Benjamin Franklin was born in the year 1706, in Boston. He was an accomplished man throughout his entire life. He created the first library to lend books in the United States. In addition, he
made scientific discoveries about electricity and other quite useful inventions. Of significance to note is that he never patented his work. This is because he felt that it should be used to help
improve society. Outside of scientific circles, he was an accomplished politician who was key to drafting the Declaration of Independence. He also played a crucial role in the drafting of the
constitution of the United States. Additionally, he played a key role in the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. which was a key moment towards almost the end of the Revolutionary War.
He was born to Josiah Franklin, who was a career candle and soap maker. He was the fifth child of his father's second wife, who had ten other children. In addition, Josiah Franklin had seven children from his first wife, Anne Child. In spite of being quite accomplished at the Boston Latin School, he was taken to his father's shop at the age of ten. Perhaps having noticed the young man had no interest in wax making, his father moved him to his brother's printing shop as an apprentice. His brother, James was hard and refused to publish any of the young Benjamin's work. However, this did not dissuade Benjamin Franklin; he took the persona of an old woman in order to get his works published. He took on the name 'Silence Dogood'. In the evenings, he would slip his works under the door of the printing office. His work was much loved by the readers of 'The New England Courant'. This was the first paper in the Boston area.
When Benjamin Franklin finally revealed that, he was the real Silence Dogood, his brother was not impressed. His brother became furious with the young Ben and did not like the attention the young man was receiving. This sibling rivalry continued until much later on. His brother James came into conflict with the priests, known as the Mathers. Eventually, due to his opposition to his clergy, he was thrown in prison. When he eventually came out of jail, he was very hard on his brother. He did not like the direction, which his paper had taken. As a result, the young Franklin could no longer take the beating and he left for Philadelphia.
Franklin the Printer
When he arrived there, he had no money at all and used his last savings to buy some bread. Luckily for him, a young woman, named Deborah Read and took him into their home. The Read family assisted the young Franklin find a job as an apprentice at a printer. In 1724, the young Benjamin Franklin moved to England, where he found work as a printer. When he came back two years later, he found that his love, Deborah Read had already married. He continued to hold various jobs in Philadelphia, even fathering a son, whose mother is unknown to this day.
His fame had spread everywhere. He began receiving government contracts, which helped boost his confidence in starting his own printing press. In the year 1729, he established his own printing press, publishing a newspaper known as the 'Pennsylvania Gazette'. The newspaper was quite popular, gaining a wide readership over a short period. In addition, Ben Franklin would make regular contributions to the paper under various pseudonyms. His most financially successful publication was 'Poor Richard's Almanac'. The publication was extremely popular and profitable. It stayed in circulation from 1733 to the year 1758. In 1730, he married his dear Deborah Read under common law but they could not officially get married. This was after her first husband deserted her. This was after he was accused of having stolen a slave, a very grave crime at the time. They had their first son Francis, but who later died at the age of four. Later on, they had another child, a daughter named Sarah.
Franklin the Inventor
One of his favorite inventions was the glass harmonica. His invention was more balanced and did not require any water. It quickly gained popularity in the Continent and in Europe. His franklin stove was also quite revolutionary. In addition to preventing fires, which was common then. It used a quarter as much wood as other stoves. However, he refused to have it patented.
His famous lightning experiment in 1752 was another great invention. By proving that lightning was electricity, he no doubt helped to save a lot of lives then and up to now. His lightning rod would help direct the electricity into the ground, preventing it from burning up homes, which were mostly made of wood back then. Since then, very few modifications have been made to it. In 1784, suffering from old age, he discovered that he was wasting a lot of time switching between glasses. In order to remedy the situation, he placed a lens for short site at the bottom, and that for long site at the bottom. Thus, he did not have to carry to pairs of glasses all the time.
He also made important contributions to geography; he discovered the Gulf Stream. By making various measurements of wind speed and temperature, he was able to discover a warm current of air. He likened to a river of warm air, which flowed east to Europe, thus helping making shipments in this direction much faster.
The American Revolution
As he had managed to amass a lot of wealth, he began to concentrate on other matters. Among them was organization a fire service and a society for young men to lift themselves out of poverty. In addition, Franklin created an insurance company that would assist people avoid financial ruin. In 1757, Franklin moved to England where he stayed for up to the year 1775.
His time there was mostly spent as the colonial representative of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. His loyalty to the crown earned him a lot of admiration from the high society of England. As a result, he was able to gain access to a lot of valuable information. This was crucial to the American Revolution. During his time England, he grew increasingly distasteful of the grand corruption he witnessed there. Before living for England, he had proposed a plan to unite the continental American colonies. However, this idea had not gained much traction at the time.
During his time in England, he managed to get hold of correspondence, which showed the governor of Massachusetts was secretly working for the crown. This generated some anger, which was key to uniting the populations of the colonies into opposing British rule. Additional restrictions, which were imposed by the British, led to growing displeasure among the populations of the American colonies. Eventually war broke out and Franklin returned to America join the war effort. In 1776, he was among the group of men, who signed the declaration of independence. Essentially this meant that the thirteen American colonies who signed it no longer recognized British rule.
Franklin got a posting as ambassador of the United States that same year by the second continental congress. During his stay in France, he was tasked with seeking a diplomatic solution to the ongoing war with England. In 1778, he managed to convince the French to sign a defense pact with the United States. This pact was crucial to the war effort. It provided the Continental Congress with much needed ammunition, finance and expert military advice.
This assistance helped to turn the tide of the war. In 1783, after hard negotiations, the British finally agreed to sign a treaty with the United States. The Treaty of Paris was the end of the American Revolutionary War.
After almost a decade in France, where he had become quite popular, he returned to America in 1785. His stay in France had seen him become quite popular. The scientific community there was quite impressed by his inventions. In addition, his wit and charm won him much favor with the high society of France. This has been crucial in assisting him win the support of the French. When he returned in 1785, he was appointed as the representative of Pennsylvania to the Constitutional convention two years later. He was the oldest delegate at the convention.
The convention took place in 1787, and was subject to much debate. Benjamin Franklin played an important in convincing the delegates to sign the document. In June 1788, the constitution was eventually ratified as the constitution of the United States. This was after meeting the minimum nine state requirement. Eventually, George Washington became the United States' first president in 1789. He eventually died a year later in April of 1790. His funeral was attended by a mass of humanity of about twenty thousand. He willed most of his life's wealth to Boston and Philadelphia. This money was used to advance philanthropic causes for the betterment of human society.
Benjamin Franklin was an exemplary figure for the United States and for the world. He was honored by having his image printed on the hundred-dollar bill. One of his lasts acts for humanity was a publication against slavery, which he wrote in 1789.