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Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father, Entrepreneur, and Scientist
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Ben assumed the persona of a witty and ingenious middle-aged woman in these writings, and he managed to make everyone, including his older brother, believe that the writer was indeed the character personified. When James discovered that Ben penned the articles, he was quite unhappy.
THOMAS FLEMING, Historian and Novelist
Nevertheless, in , Benjamin was placed at the helm of the publishing firm when James was jailed for a short while after publishing unflattering material. Ben became a fugitive when he left the publishing house without permission at age 17 and found his way to Philadelphia. In Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin started a new life as a worker in printer shops.
He was sent to London by Philadelphia Governor Sir William Keith to procure new equipment, but it turned out Keith was not serious about supporting the establishment of a newspaper at all. Young Franklin found London to be a fascinating place, far more modern than Philadelphia or Boston. He returned to Pennsylvania in and worked as an employee under Thomas Denham, a merchant. Although he stopped going to school at the age of 10, Benjamin Franklin continued to educate himself by reading extensively. He also taught himself to write. When he was 20 years old, Ben Franklin sought to actively improve his character by developing 13 virtues.
He listed these virtues in the autobiography he wrote later in life. The 13 precepts were composed of temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility.
These virtues became some of the guiding principles of his long life. Benjamin Franklin proposed marriage to Deborah Read in before he left for London at the behest of Governor Keith. In his absence, Deborah was married to another man with the blessing of her parents, who opposed the engagement with Franklin. Franklin and Deborah finally married on September 1, , when she was freed by law to remarry.
Together, the couple had two children of their own, Francis and Sarah Sally. Francis Franklin was born in and died four years later due to smallpox. Sally Franklin was born in and grew up to marry Richard Bache and have children of her own. She was the one who took care of Benjamin Franklin later in life when he was an old man.
William Franklin went to London himself to study Law. Later on, father and son were estranged due to differences with regard to the American Revolutionary War. When war broke out between America and Britain, the elder Franklin choose to remain loyal to the colonies while his son would remain loyal to the English Crown.
The broken relationship with his son was one of the great tragedies of his life. Deborah Franklin died of a stroke in while her husband was abroad in England. Ben Franklin never remarried after the death of his wife. Some historians believe that contrary to the more daring version wherein Ben Franklin presented himself to be struck by lightning, he was insulated and employed safety precautions.
Three years later, he was elected Fellow into the prestigious Royal Society—one of the few Americans given the honor. Moreover, the cgs unit of electrical charge that is equal to one statcoulomb was named after him one franklin or Fr. Franklin made a significant discovery about the growth of the population of America after studying the notes he made during the s to the s. Aside from determining that the growth of the population in America was the fastest at that time, he associated the phenomenon with the abundance of food supplies, specifically the vast area of farmlands in the New World.
It was originally drafted in , and reprints in Britain reached many intellectuals.
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In fact, Franklin was credited to be an important influence in the theories later developed by Adam Smith on economics and Thomas Malthus on population growth. Benjamin Franklin engaged himself in many other topics of study, including the behaviors of Atlantic Ocean currents, the wave theory of light in support of Christiaan Huygens , and meteorology storms, and the long-term effect of an Icelandic volcanic eruption on the winter of He also conducted experiments on refrigeration and electrical conductivity.
Franklin invented new devices that made life simpler and more convenient for the residents of the colonies. A lightning rod was a simple metal device placed at the high point of a building, and from it a metal wire ran to the ground. If the building was struck by lightning, the lightning rod would conduct the lightning to the earth, thus sparing the house from destruction by a direct hit from lightning. This method of protecting buildings from lightning is still in use today all over the world. Another of his more notable inventions was bifocal glasses, and he made significant improvements to the wood-burning stove.
Other inventions included a musical instrument called a glass harmonica and an odometer an instrument that measures the distance traveled by a motor vehicle. Franklin also pioneered the concept of Daylight Saving Time. As the colony of America grew it became more independent from the mother country of England, and by America had declared its intention to become a sovereign nation. Soon after the start of the American Revolution between England and America, Benjamin Franklin was elected by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a member of the Committee of Five—a group responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
However, he was still able to make important contributions to the text.
All About Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson sent him the draft, and he made changes that were included in the final document. During the American Revolutionary War, Franklin served an important and critical post as a diplomatic representative to France. After over a year of negotiations with King Louis XVI and the French government, Franklin managed to secure a treaty of Friendship and Commerce between the two countries. This was very beneficial to the young United States as France was one of the leading powers in the world at that time. The treaty with France was more importantly a military treaty between America and France.