Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents; an accomplished inventor, philosopher, writer, statesman, economist and musician. His eclectic and active life earned him the titles both of the model American citizen and one of the founding fathers of the United States. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706 although he considered Philadelphia, Pennsylvania his hometown. He died in 1790 at the age of 84 and is buried in Philadelphia.
At the young age of 12, Benjamin Franklin became an apprentice to his older brother James who was a printer and ran a newspaper in Boston. The newspaper titled The New England Courant, was the first of its kind in Boston. At age 15, Franklin desperately wanted to write for the paper. Knowing that his brother would not allow him to do so, he created the pen name Silence Dogood for himself; a widow who criticized society, especially the treatment of women, through letters slipped under the door at night. Franklin’s writings became extremely popular and fueled intense jealousy from his brother when he revealed that he was the author.
Among his many accomplishments, Franklin is renowned for his scientific work with electricity. He was the first to prove that lightning was in fact electricity. He did this by developing his famous kite experiment which intended to extract electricity from a developing storm. Although he designed the experiment, he was not the first person to carry it out. From his work in electricity, he invented the lightning rod, which is designed to protect tall structures from being struck and damaged during electrical storms.
Benjamin Franklin is one of the founding fathers of the United States. He was instrumental in securing military and financial assistance from France which was critical in the young nation’s independence from British rule. His wisdom lives on in many popular adages that are spoken today. He wrote “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing,” which he unquestionably made true for himself. Some of his other popular quotes include:
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.”
“He is ill clothed that is bare of virtue.”
“But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”