Biography of Ben Franklyn


I think that Benjamin Franklin was a very important person. He was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston. Through out his life he has been a printer, author, diplomat, philosopher, and scientist. As a scientist he made many major inventions such as electricity. Back in Ben Franklin’s day people ranked him among the country’s greatest statesmen.

His father was named Josiah Franklin. He was a tallow chandler which is a person that makes candles and soap. Josiah had 17 children; Benjamin was the 15th child and the 10th son. His mothers name was Abiah Folger, she was his father’s second wife. The Franklin family was very poor, like most New England families. Ben went to grammer school form age eight to ten when he was taken into his fathers buisness. Ben didn’t like the work as a tallow chandler so he became a cutler. At age 13 he helped out his brother James, who had just returned from England with a new printing press. Benjamin learned the printing trade. In his spare time he extended his education.

In 1721 his brother James Franklin established the New England Courant, and when Ben was 15 he was busily occupied by delivering the newspaper in the day and in writing articles for it at night. When he wrote his articles they were signed anonymous. Because of its content, the New England Courant frequently got the conlonial authorities mad. In 1722 James Franklin was put in jail for a month and was not allowed to write it anymore so Ben had to write it under his name.

As Ben continued to work for James they faught a lot so Ben left Boston and went to live in Philadelphia in October 1723. While he was there he traded with numerous people and made lots of friends, one of his friends was Sir William Keith who was the provincial governor of Pennsylvania. He told Franklin to go to London to complete his training as a printer and to purchase the equipment needed to start his own printing establishment in Philadelphia. Franklin was young and took this advice, arriving in London in December 1724. When he arrived Ben didn’t receive promised letters of introduction and credit from Keith. Franklin was in a strange town with out any money or credit at age 18. Ben was very resourceful and get a job at two of the best printing houses in London. They were Palmer’s and Watt’s.

In October 1726, Franklin returned to Philadelphia and continued his trade. The following year he got a bunch of friends together and formed a group known as the Junto. Which later became the American Philosophical Society. In September 1729, he bought the Pennsylvania Gazette that was a boring, poorly edited weekly newspaper. He made this newspaper entertaining and informative with his witty style and knowledge of news. In 1730 he married Deborah Read she was a Philadelphia woman whom he had known before his trip to England.

Franklin had many public projects. In 1731 he set up what was probably the first public library in America. Named in 1742 the Philadelphia Library. He first published Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1732, under the pen name, which was Richard Saunders. This book was a big success. In 1736 Franklin became clerk of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the next year was picked for deputy postmaster of Philadelphia. About this time, he got together the first fire company in that city and introduced methods for the improvement of street paving and lighting. Ben also invented the Franklin stove that got rid of excess smoke from normal chimneys and also heated the houses better.

In 1747 Franklin began to do electric experiments that started with a simple apparatus that he received from Peter Collinson in England. He advanced a theory of the Leyden jar, which was the idea that lightning is an electrical phenomenon, and made an effective method of demonstrating this fact. His plan was published in London and carried out in England and France before he himself performed his famous experiment with the kite in 1752. He invented the lightning rod and offered what is called the “one-fluid” theory in which it explains that there are two kinds of electricity, positive and negative. When the people of the University of St. Andrews and the University of Oxford found out about his scientific experiments and he got honorary degrees. In 1753 Ben was awarded a Copley Medal for his science experiments.

In 1748 Franklin sold his printing business and, in 1750, was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly, in which he served until 1764. He was made deputy postmaster general for the colonies in 1753, and in 1754 he was the representative from Pennsylvania to the Intercolonial Congress that met in Albany to dicuss methods of dealing with the French and Indian War (1754-1763).

In March 1785, Franklin, at his own request, left his duties in France and returned to Philadelphia, where he was immediately chosen president of the Pennsylvania executive council (1785-87). In 1787 he was elected a delegate to the congress that drew up the U.S. Constitution. Franklin was deeply interested in interesting projects, and one of his last public acts was to sign a petition to the U.S. Congress, on February 12, 1790, as president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, telling people to get rid of slavery and the suppression of the slave trade. Two months later, on April 17, Franklin died in his Philadelphia home at 84 years of age. This concludes my report on Ben Franklin and shows why I think Ben Franklin was an interesting and smart person.

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