Benjamin Franklin, born in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts, was a renowned polymath who made significant contributions as a scientist, inventor, and statesman.
Starting his career as a printer, Franklin developed a love for the written word, which led him to establish the Junto, a group for intellectual discussion, and the Library Company, an initiative for knowledge accessibility.
He is known for his inventions like the Franklin stove and the lightning rod. Franklin transitioned into politics in the 1750s, representing Pennsylvania and later several colonies in England. As a Founding Father, he played a pivotal role in drafting the U.S. Constitution and securing France’s support during the American Revolutionary War. Franklin continued his public service until his death in 1790, leaving a lasting legacy in American history.
Benjamin Franklin Quotes
“Well done is better than well said.”
“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”
“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.”
“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
“Most of us must learn to love people and use things rather than loving things and using people.”
“Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.”
“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.”
Early Life: An Apprentice Becomes a Printer
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the youngest son in a family of seventeen children. As a child, Franklin had limited formal education, leaving school at ten years old to help his father. At twelve, he was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. Here, he developed a love for the written word, often writing pieces under pseudonyms and sneaking them into his brother’s newspaper.
A Man of Letters: Founding the Junto and the Library Company
In 1723, Benjamin Franklin fled his brother’s harsh service and moved to Philadelphia, where he ultimately established a successful printing house. Beyond his printing business, Franklin was a voracious reader and an intellectual. In 1727, he established the Junto, a group of like-minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.
Franklin’s commitment to knowledge accessibility was monumental in his founding of the Library Company in 1731. His belief in the power of shared knowledge led to the creation of this lending library, which made books available to those who could not afford them.
The Inventive Mind: Franklin Stove and Lightning Rod
While running his print shop, Franklin also had a passion for science and invention. His most notable inventions include the Franklin stove and the lightning rod. His observations of electricity and his detailed account of his experiments were compiled in the book “Experiments and Observations on Electricity,” which earned him widespread acclaim.
Political Foray: Agent of Pennsylvania and Founding Father
In the 1750s, Benjamin Franklin’s attention shifted increasingly towards politics. He served as the Pennsylvania Assembly’s agent to England and later as a representative of several colonies. Franklin became a vocal critic of British policies, advocating for the colonies’ rights and eventually supporting the cause for American independence.
Franklin was a pivotal player in drafting the U.S. Constitution and is one of the country’s most recognized Founding Fathers. His charm and diplomacy were instrumental in securing France’s support during the American Revolutionary War.
The End of an Era: Franklin’s Final Years and Legacy
Benjamin Franklin returned to America in 1785 and served as the President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Later, at 81, he was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention. He continued his life of public service until his death on April 17, 1790.
Franklin’s legacy lives on, a testament to his boundless intellect and civic commitment. His contributions to science, politics, and public welfare have had a lasting impact, leaving an indelible mark on American history.