Benjamin had only two years of formal education, which finished when he was ten years old, because his family could not afford the fees. His informal education then accelerated, because his mind was too restless to stop learning. When he was twelve, Benjamin began working as an apprentice in a printing shop owned by one of his elder brothers, James. Aged 17, Benjamin Franklin left for Philadelphia, escaping from his apprenticeship, which was against the law. He was, however, free.
After a few months in Philadelphia he left for London, England, where he learned more about printing, before returning to Philadelphia at the age of 20 to continue his printing career. Aged 27, in December , the first editions of the publication that would make him a wealthy man rolled off his printing press: It was a general interest pamphlet offering interest and amusement for its readers, including: He continued reading as much as he could, increasing his knowledge of science and technology until he was in a position to begin innovating himself.
Franklin was an original thinker, scientist and inventor. Dating his inventions is not always easy, because Franklin did not patent them. He said that anyone who wanted to make money from his ideas was free to do so. This means the dates of his inventions are approximate.
Franklin wore spectacles for most of his life. He felt limited by them, because any lens that was good for reading blurred his vision when he looked up. Working as a printer, this became infuriating. He defeated the problem in about , aged 33, with his invention of split-lens bifocal spectacles.
Each lens now had two focusing distances. Looking through the bottom part of the lens was good for reading, while looking through the upper part offered good vision at a greater distance. As Franklin read more about science, he learned more about heat transfer.
He looked at the design of a typical stove and concluded that it was inefficient. Much more heat was lost up the flue than necessary. The idea was that hot gases which would normally simply go up the flue would exchange their heat with cold air from the room, heating it up, and so heating the room up. In , the Franklin Stove came on to the market, allowing homeowners to get more heat into their homes for each unit of fuel they burned. Cold air blue gains heat from contact with the hot stove.
As this warming air continues on its path, it gains more heat through contact with metal, the other side of which is in contact with the hot smoke red going to the flue. The use of these fireplaces in very many houses, both of this and the neighboring colonies, has been, and is, a great saving of wood to the inhabitants. In , Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society. In those days, scientists were called philosophers. In summer , Franklin visited his hometown of Boston.
Always seeking new knowledge, he visited a science show. There he saw Dr. Archibald Spencer, who had arrived from Scotland, demonstrating a variety of scientific phenomena. The electrical part of the show intrigued Franklin most: Franklin left the show determined to learn more about electricity. It seemed to him that Dr. This, of course, was true: It was more a source of entertainment than a science. In , Franklin got hold of a long glass tube for the efficient generation of static electricity from Peter Collinson in London.
He identified that there was an electrical fluid that could flow from A to B. To describe the process he coined the terms positive and negative to describe the difference between A and B after the electrical fluid had flowed. Of course, today we would call the electrical fluid electrons , but remember: It means that you cannot create or destroy electric charge. Franklin was also the first person to use the words electrical battery. His meaning was not the same as ours though.
His battery was made of capacitors known as Leyden jars wired together in series to store more charge than one alone could. This enabled Franklin to produce a bigger discharge of static electricity in his experiments. In , Franklin published the fruits of his labors in a book called Experiments and Observations on Electricity , which was widely read in Britain and then Europe, shaping a new understanding of electricity.
In , Franklin carried out his most famous scientific work, proving that lightning is electricity. He pioneered and was first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act.
An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations.
His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in , having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution , he became the first United States Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs.
From to , he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the s, he argued against slavery from an economic perspective and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.
Benjamin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts , on August 15, , to Peter Folger , a miller and schoolteacher, and his wife, Mary Morrell Folger , a former indentured servant. She came from a Puritan family that was among the first Pilgrims to flee to Massachusetts for religious freedom , when King Charles I of England began persecuting Puritans. They sailed for Boston in Her father was "the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America.
Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony. Benjamin Franklin's father, Josiah Franklin , was a tallow chandler, a soap-maker and a candle-maker. Benjamin's father and all four of his grandparents were born in England. Josiah had seventeen children with his two wives.
He married his first wife, Anne Child, in about in Ecton and immigrated with her to Boston in ; they had three children before immigrating, and four after.
Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's fifteenth child and tenth and last son. Among Benjamin's siblings were his older brother James and his younger sister Jane.
Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy, but only had enough money to send him to school for two years. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through voracious reading. Although "his parents talked of the church as a career"  for Franklin, his schooling ended when he was ten. He worked for his father for a time, and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade.
When Ben was 15, James founded The New-England Courant , which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies. When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of " Silence Dogood ", a middle-aged widow.
Dogood's letters were published, and became a subject of conversation around town. Neither James nor the Courant' s readers were aware of the ruse, and James was unhappy with Ben when he discovered the popular correspondent was his younger brother. Franklin was an advocate of free speech from an early age. When his brother was jailed for three weeks in for publishing material unflattering to the governor, young Franklin took over the newspaper and had Mrs.
Dogood quoting Cato's Letters proclaim: At age 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seeking a new start in a new city. When he first arrived, he worked in several printer shops around town, but he was not satisfied by the immediate prospects.
After a few months, while working in a printing house, Franklin was convinced by Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to go to London, ostensibly to acquire the equipment necessary for establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. Finding Keith's promises of backing a newspaper empty, Franklin worked as a typesetter in a printer's shop in what is now the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in the Smithfield area of London.
Following this, he returned to Philadelphia in with the help of Thomas Denham, a merchant who employed Franklin as clerk, shopkeeper, and bookkeeper in his business.
In , Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto , a group of "like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.
Reading was a great pastime of the Junto, but books were rare and expensive. The members created a library initially assembled from their own books after Franklin wrote:. A proposition was made by me that since our books were often referr'd to in our disquisitions upon the inquiries, it might be convenient for us to have them altogether where we met, that upon occasion they might be consulted; and by thus clubbing our books to a common library, we should, while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of us the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if each owned the whole.
This did not suffice, however. Franklin conceived the idea of a subscription library , which would pool the funds of the members to buy books for all to read. This was the birth of the Library Company of Philadelphia: In , Franklin hired the first American librarian, Louis Timothee. The Library Company is now a great scholarly and research library. Upon Denham's death, Franklin returned to his former trade. In , Franklin had set up a printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith ; the following year he became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette.
The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, and his adroit cultivation of a positive image as an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect.
But even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. In , Ben Franklin published the first German-language newspaper in America — Die Philadelphische Zeitung — although it failed after only one year, because four other newly founded German papers quickly dominated the newspaper market. Although Franklin apparently reconsidered shortly thereafter, and the phrases were omitted from all later printings of the pamphlet, his views may have played a role in his political defeat in Franklin saw the printing press as a device to instruct colonial Americans in moral virtue.
In Benjamin Franklin's Journalism , Ralph Frasca argues he saw this as a service to God, because he understood moral virtue in terms of actions, thus, doing good provides a service to God. Despite his own moral lapses, Franklin saw himself as uniquely qualified to instruct Americans in morality.
He tried to influence American moral life through construction of a printing network based on a chain of partnerships from the Carolinas to New England. Franklin thereby invented the first newspaper chain.
It was more than a business venture, for like many publishers since, he believed that the press had a public-service duty. Franklin quickly did away with all this when he took over the Instructor and made it The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette soon became Franklin's characteristic organ, which he freely used for satire, for the play of his wit, even for sheer excess of mischief or of fun. From the first, he had a way of adapting his models to his own uses.
The series of essays called "The Busy-Body", which he wrote for Bradford's American Mercury in , followed the general Addisonian form, already modified to suit homelier conditions. The thrifty Patience, in her busy little shop, complaining of the useless visitors who waste her valuable time, is related to the ladies who address Mr. And a number of the fictitious characters, Ridentius, Eugenius, Cato, and Cretico, represent traditional 18th-century classicism.
Even this Franklin could use for contemporary satire, since Cretico, the "sowre Philosopher", is evidently a portrait of Franklin's rival, Samuel Keimer.
The Pennsylvania Gazette , like most other newspapers of the period, was often poorly printed. Franklin was busy with a hundred matters outside of his printing office, and never seriously attempted to raise the mechanical standards of his trade. Nor did he ever properly edit or collate the chance medley of stale items that passed for news in the Gazette.
His influence on the practical side of journalism was minimal. Undoubtedly his paper contributed to the broader culture that distinguished Pennsylvania from her neighbors before the Revolution. Like many publishers, Franklin built up a book shop in his printing office; he took the opportunity to read new books before selling them. Franklin had mixed success in his plan to establish an inter-colonial network of newspapers that would produce a profit for him and disseminate virtue.
After the second editor died, his widow Elizabeth Timothy took over and made it a success, — She was one of the colonial era's first woman printers. Editor Peter Timothy avoided blandness and crude bias, and after increasingly took a patriotic stand in the growing crisis with Great Britain. In , Franklin was initiated into the local Masonic lodge. He became Grand Master in , indicating his rapid rise to prominence in Pennsylvania.
Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life. At age 17 in , Franklin proposed to year-old Deborah Read while a boarder in the Read home. At that time, Read's mother was wary of allowing her young daughter to marry Franklin, who was on his way to London at Governor Sir William Keith's request, and also because of his financial instability. Her own husband had recently died, and she declined Franklin's request to marry her daughter. While Franklin was in London, his trip was extended, and there were problems with Sir William's promises of support.
Perhaps because of the circumstances of this delay, Deborah married a man named John Rodgers. This proved to be a regrettable decision. Rodgers shortly avoided his debts and prosecution by fleeing to Barbados with her dowry , leaving her behind.
Rodgers's fate was unknown, and because of bigamy laws, Deborah was not free to remarry. Franklin established a common-law marriage with Deborah Read on September 1, They took in Franklin's recently acknowledged young illegitimate son William and raised him in their household. They had two children together. Their son, Francis Folger Franklin , was born in October and died of smallpox in Their daughter, Sarah "Sally" Franklin , was born in and grew up to marry Richard Bache , have seven children, and look after her father in his old age.
Deborah's fear of the sea meant that she never accompanied Franklin on any of his extended trips to Europe, and another possible reason why they spent so much time apart is that he may have blamed her for preventing their son Francis from being vaccinated against the disease that subsequently killed him.
In , year-old Franklin publicly acknowledged the existence of his son William, who was deemed "illegitimate," as he was born out of wedlock, and raised him in his household. His mother's identity is unknown. Beginning at about age 30, William studied law in London in the early s. He fathered an illegitimate son, William Temple Franklin , born February 22, The boy's mother was never identified, and he was placed in foster care.
Later in , William married Elizabeth Downes, daughter of a planter from Barbados. After William passed the bar, his father helped him gain an appointment in as the last Royal Governor of New Jersey. A Loyalist , William and his father eventually broke relations over their differences about the American Revolutionary War. The elder Franklin could never accept William's position. Deposed in by the revolutionary government of New Jersey, William was arrested at his home in Perth Amboy at the Proprietary House and imprisoned for a time.
The younger Franklin went to New York in , which was still occupied by British troops. They initiated guerrilla forays into New Jersey , southern Connecticut , and New York counties north of the city. He settled in London, never to return to North America. In the preliminary peace talks in with Britain, " Benjamin Franklin insisted that loyalists who had borne arms against the United States would be excluded from this plea that they be given a general pardon.
He was undoubtedly thinking of William Franklin. In , Franklin began to publish the noted Poor Richard's Almanack with content both original and borrowed under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, on which much of his popular reputation is based. Franklin frequently wrote under pseudonyms.
Although it was no secret that Franklin was the author, his Richard Saunders character repeatedly denied it. Wisdom in folk society meant the ability to provide an apt adage for any occasion, and Franklin's readers became well prepared. He sold about ten thousand copies per year—it became an institution. Franklin's autobiography , begun in but published after his death, has become one of the classics of the genre.
Daylight saving time DST is often erroneously attributed to a satire that Franklin published anonymously. Franklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the lightning rod , glass harmonica a glass instrument, not to be confused with the metal harmonica , Franklin stove , bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter.
Franklin never patented his inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, " Franklin started exploring the phenomenon of electricity in when he saw some of Archibald Spencer 's lectures using static electricity for illustrations.
The same proposal was made independently that same year by William Watson. Franklin was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively,   and he was the first to discover the principle of conservation of charge. In recognition of his work with electricity, Franklin received the Royal Society 's Copley Medal in , and in he became one of the few 18th-century Americans elected as a Fellow of the Society.
He received honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale universities his first. Franklin advised Harvard University in its acquisition of new electrical laboratory apparatus after the complete loss of its original collection, in a fire which destroyed the original Harvard Hall in The collection he assembled would later become part of the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments , now on public display in its Science Center.
Franklin briefly investigated electrotherapy , including the use of the electric bath. This work led to the field becoming widely known. In , [ citation needed ] he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm that appeared capable of becoming a lightning storm.
On June 15 Franklin may possibly have conducted his well-known kite experiment in Philadelphia , successfully extracting sparks from a cloud.
Franklin described the experiment in the Pennsylvania Gazette on October 19, ,   without mentioning that he himself had performed it. Franklin was careful to stand on an insulator, keeping dry under a roof to avoid the danger of electric shock. Georg Wilhelm Richmann in Russia , were indeed electrocuted in performing lightning experiments during the months immediately following Franklin's experiment.
In his writings, Franklin indicates that he was aware of the dangers and offered alternative ways to demonstrate that lightning was electrical, as shown by his use of the concept of electrical ground. Franklin did not perform this experiment in the way that is often pictured in popular literature, flying the kite and waiting to be struck by lightning, as it would have been dangerous.
When rain has wet the kite twine so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it streams out plentifully from the key at the approach of your knuckle, and with this key a phial, or Leyden jar , may be charged: Franklin's electrical experiments led to his invention of the lightning rod. He said that conductors with a sharp  rather than a smooth point could discharge silently, and at a far greater distance.
He surmised that this could help protect buildings from lightning by attaching "upright Rods of Iron, made sharp as a Needle and gilt to prevent Rusting, and from the Foot of those Rods a Wire down the outside of the Building into the Ground; Would not these pointed Rods probably draw the Electrical Fire silently out of a Cloud before it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible Mischief!
Franklin had a major influence on the emerging science of demography , or population studies. In the s and s, Franklin began taking notes on population growth, finding that the American population had the fastest growth rate on earth.
He calculated that America's population was doubling every twenty years and would surpass that of England in a century. Franklin's predictions alarmed British leaders who did not want to be surpassed by the colonies, so they became more willing to impose restrictions on the colonial economy.
Franklin was also a pioneer in the study of slave demography, as shown in his essay. As deputy postmaster, Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. While in England in , he heard a complaint from the Colonial Board of Customs: Why did it take British packet ships carrying mail several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship to reach Newport, Rhode Island?
The merchantmen had a longer and more complex voyage because they left from London, while the packets left from Falmouth in Cornwall. Franklin put the question to his cousin Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaler captain, who told him that merchant ships routinely avoided a strong eastbound mid-ocean current. Franklin worked with Folger and other experienced ship captains, learning enough to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream , by which it is still known today. Franklin published his Gulf Stream chart in in England, where it was completely ignored.
Subsequent versions were printed in France in and the U. It took many years for British sea captains to adopt Franklin's advice on navigating the current; once they did, they were able to trim two weeks from their sailing time.
Though it was Dr. Franklin and Captain Tim Folger, who first turned the Gulf Stream to nautical account, the discovery that there was a Gulf Stream cannot be said to belong to either of them, for its existence was known to Peter Martyr d'Anghiera , and to Sir Humphrey Gilbert , in the 16th century.
Franklin was, along with his contemporary Leonhard Euler , the only major scientist who supported Christiaan Huygens 's wave theory of light , which was basically ignored by the rest of the scientific community.
In the 18th century Newton's corpuscular theory was held to be true; only after Young's well-known slit experiment in were most scientists persuaded to believe Huygens's theory. On October 21, , according to popular myth, a storm moving from the southwest denied Franklin the opportunity of witnessing a lunar eclipse.
Franklin was said to have noted that the prevailing winds were actually from the northeast, contrary to what he had expected. In correspondence with his brother, Franklin learned that the same storm had not reached Boston until after the eclipse, despite the fact that Boston is to the northeast of Philadelphia.
He deduced that storms do not always travel in the direction of the prevailing wind, a concept that greatly influenced meteorology.
After the Icelandic volcanic eruption of Laki in , and the subsequent harsh European winter of , Franklin made observations connecting the causal nature of these two separate events. He wrote about them in a lecture series.
Though Benjamin Franklin has been most noted kite-wise with his lightning experiments, he has also been noted by many for his using kites to pull humans and ships across waterways. In his later years he suggested using the technique for pulling ships. Franklin noted a principle of refrigeration by observing that on a very hot day, he stayed cooler in a wet shirt in a breeze than he did in a dry one.
To understand this phenomenon more clearly Franklin conducted experiments. In on a warm day in Cambridge , England, Franklin and fellow scientist John Hadley experimented by continually wetting the ball of a mercury thermometer with ether and using bellows to evaporate the ether.
In his letter Cooling by Evaporation , Franklin noted that, "One may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day.
According to Michael Faraday , Franklin's experiments on the non-conduction of ice are worth mentioning, although the law of the general effect of liquefaction on electrolytes is not attributed to Franklin. Bache of the University of Pennsylvania, the law of the effect of heat on the conduction of bodies otherwise non-conductors, for example, glass, could be attributed to Franklin. A certain quantity of heat will make some bodies good conductors, that will not otherwise conduct And water, though naturally a good conductor, will not conduct well when frozen into ice.
An aging Franklin accumulated all his oceanographic findings in Maritime Observations , published by the Philosophical Society's transactions in Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure.
When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con , I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro , I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly.
While traveling on a ship, Franklin had observed that the wake of a ship was diminished when the cooks scuttled their greasy water.
He studied the effects on a large pond in Clapham Common , London. Franklin is known to have played the violin, the harp , and the guitar. He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early classical style. While he was in London, he developed a much-improved version of the glass harmonica , in which the glasses rotate on a shaft, with the player's fingers held steady, instead of the other way around. He worked with the London glassblower Charles James to create it, and instruments based on his mechanical version soon found their way to other parts of Europe.
Franklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess by around , making him the first chess player known by name in the American colonies. Franklin was able to play chess more frequently against stronger opposition during his many years as a civil servant and diplomat in England, where the game was far better established than in America. He was able to improve his playing standard by facing more experienced players during this period. He regularly attended Old Slaughter's Coffee House in London for chess and socializing, making many important personal contacts.
No records of his games have survived, so it is not possible to ascertain his playing strength in modern terms. Franklin was inducted into the U. Chess Hall of Fame in In , Franklin created the Union Fire Company , one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America. In the same year, he printed a new currency for New Jersey based on innovative anti- counterfeiting techniques he had devised.
Throughout his career, Franklin was an advocate for paper money , publishing A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency in , and his printer printed money.
He was influential in the more restrained and thus successful monetary experiments in the Middle Colonies, which stopped deflation without causing excessive inflation. In he made a case for paper money to the British House of Commons. As he matured, Franklin began to concern himself more with public affairs. However, the person he had in mind to run the academy, Rev.
Richard Peters , refused and Franklin put his ideas away until , when he printed his own pamphlet, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. In , Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society to help scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories.
He began the electrical research that, along with other scientific inquiries, would occupy him for the rest of his life, in between bouts of politics and moneymaking.
In , Franklin already a very wealthy man retired from printing and went into other businesses. This lucrative business arrangement provided leisure time for study, and in a few years he had made discoveries that gave him a reputation with educated persons throughout Europe and especially in France. Franklin became involved in Philadelphia politics and rapidly progressed. In October , he was selected as a councilman, in June he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly.
On August 10, , Franklin was appointed deputy postmaster-general of British North America , see below. His most notable service in domestic politics was his reform of the postal system, with mail sent out every week. In , Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond obtained a charter from the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in what was to become the United States of America. In , Franklin organized the Philadelphia Contributionship , the first homeowner's insurance company in what would become the United States.
Between and , the "educational triumvirate"  of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, the American Dr. Franklin solicited, printed in , and promoted an American textbook of moral philosophy from the American Dr. Samuel Johnson titled Elementa Philosophica  to be taught in the new colleges to replace courses in denominational divinity. At its first commencement, on May 17, , seven men graduated; six with a Bachelor of Arts and one as Master of Arts.
It was later merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania to become the University of Pennsylvania. The College was to become influential in guiding the founding documents of the United States: In , both Harvard  and Yale  awarded him honorary degrees.
In , he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense against the French.
Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
In , Franklin received an honorary master of arts degree from the College of William and Mary. He used Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to go into battle against the Native American uprisings that beset the American colonies. Reportedly Franklin was elected "Colonel" of the Associated Regiment but declined the honor.
From the mid s to the mid s, Franklin spent much of his time in London. Officially he was there on a political mission, but he used his time to further his scientific explorations as well, meeting many notable people. In , he was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a colonial agent to protest against the political influence of the Penn family , the proprietors of the colony.
He remained there for five years, striving to end the proprietors' prerogative to overturn legislation from the elected Assembly, and their exemption from paying taxes on their land.
His lack of influential allies in Whitehall led to the failure of this mission. At this time, many members of the Pennsylvania Assembly were feuding with William Penn's heirs , who controlled the colony as proprietors. After his return to the colony, Franklin led the "anti-proprietary party" in the struggle against the Penn family, and was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House in May His call for a change from proprietary to royal government was a rare political miscalculation, however: Pennsylvanians worried that such a move would endanger their political and religious freedoms.
Because of these fears, and because of political attacks on his character, Franklin lost his seat in the October Assembly elections. The anti-proprietary party dispatched Franklin to England again to continue the struggle against the Penn family proprietorship. During this trip, events drastically changed the nature of his mission.
In London, Franklin opposed the Stamp Act. Unable to prevent its passage, he made another political miscalculation and recommended a friend to the post of stamp distributor for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians were outraged, believing that he had supported the measure all along, and threatened to destroy his home in Philadelphia. Franklin soon learned of the extent of colonial resistance to the Stamp Act, and he testified during the House of Commons proceedings that led to its repeal.
With this, Franklin suddenly emerged as the leading spokesman for American interests in England. He wrote popular essays on behalf of the colonies. Georgia , New Jersey , and Massachusetts also appointed him as their agent to the Crown.
During his stays there, he developed a close friendship with his landlady, Margaret Stevenson, and her circle of friends and relations, in particular her daughter Mary, who was more often known as Polly. Their house, which he used on various lengthy missions from to , is the only one of his residences to survive. It opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House museum in Whilst in London, Franklin became involved in radical politics.
He belonged to a gentleman's club which he called "the honest Whigs" , which held stated meetings, and included members such as Richard Price , the minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church who ignited the Revolution Controversy , and Andrew Kippis.
After his return to the United States in , Franklin became the Society's Corresponding Member, continuing a close connection. The study of natural philosophy what we would call science drew him into overlapping circles of acquaintance. Franklin was, for example, a corresponding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham , which included such other scientific and industrial luminaries as Matthew Boulton , James Watt , Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin ; on occasion he visited them.
In , the University of St Andrews awarded Franklin an honorary doctorate in recognition of his accomplishments. Because of these honors, Franklin was often addressed as "Dr. Franklin also managed to secure an appointed post for his illegitimate son, William Franklin , by then an attorney, as Colonial Governor of New Jersey.
This reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant c, j, q, w, x, and y , and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own. This alphabet never caught on, and he eventually lost interest.
Franklin used London as a base to travel. In , he visited Edinburgh with his son, and recalled his conversations there as "the densest happiness of my life". From then he was known as "Doctor Franklin". He had never been to Ireland before, and met and stayed with Lord Hillsborough , who he believed was especially attentive.
Franklin noted of him that "all the plausible behaviour I have described is meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper into his sides. He was the first American to receive this honor.
Ireland's economy was affected by the same trade regulations and laws of Britain that governed America. Franklin feared that America could suffer the same effects should Britain's "colonial exploitation" continue. Franklin spent two months in German lands in , but his connections to the country stretched across a lifetime. He declared a debt of gratitude to German scientist Otto von Guericke for his early studies of electricity.
Franklin also co-authored the first treaty of friendship between Prussia and America in News of his electrical discoveries was widespread in France. His reputation meant that he was introduced to many influential scientists and politicians, and also to King Louis XV. One line of argument in Parliament was that Americans should pay a share of the costs of the French and Indian War , and that therefore taxes should be levied on them.
Franklin became the American spokesman in highly publicized testimony in Parliament in He stated that Americans already contributed heavily to the defense of the Empire. He said local governments had raised, outfitted and paid 25, soldiers to fight France—as many as Britain itself sent—and spent many millions from American treasuries doing so in the French and Indian War alone.
In , Franklin published two of his most celebrated pro-American satirical essays: In , Franklin obtained private letters of Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver , governor and lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay , proving that they had encouraged the Crown to crack down on Bostonians.
Franklin sent them to America, where they escalated the tensions. The letters were finally leaked to the public in the Boston Gazette in mid-June ,  causing a political firestorm in Massachusetts and raising significant questions in England.
Hopes for a peaceful solution ended as he was systematically ridiculed and humiliated by Solicitor-General Alexander Wedderburn , before the Privy Council on January 29, He returned to Philadelphia in March , and abandoned his accommodationist stance.
In , soon after Franklin returned to Pennsylvania from England for the first time, the western frontier was engulfed in a bitter war known as Pontiac's Rebellion. The Paxton Boys , a group of settlers convinced that the Pennsylvania government was not doing enough to protect them from American Indian raids, murdered a group of peaceful Susquehannock Indians and marched on Philadelphia.
Franklin helped to organize a local militia to defend the capital against the mob. He met with the Paxton leaders and persuaded them to disperse. Franklin wrote a scathing attack against the racial prejudice of the Paxton Boys. He provided an early response to British surveillance through his own network of counter-surveillance and manipulation.
By the time Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on May 5, , after his second mission to Great Britain, the American Revolution had begun—with fighting between colonials and British at Lexington and Concord. The New England militia had trapped the main British army in Boston. In June , he was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several "small but important"  changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson. At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by John Hancock that they must all hang together: Well known as a printer and publisher, Franklin was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia in , holding the office until , when he and publisher William Hunter were named deputy postmasters—general of British North America, the first to hold the office.
Joint appointments were standard at the time, for political reasons. Franklin was responsible for the British colonies from Pennsylvania north and east, as far as the island of Newfoundland. A post office for local and outgoing mail had been established in Halifax, Nova Scotia , by local stationer Benjamin Leigh, on April 23, , but service was irregular. Franklin opened the first post office to offer regular, monthly mail in what would later become Canada, at Halifax, on December 9, Meantime, Hunter became postal administrator in Williamsburg , Virginia and oversaw areas south of Annapolis , Maryland.
Franklin reorganized the service's accounting system, then improved speed of delivery between Philadelphia, New York and Boston. By , efficiencies led to the first profits for the colonial post office. For the greater part of his appointment, Franklin lived in England from to , and again from to —about three-quarters of his term. Franklin had been a postmaster for decades and was a natural choice for the position.
The report of the Committee, providing for the appointment of a postmaster general for the 13 American colonies, was considered by the Continental Congress on July 25 and It established a postal system that became the United States Post Office, a system that continues to operate today. Franklin remained in France until He conducted the affairs of his country toward the French nation with great success, which included securing a critical military alliance in and negotiating the Treaty of Paris Considerations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus.
Franklin and Mirabeau thought of it as a "noble order", inconsistent with the egalitarian ideals of the new republic. He was the th member of the Lodge. In , when Franz Mesmer began to publicize his theory of " animal magnetism " which was considered offensive by many, Louis XVI appointed a commission to investigate it. Franklin's advocacy for religious tolerance in France contributed to arguments made by French philosophers and politicians that resulted in Louis XVI 's signing of the Edict of Versailles in November This edict effectively nullified the Edict of Fontainebleau , which had denied non-Catholics civil status and the right to openly practice their faith.
Franklin also served as American minister to Sweden, although he never visited that country. On August 27, , in Paris, Franklin witnessed the world's first hydrogen balloon flight. When he returned home in , Franklin occupied a position only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence.
After his return, Franklin became an abolitionist and freed his two slaves.
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Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, He was the tenth son of soap maker, Josiah Franklin. Though Ben only had one year of schooling he .
Benjamin Franklin FRS FRSE (January 17, [O.S. January 6, ] He began the electrical research that, along with other scientific inquiries, would occupy him for the rest of his life, in between bouts of politics and moneymaking. From through , Benjamin Franklin was happily settled in London. In England he was renowned as a famous scientist, and until he staunchly believed that America and its mother country could be reconciled. Craven Street is the only one of Franklin Employees:
Benjamin Franklin has no desire to impede the powers of Britain or Parliament, but rather was attempting to create an extension of their powers. The design of a Ground Council was the culminating work of all Franklin¶s efforts.5/5(1). At the centre of the society was one of its founders, Benjamin Franklin, who (in his experiments concerning the flow of electricity) proved to be one of the few American scientists to achieve a major theoretical breakthrough but who was more adept at the kinds of applied research that resulted.