throughout his life. Benjamin Franklin January 17, 1706 . January 6, 1705 - April 17, 1790 was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution.
Franklin earned the title of The First American for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat. Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the British policies. He pioneered and was first president of The Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the 1750s, he argued against slavery from an economic perspective and became one of the most prominent abolitionists. Special balloting conducted October 18, 1785, unanimously elected Franklin the sixth president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, replacing John Dickinson. The office was practically that of governor. Franklin held that office for slightly over three years, longer than any other, and served the constitutional limit of three full terms. Shortly after his initial election he was reelected to a full term on October 29, 1785, and again in the fall of 1786 and on October 31, 1787. In that capacity he served as host to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. I have now remained in a State of Widowhood for several Years, but it is a State I never much admired, and I am apt to fancy that I could be easily perswaded to marry again, provided I was sure of a good-humoured, sober, agreeable Companion. Those words and many others appear in a letter signed Silence Dogood The series of 14 letters published in The New-England Courant appeared in 1772. The letters really resonated with the community. Silence Dogood - like Martha Careful, Busy Body, Alice Addertongue and Polly Baker - were all Benjamin Franklin. In fact, he wrote believably in the voice of the 40 year old widow when he was just 16: proof of his talent as a writer. But although Franklin's female names are unusual, he writes, it was far from unusual for Enlightenment writers to use psudonyms. And even other men of the time were writing as women: William Thackeray, author of Vanity Fair, once used. The Honorable Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs, while Voltaire wrote as Catherine Vade and Daniel Defoe as Miranda Meanwell. For Franklin, he writes, taking the voice of a woman (even one which was as obviously made up as Silence Dogood) enabled him to talk in a way he wasn't able to as a man. Benjamin Franklin was a lot of things in his life: a signatory to the Constitution, a French fashion icon, an inventor and a printer. He was also the author of numerous letters and newspaper articles under male and female pseudonyms. But it's the female ones that are really interesting. On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects a charge in a Leyden jar when the kite is struck by lightning, enabling him to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. Franklin became interested in electricity in the mid-1740s, a time when much was still unknown on the topic, and spent almost a decade conducting electrical experiments. He coined a number of terms used today, including battery, conductor and electrician. He also invented the lightning rod, used to protect buildings and ships. In a painting Voltaire blessing Franklins grandson, in the name of God and Liberty. Franklin felt that organized religion was necessary to keep men good to their fellow men, but rarely attended religious services himself. When Franklin met Voltaire in Paris 1778 and asked his fellow member of the Enlightenment vanguard to bless his grandson, Voltaire said in English, God and Liberty, and added, this is the only appropriate benediction for the grandson of Monsieur Franklin.
April 1778, Benjamin Franklin, at that time a Minister Plenipotentiary to the newly formed United States of America, had with dinner with John Adams, the commissioner and the future President of the United States, and both went afterwards to hear a few papers read at the Academy of Sciences, the premier intellectual gathering in Paris. Benjamin Franklin was already famous throughout France for his discovery of the lightning rod and the electric properties of thunderstorms, in addition to his many literary and philosophical works and his staunch defence of his country's new independence. Called L'ambassador electrique, he moved among the social circles of Paris with much greater facility than Adams, whose stern republicanism was shocked at the frivolity the French mixed together with the serious affairs of science and diplomacy.
Also attending the Academy of Sciences that night was Voltaire, a voluminous writer whose religious and political scepticism had made his life one long litany of imprisonment in, and banishment from, his native France, but whose many sufferings had never stopped him writing , and served but to increase his fame and popular appeal. Now aged 83 and aware he had only a few months to live, and that the current climate was sympathetic to his opinions, he had broken a three decade sentence of exile and returned to Paris.
According to Adams' account, the meeting began routinely enough, with D'Alembert, the president, reading eulogies on the recently deceased members of the Academy. But some of the crowd, electrified at the presence of two living legends of the Enlightenment among them, began to demand that Franklin and Voltaire be introduced to one another. The two philosophers bowed formally and spoke to one another, but this was no satisfaction to anyone, and served but to increase the clamour of the audience. As Adams dryly notes:
Neither of our Philosophers seemed to divine what was wished or expected. They however took each other by the hand. But this was not enough. The Clamour continued, untill the explanation came out Il faut s'embrasser, a la francoise. The two Aged Actors upon this great Theatre of Philosophy and frivolity then embraced each other by hugging one another in their Arms and kissing each others cheeks, and then the tumult subsided.
What the two thought of each other, we hardly know, and the meeting led onto nothing new in the careers of these two titans of the Enlightenment, whose greatest triumphs were now behind them. All the same, one would have loved to have been there. During Franklin's lifetime slaves were numerous in Philadelphia. In 1750, half the persons in Philadelphia who had established probate estates owned slaves. Dock workers in the city consisted of 15% slaves. Franklin owned as many as seven slaves, two males of whom worked in his household and his shop. Franklin posted paid ads for the sale of slaves and for the capture of runaway slaves and allowed the sale of slaves in his general store. Franklin profited from both the international and domestic slave trade, even criticizing slaves who had run off to join the British Army during the colonial wars of the 1740s and 1750s. Franklin, however, later became a cautious abolitionist and became an outspoken critic of landed gentry slavery. In 1758, Franklin advocated the opening of a school for the education of black slaves in Philadelphia. After returning from England in 1762, Franklin became more anti-slavery, in his view believing that the institution promoted black degradation rather than the idea blacks were inherently inferior. By 1770, Franklin had freed his slaves and attacked the system of slavery and the international slave trade. Franklin, however, refused to publicly debate the issue of slavery at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Franklin tended to take both sides of the issue of slavery, never fully divesting himself from the institution. In his later years, as Congress was forced to deal with the issue of slavery, Franklin wrote several essays that stressed the importance of the abolition of slavery and of the integration of blacks into American society. These writings included: An Address to the Public 1789 A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks 1789 Virginia. Philosophy education online: Age of enlightenment ideas helped to create the constitution of the United States of America
Birthplace of Benjamin Franklin
Boston Massachusetts


1728 Benjamin Franklin became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette.
He could use his newspaper to instruct colonial Americans in moral virtue.
1730 he married Deborah Read. He brought his son William into their household, and had 2 children together.
One year later, Franklin joined the local Masonic Lodge, became Grand Master in 1734. He edited and published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson's Constitutions of the Free-Masons. Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life.
In 1743, Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society to help scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories.
1748, he was selected as a councilman, in June 1749 he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in 1751 he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly.
Franklin liked to create new things, the lightning rod, a multiple plate capacitor, glass harmonica, a special stove, bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter were some of his ideas.

Federalist Essays influenced and shaped the mind of many of the US founding fathers. Philosophy education online: Age of enlightenment ideas helped to create the constitution of the United States of America
While flying a kite in 1750, Franklin had the idea for an experiment. He wanted to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm. When he did the experiment Franklin was careful to stand on an insulator, keeping dry under a roof to avoid the danger of electric shock.
For his invention, Franklin received honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale universities.

Franklin was postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 to 1753.
Then he became deputy postmasters-general of British North America and lived in England from 1757 to 1762, and again from 1764 to 1774.
When he was asked why British packet ships carrying mail needed several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship,
Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns.

As deputy postmaster, Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. While in England in 1768, he heard a complaint from the Colonial Board of Customs: Why did it take British packet ships carrying mail several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship to reach Newport, Rhode Island? The merchantmen had a longer and more complex voyage because they left from London, while the packets left from Falmouth in Cornwall.
When Benjamin Franklin was deputy postmaster , he started an intensive investigation in the Atlantic ocean currents. The time the mail ships needed from the US to Europe was quite different. He was told that merchant ships took another route than the mail ships. Franklin talked to many experienced captains, and with all the information he could draw the the course of a current, he named Gulf stream in the Atlantic ocean map in 1770. Now the American ships could cross in a much shorter time, but the Europeans, especially the British edition of his chart was ignored in England. Franklin put the question to his cousin Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaler captain, who told him that merchant ships routinely avoided a strong eastbound mid-ocean current. The mail packet captains sailed dead into it, thus fighting an adverse current of 3 miles per hour (5 km/h). Franklin worked with Folger and other experienced ship captains, learning enough to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream, by which it is still known today. Franklin published his Gulf Stream chart in 1770 in England, where it was completely ignored. Subsequent versions were printed in France in 1778 and the U.S. in 1786. The British edition of the chart, which was the original, was so thoroughly ignored that everyone assumed it was lost forever. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the Revolution, he became the first US Postmaster General
Franklin talked to many ship captains, learning enough to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream, by which it is still known today.
Franklin published his Gulf Stream chart in 1770 in England, where it was completely ignored for many years.


Federalist Essays influenced and shaped the mind of many of the founding fathers. Philosophy education online: Age of enlightenment ideas helped to create the constitution of the United States of America
When Franklin sailed in to Philadelphia on May 5, 1775, after his second mission to Great Britain, the American Revolution had begun - with fighting between colonials and the British. In New England a militia group had trapped the main British army in Boston.
The Pennsylvania Assembly unanimously chose Franklin as their delegate to the Second Continental Congress. He was asked to be a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Franklin made several -small but important- changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson.
Benjamin Franklin's successor as minister was Thomas Jefferson.
who became 1790 secretary of state under his friend George Washington.
1796, Jefferson became vice-president after losing to John Adams.
Thomas Jefferson one of the founding fathers of the United states of America. James Madison, Benjamin Franklin coming together sharing thoughts about a constitution for the new America

Benjamin Franklin is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States:
the Declaration of Independence
the Treaty of Alliance with France
the Treaty of Paris
the United States Constitution.


Thomas Jefferson one of the founding fathers of the United states of America and many friends coming together sharing thoughts about a just government, fair treatment of its citizens
Voltaire blessing Franklin's grandson, in the name of God and Liberty

When Franklin was dispatched to France as commissioner for the United States, he took with him as secretary his 16-year-old grandson, William Temple Franklin.
John Adams and Benjamin Franklin had dinner in April 1978. After dinner they drove to the Academy of Sciences. Benjamin Franklin was famous throughout France for his discovery of the lightning rod and the electric properties of thunderstorms, in addition to his many literary and philosophical works and his staunch defense of his country's new independence. The French called him L'ambassador electrique, and he was invited to many social circles of Paris.
The same night Voltaire 1694 - 1778 was at the Academy, one of the leading men of the age of enlightenment, Franklin and Voltaire greeted each other and Voltaire blessed Franklin's grandson.

Benjamin Franklin was elected Governor of Pennsylvania from 1785 to 1788

Think about: A lot of the freedom
Americans have faced in their country is based on the thoughts and work of Benjamin Franklin
Who has lived over 200 years ago!

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."

"Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest."


"I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

Benjamin Franklin

Missing education is the most pervasive threat to the Earth today.


We have tried to give you a little glimpse of one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.
He was part of the "Age of Enlightenment", believed in the Laws of Nature", was part of a time when knowledge and understanding was highest priority!

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