Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was involved in the struggle of the early colonies to become a country separate from Great Britain. He was also an inventor and diplomat. A diplomat spends time in other countries making friends for his own country.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706. He was the 15th child of 17 children. Ben's father made candles. Ben stopped going to school when he was 10 but spent the rest of his life reading and learning on his own. At the age of 12, he became an apprentice to his brother who was a printer. His brother printed the Courant, the first newspaper in America to print just American news. An apprentice works with an expert who teaches the apprentice what he needs to know to be able to go out on his own someday in that occupation. He wrote letters about current topics to his brother's paper when he was a teenager and signed them Mrs. Silence Dogood. His brother printed them and never knew they were written by Ben. When he found out, he was angry.
Ben broke his apprenticeship to his brother when he was 17 and ran away to Philadelphia to become a printer. He lived the rest of his life there. His newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which he bought in 1729, was one of the most successful newspapers in the colonies. He was the first to use maps and publish editorial cartoons in a newspaper. He married Deborah Read and had his first son in 1831. Later he had two more children. In 1748, Benjamin Franklin sold the newspaper and retired from printing. In 1773 he started publishing Poor Richard's Almanack. It contained weather reports, recipes, predictions and funny sayings. He did this for 25 years.
Although Thomas Jefferson was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin was one of the five men involved in drafting the document. He was Pennsylvania's representative to the Second Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia in 1775. This body declared war on Great Britain and made George Washington the commanding general of the army.
He is the only American who signed all four major documents involved in the founding of the United States. These are the Declaration of Independence, a Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution of the United States. He was an ambassador to France from the colonies and convinced the French to aid them in their quest for freedom from Great Britain.
Benjamin Franklin was an inventor too. He is most famous for his experiments with electricity, proving that lightning is really electricity. With that knowledge, he invented lightning rods for buildings to protect them from being struck by lightning. He also invented bifocal lenses for glasses, swim fins and the Franklin stove.
Ben started the first public library in the United States and the first fire station in Pennsylvania. He founded a city hospital and a school which later became the University of Pennsylvania. He was active in helping with projects to clean, pave and light the streets of Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 at the age of 84.
In summary, Benjamin Franklin was one of the most famous of the early founders of the United States. He was a man with many talents and interests. He spent many years in publishing, was very successful as an inventor, cared about his home city of Philadelphia and began many projects to help its people. He also participated in the founding of a new nation separate from Great Britain by helping to write the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.
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