Biography Of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), was a scientist and ambassador, philosopher, statesman, writer, businessman, and an admired free thinker. Franklin is known as “America’s Renaissance Man” and played a key role in establishing a united American identity during American Revolution.
Early life Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was born on 17th January 1706 into a large, but poor, family. His father had 17 children from two different women. Benjamin was raised in his family’s candle-making business and his brother’s printing shop. Benjamin loved to read about modern science and Sophocles whenever he had the chance. While coworkers took a break for lunch, Benjamin Franklin would browse through books in the bookshop while munching on raisins.
He began writing articles at an early age. They were published in The New England Courant under a pseudonym. Franklin continued to write under pseudonyms all his life. He admitted to his father after several articles had been published. His father was not pleased with him and beat him for it. At 17 years old, Benjamin quit his family business and moved to Philadelphia.
“The Constitution does not guarantee happiness for the American people. It is up to you to find it.
– Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin gained a reputation in Philadelphia as an acerbic man of letters. William Keith, the Pennsylvania governor, was impressed by his humor and satire and became interested in Benjamin’s ability to bring down powerful men. William Keith was afraid of Benjamin’s humor so offered him a job in England, with all expenses covered. Benjamin accepted the offer but, once in England, the governor left Franklin, leaving him without any funds.
Benjamin Franklin was often in uncomfortable situations. However, his natural resourcefulness as well as determination overcame all odds. Benjamin was offered a job as a London printer. He was nicknamed the “Water American” because he preferred to drink water over the six pints of beer he had been drinking daily. Franklin noted that a pennyworth worth of bread was more nutritious than a quart of beer.
A Quaker merchant, Mr. Denham, offered Franklin a job in Philadelphia in 1726. Franklin accepted the offer and returned to the US.
Benjamin compiled a list of 13 virtues that he considered important for his life. These included temperance, frugality, and sincerity as well as justice, justice, and tranquillity. Originally he had 12 but a friend pointed out that he was very proud of his accomplishments so he added 13: humility (Imitate Jesus or Socrates).
Virtues of Benjamin Franklin
1. “TEMPERANCE. Do not eat to boredom; do not drink to elevation.”
2. “SILENCE. “SILENCE”
3. “ORDER. “ORDER.
4. “RESOLUTION. “RESOLUTION.” Resolve to do what you should; accomplish without fail what it is that you resolve.
5. “FRUGALITY. Do good to others and yourself.
6. “INDUSTRY. Do not waste time, be productive and efficient; stop wasting your time.
7. “SINCERITY. Do not use hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly. And, if you do speak, speak accordingly.
8. “JUSTICE. “JUSTICE.”
9. “MODERATION. “MODERATION”: Avoid extremes and don’t resent injuries as much as they deserve.
10. “CLEANLINESS. “CLEANLINESS”: Tolerate any uncleanliness in body or cloaths.
11. “TRANQUILLITY. Do not be disturbed by trifles or accidents that are common or unavoidable.
12. “CHASTITY. Only use venery for your health and the benefit of your offspring. Never to dullness, weakness or injure another person’s reputation or peace.
13. “HUMILITY. “Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”
These virtues were to be cultivated throughout Franklin’s life. Franklin’s approach to self-improvement was a constant throughout his life.
Franklin was a successful American businessman, journalist, scientist, and statesman.
Benjamin Franklin’s Scientific Achievements
Franklin was a scientist who enjoyed science experiments. This was the start of the:
- Franklin stove – A mechanism to distribute heat throughout a space.
- The famous key and kite in the storm. This demonstrated that lightning and electricity could be one and the same thing.
- He was the first to provide electricity with positive and negative charges
- The first flexible urinary catheter
- The glass harmonica is also known as the glass armonica.
- Bifocal glasses
Franklin did not patent his inventions. He preferred to share them with the rest of society. He wrote:
“… As we have great benefits from the inventions made by others, we should take advantage of any opportunity to help others with our inventions. This should be done freely and generously.
Benjamin Franklin as Ambassador
In the tax dispute, Franklin was appointed ambassador to England. He held conferences with politicians for five years and continued his scientific research.
Franklin was a major role in warning the British government about the dangers associated with taxing the American colonies. Franklin won a contest of wills and was instrumental in convincing the British Parliament to repeal the hated Stamp Act. This reversal would be temporary. Franklin was declared a supporter of the new American independence movement when additional taxes were issued.
He returned to America in the conflict in 1775. He was one of five people who helped to draft the American Declaration of Independence, with Thomas Jefferson serving as the author.
Franklin was appointed America’s ambassador to France. He worked hard to win the French’s support for America’s war effort. Franklin was greatly admired during his time in French society and his portrait was often hung in homes.
The new US government, at 75 years old, asked Franklin to represent America in signing the peace treaty with Great Britain. This was in 1783.
Thomas Jefferson succeeded him as French ambassador, and he paid tribute to his immense capacity. Jefferson said: “I succeed [him]; no one can replace[ him].”
Benjamin Franklin’s Religious Beliefs
Benjamin Franklin believed in God his entire life. He believed in Deism from an early age. He didn’t attach too much importance to organized religion. His religious tolerance was well-known. It was often remarked that people of different faiths could consider him one of them. John Adams observed:
“The Catholics considered him to be almost a Catholic. He was claimed by the Church of England as one of their members. He was half Presbyterian and half Friends, according to the Presbyterians.
Franklin was a symbol of spirituality and the spirit that transcends organized religion.
Franklin was an avid debater but his style was to avoid confrontation or condemnation. He preferred to debate topics by asking awkward questions, similar to the Greek philosopher Socrates.
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