•Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706
•In 1721, James founded the New
England Courant, the fourth
newspaper in the colonies. Benjamin
secretly contributed 14 essays to it,
his first published writings.
In 1723, because of dissension with his half-brother, Franklin moved
to Philadelphia, where he obtained employment as a printer.
Back in Philadelphia, he rose rapidly in
the printing industry. He published The
Pennsylvania Gazette (1730-48), which
had been founded by another man in
1728, but his most successful literary
venture was the annual Poor Richard 's
Almanac(1733-58). It won a popularity in
the colonies second only to the Bible,
and its fame eventually spread to
In 1787, he was elected as first president of the Pennsylvania
Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery-a cause to which he
had committed himself as early as the 1730s. His final public act was
signing a memorial to Congress recommending dissolution of the
In 1790 at the age of 84,
Franklin passed away in
Philadelphia and was laid to rest
in Christ Church Burial Ground.
Christ Church Burial Ground.
Franklin, the American inventor, statesman, and publisher,
achieved success with Poor Richard's Almanack. Almanacks
were very popular books in colonial America, offering a
mixture of seasonal weather forecasts, practical household
hints, puzzles, and other amusements.Poor Richard's
Almanack was also popular for its extensive use of wordplay,
and some of the witty phrases coined in the work survive in
the contemporary American vernacular.
The Almanack contained
the calendar, weather, poems,
astronomical and astrological
information that a typical
almanac of the period would
contain. He also included the
the Almanack from 1750
features an early example
of demographics. It is chiefly
remembered, however, for
being a repository of
Franklin's aphorisms and pro
verbs, many of which live on
in American English. These
maxims typically counsel
thrift and courtesy, with a
dash of cynicism.
In the early editions of Poor Richard's Almanack,
predicting and falsely reporting the deaths of these
astrologers—much to their dismay—was something of
a running joke. However, Franklin's endearing
character of "Poor" Richard Saunders, along with his
wife Bridget, was ultimately used to frame (if
comically) what was intended as a serious resource
that people would buy year after year.
In later editions, the original Richard Saunders
character gradually disappeared, replaced by a Poor
Richard, who largely stood in for Franklin and his own
practical scientific and business perspectives. By 1758,
the original character was even more distant from the
practical advice and proverbs of the almanac, which
Franklin presented as coming from "Father Abraham,"
who in turn got his sayings from Poor Richard.
In 1732 he earned a master of
arts degree in philosophy.
Then he entered the Collège
d'Harcourt in Paris.
In 1734 Diderot decided to
become a writer.
In 1742 he befriended JeanJacques Rousseau.
In 1743 he further alienated his
father by marrying Antoinette
Champion (1710–1796), a
devout Roman Catholic. 1773
and 1775, Diderot spent a few
months at the empress's court
in Saint Petersburg.
Diderot died of gastrointestinal problems in Paris
on July 30, 1784, and was buried in the city's Église
André Le Breton, a bookseller
and printer, approached Diderot
with a project for the
publication of a translation
Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or
Universal Dictionary of Arts and
Sciences into French, first
undertaken by the
Englishman John Mills, and
followed by the
German Gottfried Sellius.
Diderot accepted the proposal,
and transformed it. He
persuaded Le Breton to publish
a new work, which would
consolidate ideas and
knowledge from the Republic of
Letters. Jean le Rond
d'Alembert was persuaded to
become Diderot's colleague; and
permission was procured from
In 1750 an elaborate prospectus announced the project,
and in 1751 the first volume was published.
Diderot's work, however, was mired in controversy
from the beginning; the project was suspended by the
courts in 1752. Just as the second volume was
completed accusations arose, regarding seditious
content, concerning the editor's entries on religion
and natural law. Diderot was detained and his house
was searched for manuscripts for subsequent articles.
But the search proved fruitless as no manuscripts
could be found.
. The Encyclopédie threatened the governing
social classes of France (aristocracy) because it
took for granted the justice of religious
tolerance, freedom of thought, and the value of
science and industry. It asserted the doctrine that
the main concern of the nation's government
ought to be the nation's common people. It was
believed that the Encyclopédie was the work of an
organized band of conspirators against society,
and that the dangerous ideas they held were made
truly formidable by their open publication.
In 1759, theEncyclopédie was formally suppressed.
The decree did not stop the work, which went on,
but its difficulties increased by the necessity of
being clandestine. Jean le Rond
d'Alembert withdrew from the enterprise and
other powerful colleagues, including Anne Robert
Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, declined to
contribute further to a book which had acquired a
It was 12 years, in 1772,
before the subscribers
received the final 27
folio volumes of
the Encyclopédie, ou
des sciences, des arts
et des métiers since
the first volume had