Benjamin Franklin will always be one of America’s greatest influential leaders. He’s known for his tremendous contributions in the world of politics, science, philosophy, among others. His discoveries and theories in electricy made him a significant figure in physics. During the American revolution, Franklin was able to secure the French alliance making independence a reality. Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706. According to Houston (2004), Franklin took his knowledge in printing from his older brother and became a newspaper editor, printer and merchant in Philadelphia.
He published Poor Richard’s Almanac and the Pennsylvania Gazette during his stint in England (Houston, 2004). When in the united States, he is behind the establishment of the first public lending library and fire department. Benjamin went to Boston Latin School but was not able to graduate instead, he continued his education through tremendous reading. When he was 17 years old, Franklin went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to seek a new start in a new city. There he worked in several printer shops.
After several months, Franklin was persuaded by Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to go to London, purposely to achieve the necessary equipment for establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. He returned to Philadelphia in 1726 with the help of a merchant named Thomas Denham, who gave Franklin a position as clerk, shopkeeper, and bookkeeper in Denham’s merchant business. The Author, Inventor, Philosopher, National Hero, etc. A person’s character was so important to Franklin. To cultivate his own character, he developed thirteen virtues at the age of 20 which became his guiding principles all throughout his life.
These virtues, as mentioned in Houston’s book (2004) as well as other references on the life and works of Franklin, are lested below with their corresponding meanings: 1. Temperance which he meant as to eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation. 2. Silence is the next virtue which goes to mean that speak not but what may benefit others or yourself, avoid trifling conversation. 3. The virtue of Order directly means, let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 4. Resolution.
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. What he wanted everyone to understand was to waste nothing. 6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. ” 9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation. 11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. 13. And the last virtue is Humility wherein he emphasized that we should imitate jesus and Socrates who according to him were the greatest examples of people who practiced humility. These virtues are indeed powerful and may be adopted by anyone.
They were purposely created by franklin to make a person’s character stronger. Among other things, Franklin was so fascinated in science and technology. Famous from his line of inventions attached to his name are the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, catheter, swimfins, glass harmonica and bifocals. His contributions in electricity earned him recognitions such as the one from the Royal Society’s Copley Medal in 1753 and in 1756 he became one of the few eighteenth century Americans to be elected as a Fellow of the Society.
The cgs unit of electric charge has been named after him: one franklin (Fr) is equal to one statcoulomb. Steven M. Gillon and Cathy D. Matson (2003) illustrated that franklin also played a major role with the establishment of the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin and Marshall College. In fact, in 1769 he was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge. Perhaps, the most lasting legacy of Benjamin Franklin is the appearance of his image in the American $100 bill.
These days, $100 bills are often referred to as “Benjamins” or “Franklins” as mentioned by authors Gillon and Matson (2003). The city of Philadelphia is a living tribute to Franklin with about 5,000 likenesses of Benjamin Franklin in the city’s various areas. When he returned to the United States in 1762 after his stay in London, Franklin became actively involved in the Paxton Boys’ affair, writing a sarcastic attack on their massacre of Christian American Indians and eventually asking them to break up.
A lot of the Paxton Boys’ supporters were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and German Reformed or Lutherans from the rural west of Pennsylvania, leading to allegations that Franklin was biased in favor of the urban Quaker elite of the East (Gillon and Matson 2003). These attacks led to Franklin losing a seat in the 1764 Assembly elections. This occasion became an opportunity for him to return to London earning the reputation of being a pro-American radical. Houston (2004) noted that Franklin was dispatched to England as an agent for the colony in 1764 to petition the King to take over the government from the hands of the proprietors.
This visit would also become instrumental in becoming the colonial agent for Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. While he was living in London in 1768, he improved a phonetic alphabet in A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This new format discarded six letters which he believed were redundant and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own; however, his new alphabet never caught on and he eventually lost interest. When Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on May 5, the American Revolution has been going on with battles at Lexington and Concord.
With this development, he was chosen by the Pennsylvania Assembly as their official delegate to the Second Continental Congress (Gillon and Matson 2003). Then In 1776 he became a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence and was part of the group responsible in making several small changes to Thomas Jefferson’s draft. In 1787 he served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia where he played an dignified role, but seldom participated in debate.
Franklin, according to Houston (2004) is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States which include the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution. Benjamin Franklin died at the age of 84 in April 17, 1790. His funeral was historically graced by about 20,000 people (Gillon and Matson 2003). He was laid to his final resting place at the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This is actually the same church which is also the home of Benjamin Rush. One of the houses he lived in Craven Street was previously marked with a blue plaque, and has since been opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House which has attracted tourists from across the globe. In 1728, according to Gillon and Matson (2003) when he was just a young man, Franklin wrote the following words to be his own epitaph: “The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more, In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author. He was born on January 17, 1706. Died 17. ” But in his will, Franklin’s actual grave simply reads “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin. ” Works Cited: Alan Houston, ed. Franklin: The Autobiography and other Writings on Politics, Economics, and Virtue. Cambridge U. Press, 2004. 371 pp. Steven M. Gillon and Cathy D. Matson. The American Experiment: A History of the United States, Volume II: Since 1865 (Boston: Houghton Mif
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