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Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He was the tenth son of soap maker, Josiah Franklin. When Benjamin was 15 his brother started The New England Courant the first newspaper in Boston.

Benjamin wanted to write for the paper too, but he knew that his brother, the editor, would never let him, so Ben began writing letters at night and signing them with the name of a

fictional widow, Silence Dogood. Ben would sneak the letters under the print shop door at night

so no one knew who was writing the pieces. They were a smash hit, and everyone wanted to

know who was the real "Silence Dogood." After 16 letters, Ben confessed that he had been

writing the letters all along.

In 1729, Benjamin Franklin bought a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin not

only printed the paper, but often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper

soon became the most successful in the colonies. This newspaper, among other firsts, would print

the first political cartoon, authored by Ben himself. The cartoon depicted a snake divided into

parts with the caption, "Join, or die." This was supposed the need of the colonists to unite against

the British.

In 1733 he started publishing Poor Richard's Almanack. Almanacs of the era were printed

annually, and contained things like weather reports, recipes, predictions and homilies. Franklin

continued his civic contributions during the 1730s and 1740s. He helped launch projects to pave,

clean and light

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