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Ben Franklin

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Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most influential people in American history. Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in a small town in Boston. Benjamin was one of ten children. His father, Josiah was a candle and soap maker, and his mother Abiah Folger was a homemaker. When Benjamin was only twelve years old he signed his identures so that he could apprentice under his brother, working at a printing press. Here he worked for his brother James for over nine years. Benjamin had enormous talent, and after his apprenticeship was up, he got a job printing for the Boston Gazette. However this did not last very long, after only ten months Franklin's contract was given to someone else. This prompted Ben to start his own newspaper called the New England Courant. This was the beginning of a long life of success for Ben Franklin. Franklin had outstanding writing talent. His new business had done very well, but Franklin wanted more. Ben wanted to take over Philadelphia's biggest newspapers, The Pennsylvania Gazette. In the year 1729 Franklin bought this newspaper. He renamed it (Thank Heavens) The Pennsylvania Gazette. In the year 1730 Franklin had fathered a son. There were many rumors, as to whom the mother was, but Franklin never released her name. As a result of this Franklin wanted to get married. A woman named Deborah Read moved into his home, and became his common law wife. During this time Franklin had established himself as a leader in the Philadelphia community. He helped to establish Philadelphia's first public library. Franklin is also accredited with publishing the first almanac in 1732. Its name was Poor Richard's Almanack. Benjamin Franlkin's political career began in 1736. In this year he was elected clerk of the state legislature. Franklin had many ideas that benefited the city of Philadelphia. Upon his request a tax was established to provide better watchmen. He also helped organize volunteer firefighters. Ben also proposed a lottery to help bring money into the city, and he chartered a university that is name after him today, called the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin's print shop had made him a wealthy man, and in 1748 the success of the print shop had allowed Franklin to retire early . Franklin could now use his time to focus on his two other favorite things: science and politics. Soon after his retirement Franklin became extremely interested in experimenting with electricity. Franklin was one of the first people to suggest that lightning was merely naturally occurring electricity, and that it could be drawn from the clouds. In 1752, Ben Franklin performed his kite experiment. Here Franklin had his proof of lightning's electrical nature. Franklin wrote specifics on how the experiment was to be done, it said This kite is to be raised when a thunder-gust appears to be coming on, and the person who holds the string must stand within a door or window, or under some cover, so that the silk ribbon may not be wet; and care must be taken that the twine does not touch the frame of the door or window. As soon as any of the thunder-clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire will draw electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose filaments of the twine will stand out every way, and be attracted by an approaching finger. And when the rain has wet the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the phial may be charged; and from electric fire thus obtained. (Amacher 141) This experiment is one that gave Ben Franklin international fame. This however is not the only scientific material that Franklin studied. He also studied weather, and storm patterns. Franklin also studied medicine. When one of his brothers was sick he invented the instrument known as the catheter. Franklin was not a one sided person, he studied all different subjects and helped pave the was for researchers today. Franklin was one of the most well respected people in his lifetime. Many people admired him for his well-rounded education, and his leadership abilities. In the year of 1757 Franklin was sent to London to negotiate with the heirs of William Penn. Penn's heirs believed that they had authority over the citizens of Pennsylvania. However he could not make a compromise with Penn's heirs. However this trip was not a total loss. While overseas, Franklin was bestowed an honary degree from St. Andrews University in Scotland in 1759, and from Oxford University in England in 1762. Franklin arrived back in London in 1765. At this time the English Parliament had passed the Stamp Act. Franklin did all he could to get the Stamp Act turned down, but it was out of his control. Back in the colony\\\\\\\'s people were outraged. No taxation without representation became the phrase for the colonist who opposed this tax. Franklin took it upon himself to represent all of America during this period. He met several times with the British

to try to overturn this tax. The British

told him that they were doing this as a way to make money they lost during the French and Indian War. Franklin refused to allow this act to be brought upon the colonists. He argued that it was the colonist's who had aided the British

throughout the war. His words had convinced parliament, and in 1766, the Stamp Act was revoked. Franklin's trip to England was not only to meet with the Penns, but he also wanted the British

to realize the importance of the American colonies. Franklin believed that the British



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