Short Biography of Benjamin Franklin
Known as the “First American”, Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, scientist, civil servant, diplomat, philosopher, musician, lucrative businessman, writer, and a well-to-do publisher. Although he was one of twenty children and couldn’t afford to go to school past the age of ten, Franklin would become one of the most famous Americans of his time and one of the most staunch advocates for American Independence once he learned that Britain would not repeal their tax laws.
Young Benjamin learned printing at a young age from his older brother. Benjamin’s father wanted him to join the church and sent Benjamin to different religious schools. However, Franklin was more interested in following his older brother’s footsteps and learning more about printing. Later, he wrote under a pen name that represented the opinions of an old widowed woman in the colonies.
By the time Franklin was 17, he was tired of his father’s plans for his own life. So, he ran away to Philadelphia, a city where Franklin believed he could start his life over again the way he saw fit. He worked in the field that he knew best, namely in publishing. Franklin then went to London to work as a compositor in a print shop, and some years later returned to the United States to work as a bookkeeper for a merchant business.
Franklin soon set up his own printing house, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette, where he became quite wealthy. His wealth grew exponentially when he began publishing the Poor Richard’s Almanac, which offered meteorological predictions, daily quotes, and readings, something that other almanacs did not provide. He also published Father Abraham’s Sermon. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, entitled Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School, has also seen success even to this day.
After making a few more profitable business negotiations, Franklin worked more on his inventions and theories of electricity, where he proved that lighting was in fact an electrical current of charged static that could be grounded and even stored. From this, he invented the lighting rod and thought about rudimentary batteries. Following, he invented eyeglasses, efficient wood-burning stoves, and lots of other inventions that he didn’t copyright, but left open for the public good. He also founded the first fire department of the colonies in Philadelphia, and set up the American Philosophical Society.
Franklin began getting more involved in politics and was sent to Britain and France as a diplomat and envoy to help iron out the different taxes that Britain was levying on its territories. When Britain refused, Franklin became an advocate for the formation of an independent nation. As the War of Independence began, Franklin alone was able to get the French to aid the newly formed United States’ purpose. In his later years, he fought for the abolition of slavery and set up trusts that would fund colleges and public works programs for the next two centuries.
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