Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin had many 'occupations.' Some of these were a printer, a diplomat, a scientist, an inventor, a philosopher, an educator, and a public servant. Ben organized the first library in America. He helped draft the Declaration of independence and the American Constitution. He also invented many things including the lightning rod.

Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. His dad, who's name was Josiah, was a poor soap and candlemaker. His mom was Josiah's second wife. Benjamin was the youngest son and the 15th of 17 children. He attended school for two years and loved swimming. One of his first inventions was a set of paddles to make him swim faster.

When he was 12 years old he went to be an apprentice in the print shop owned by his half brother James. Ben quickly learned how to read and write better.

To write better he would read essays out of a paper and rewrite them in his own style and then compare them and find the mistakes. Ben was not content with his job of an apprentice because it made little money and James had a bad temper. James broke his apprenticeship.

He then went to New York City which was smaller than Boston at the time. He found no work there. In October he went to Philadelphia. The governor of Pennsylvania soon took interest in Benjamin and told him he should start his own shop. He sent him to London to buy a printing press and type. The governor told him he would pay for all his expenses. The governor had not told the truth though so Benjamin was stranded in London with no money. He worked in London and raised enough money to return to Philadelphia in 1726.

In 1728 Benjamin started his own business with his partner, Hugh Meredith. They published a daily newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. Ben wrote quotes every week under a pen name. On of his most famous quotes was:

Early to Bed, early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Although this was good advice Franklin ignored it. He stayed up teaching himself English, French, and German. He also formed a debating club. Franklin thought the schools at his time were out of date so he published a book on how he thought they should be. These were used to form a college which later became the University of Pennsylvania.

By 1748 Ben had raised enough money to retire. He bought a 300-acre farm near Burlington, NJ., and he retired so he could give his time to science and public services. From 1736 to 1751 he was the clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly and also he served as deputy postmaster from 1737 to 1753 in Philadelphia.

Franklin went on many missions and he served in other positions . Finally in the last five years of his life he went back to Philadelphia. Even then he was not idle. He invented a device for getting books from high shelves. He wrote letters to friends and political leaders. In his last years presidents visited him, he wrote articles, and wrote his famous autobiography. His final public act was to sign a memorial to the state legislature as president of the Pennsylvania society for the abolition of black slavery.

Benjamin Franklin died at the age of 84 on April 17, 1790. He had a very nice funeral and after that he was buried next to his wife in Christ church cemetery, in Philadelphia.