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  • 1. Surname 1Student NameProfessor’s NameHistory8 February 2012 Biography of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin is no doubt one of the greatest men in the history of America. He wasa statesman, a father, an author, a scientist, a philosopher, a printer, an activist, a peacemaker, apostmaster, a musician, an inventor and a politician (“National Archives”). He is revered as oneof the founding fathers of the United States due to his contribution towards the independence ofour great nation. He is a man who preached water and drank the same water. In this researchpaper we look into his life, the characteristics that made him successful, and his contributiontowards independence and why he is still relevant to today’s American society. Benjamin was born in Milk Street Boston as the tenth son of Josiah Franklin, a soapmaker, on January 17, 1706. Josiah had a total of 17 children, which made it difficult for him toformally educate his young ones. Benjamin joined grammar school at eight years and later aclergyman school but did not stay for long. One year later his father ran out of money to pay thefees. He then attached him to his elder brother James, who was a printer (Franklin 21). At atender age of twelve he was on the streets selling the prints. James was a strict man who wouldnot allow his brother to write articles for his newspaper, The New England Courant(“Founders”).To go round this, Benjamin would write anonymous letters titled “SilenceDogood.” The letters were a hit. Benjamin confessed to writing the letters later, which made him
  • 2. Surname 2fall out with his envious brother. James was jailed for his views and prints on Smallpox. While injail, Benjamin ran the newspaper. Upon his release, James battered Benjamin, and when he couldnot take it any longer he fled to Philadelphia where he worked as an apprentice printer. It washere that he met his future wife Deborah, who then thought that he looked awkward (Isaacson 1). He made a trip to England but settled in Philadelphia where he started his own printingshop, wrote and published The Pennsylvania Gazette and later Poor Richards Almanack. He waspassionate about Philadelphia, often helping with tasks such as cleaning the city and launching alibrary. He also helped in founding an insurance company which gave financial compensation tothose who suffered from fire tragedies. Later in life he retired from business and studied science,especially electricity. He made significant contributions to science by pioneering inventions inswim fins, library chair, extension arm, lighting rod, odometer and the three wheel clock (“It’sthe Little Things”). He joined politics in the late 1750s as he represented Pennsylvania, Georgia,New Jersey and Massachusetts in London, England and in France. He returned home in 1776where he and four others drafted the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin was a man who could do many things. His wisdom made him prosper, aseverything he touched turned out into gold. He was a trustworthy person. When his brother wasjailed, he continued with his business, and sure enough, the business was still thriving whenJames emerged from the cagy doors of jail. He was a hardworking man. In his book BenjaminFranklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson states that “as a young printer in Philadelphia, hecarted rolls of paper through the streets to give the appearance of being Industrious” (2). Thisshows his hardworking nature. Benjamin was very responsible. When he was sent to England to
  • 3. Surname 3represent Pennsylvania he did his job diligently, to the extent of even going to France to lobbyfor America to gain independence. His loyalty is beyond any doubt. While in England he was loyal to the king, but later he was even more loyal to theAmerican people by preferring to go back home. He even fell out with his son for this reason. Hewas also very enduring. He was constantly faced with difficult tasks which required him towithstand. For example his brother James often treated him badly; sometimes he even beat him,which he endured for a long time (Thomas 25). He was also very determined. He left hisgirlfriend in Pennsylvania, only to return and find her married to another man. That did not deterhim from marrying her after her husband died (“Electric Ben Franklin”). His family was diverse. Coming from a large family helped to mold him into the man helater turned out to be. His father, an astute man, had clear objectives of what he wanted hischildren to be. He is the one who introduced him to the printing business, an art that was hisbread and butter for a long time. His wife Deborah, was very supportive even at a time when shedid not know him. She welcomed him to their home and lived with him before his departure toLondon (“Electric Ben Franklin”). She brought up Benjamin’s son, William, like her own son(“The Franklin Institute”). The contributions of the founding father to our independence cannot be forgotten. In his2011 book Benjamin Franklin, Gillian Gosman states that “many of his ideas played animportant part in the formation of the United States” (4). He fostered unity and development inAmerican colonies. Other than working in the committee that came up with the IndependenceDeclaration, he served in the first and the second Continental Congress. After the signing of thisdeclaration he embarked on a diplomatic mission to France where he represented thirteen
  • 4. Surname 4colonies. While in France he lobbied for funds, equipment, labor and many other essentials thatwere used in the revolution. He used his diplomacy skills to serve to benefit his people. Heentered the annals of history as being the only man to sign four critical documents that broughtthe United States into existence, namely Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Alliance, Amityand Commerce with France and the Constitution (“The Franklin Institute”). His contributionswere costly. His job required that he travels to distant countries. His wife had a phobia for seatravel and opted to remain at home. He was forced to live a lonely life away from his dear wife.His contribution separated him from his family, to an extent that his wife died when he wasoverseas. At the time when he decided it was time to be wholly loyal to his people; his son wasalready in England. He refused to join hands with his father in the noble course. They were neverreconciled, not even at his death bed. His sacrifices cost him his family life. Benjamin was an exceptional leader who did so much with very little. His times may belong gone, but those very moments are still very relevant to the American people. His wisdom,courage, innovation, political goodwill, determination, honesty, loyalty, boldness and wit arewhat is required to take America to the promised land. He would be a good leader for today’sAmerican society.
  • 5. Surname 5 Works Cited“Electric Ben Franklin.” A quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.“Founders.” Digital History. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.Franklin B. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York, 1916. Print.Gosman, Gilian. Benjamin Franklin. New York. 2011. Print.“It’s the little things.” Inquiring Mind. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York. 2003. Print.“National Archives” The Centre for Legislative Archives. 2006. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.“The Franklin Institute.” Deborah Read Rodgers. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.Thomas and Cowperthwait. The Life of Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia. 1842. Print.