On January 17, 1706, in Boston, Benjamin Franklin was born into this world. Josiah Franklin, his father, was a soap maker that had ten sons. Abiah Folger, Ben’s mother, was the second wife of Josiah.
Benjamin had 17 siblings in all. When Ben was young he loved to read, so he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer. As a 12-year-old Benjamin would sell their products in the street, after helping James compose pamphlets and set type. When Benjamin was fifteen his brother started the New England Courant.
Ben wanted to write for the paper so bad, but he knew his brother would never let a little apprentice write for the paper. So at night Benjamin began writing letters filled with advice and insight of the critical world around him and specifically how women were treated. When he was done with letters he would sign them as “Silence Dogood”, a fictional widow. Then he would slide the letters under the print shop door at night so no one knew of any sources to question to find out who wrote the letters.
The letters soon became very popular and everyone wanted to know whom the real Silence Dogood was. Benjamin finally confessed to his brother after 16 letters, but his brother was very jealous of the attention he was getting now. After an issue with perspectives and different views of another issue, James was thrown in jail and Ben was left to run the paper. When his brother got out of jail he was not at all grateful to Benjamin for keeping the paper going.
He kept harassing Ben and even beat him physically from time to time. Benjamin finally had enough and ran away in 1723. He took a boat to New York where he had hope for a job as a printer. That door never opened so he walked across New Jersey, and later arrived in Philadelphia.
Franklin found work as an apprentice printer there. He did very well and the governor of Pennsylvania promised to set Ben up a business if he would go to London and buy fonts and printing equipment. That plan fell through and he soon returned to Philadelphia. Franklin attempted to run a shop, but soon went back to being a printer’s helper.
Franklin was a better printer than the man he was working for so he borrowed some money and set himself up his own printing business. The public now was noticing him for his hard work efforts. Soon he started to get the contract to do government jobs and his business soared. In 1728 he had a boy named William.
The mother of the little boy is still to this day unknown. In 1730 Benjamin married his “childhood sweetheart,” Deborah read. Now, in addition to running the print shop, Deborah ran their own store, and he also ran a bookstore. In 1729 Benjamin bought a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which soon became the most successful in the colonies.
In 1733 he started publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac. Franklin continued his colonial efforts during the 1730’s and 1740’s. He helped start projects to clean, pave, and even light Philadelphia’s streets. Along with his many other accomplishments he helped to launch the Library Company in 1731.
In 1743, he helped to start to American Philosophical Society, the first learned society in America. In 1751, he realized the need for medical help so he got a group together and formed the Pennsylvania Hospital. The Library Company Philosophical Society and Pennsylvania Hospital are still active today. He also organized the first Union Fire Company in the city of Philadelphia in 1736.
Later in 1752, he helped the Philadelphia contribution for insurance against loss of fire. The contributions is still in business today. He invented a heat-efficient-stove-called the Franklin stove in 1743. Franklin invented many things in his lifetime like swim fins, the glass armonica, bifocals, a lightening rod, and a simple odometer.
In the 1750’s politics became a pretty big interest with Franklin. He went to England to represent Pennsylvania in its fight with the descendants of the Penn family over who should represent the colony in 1757.He stayed in England until 1775, because he was a colonial representative of Pennsylvania, Georgia, new Jersey and Massachusetts. America’s huge opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765 caught him by surprise.
He then tried to repeal the law by giving his testimony in front of parliament. He continued working towards America’s Independence after he came back home again. His son William was now the Royal Governor of New Jersey and Benjamin thought his son would agree with his opinion, but he remained a loyalist. This hurt their relationship and the tension was never mended.
Then Benjamin was elected to the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence with five other people. Franklin contributed a lot of his efforts to the Declaration of Independence even though Thomas Jefferson wrote it. Later Benjamin signed the Declaration of Independence and then set sail as an ambassador to Louis XVI. The French people adored Ben and it influenced the government to a treaty of alliance with the Americans in 1778.
Franklin also signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783 when Americans won the revolution several years before his wife Deborah had passed away and he was a huge flirt now. In his late seventies he returned to America and became President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Also, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution. In 1789 he wrote an anti-slavery treatise.
Finally, on April 17, 1790 Franklin died at the age of 84; at his funeral 20,000 people attended. Even though he has been gone for a long time, he will never be forgotten.