Best Known For
Benjamin Franklin is best known as one of the Founding Fathers who drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
A short biography on Benjamin Franklin, who's been famously called the "first Citizen of the 18th Century." A man of many trades, Franklin is famous for "Poor Richard's Almanac," as well as his work in electrical theory.
Aside from The Bible, Poor Richard's Almanac became the most read item in the new colonies.
After many revisions, Benjamin Franklin and the other founding fathers signed one of the most important documents in history.
Benjamin Franklin was known as many things: an author, politician, scientist, philosopher and inventor.
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With so many of America’s early heroes, successes take the spotlight, while failures are rarely mentioned. But with any great entrepreneur the failures are just paving stones to the triumphs. Franklin himself said, “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”
He took his own advice. Franklin mapped the Gulf Stream, invented swim fins, the lightning rod and musical instruments, established colleges,
and amassed scores of other accomplishments. His self-education earned him honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Oxford University in England, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
But he also began a magazine that failed, devised a new “scheme” for the alphabet that proposed to eliminate the letters C, J, Q, W, X and Y as redundant, and made disastrous political decisions that involved the leaking of letters, called the “Hutchinson Affair.” He also made an ill-advised recommendation for Pennsylvania’s stamp distribution that caused the public to misconstrue where he stood on American support. His own son William, whom he helped to achieve the governorship of New Jersey, opposed him on the unification of the colonies, which stung Franklin to the point where he mentioned it in his will almost 25 years later.
Franklin’s voracious capacity for knowledge, investigation and finding practical solutions to problems was his primary focus, as was his commitment to “doing good,” which led to the concept of paying it forward.
Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the home of his daughter, Sarah Bache. He was 84, suffered from gout and had complained of ailments for some time, completing the final codicil to his will a little more than a year and a half prior to his death. Franklin had actually written his epitaph when he was 22: 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 Lost; For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author. In the end, however, the stone on the grave he shared with his wife read simply, “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin 1790.”
The image of Benjamin Franklin that has come down through history, along with the image on the $100 bill, is something of a caricature—a bald man in a frock coat holding a kite string with a key attached. But the scope of things he applied himself to was so broad it seems a shame. Founding universities and libraries, the post office, shaping the foreign policy of the fledgling United States, drafting the Declaration of Independence, publishing newspapers, warming us with the Franklin stove, pioneering advances in science, letting us see with bifocals and, yes, lighting our way with electricity—all from a man who never finished school but shaped his life through abundant reading and experience, a strong moral compass and an unflagging commitment to civic duty, and an overall wit, good humor and integrity. Franklin illumined corners of American life that still have the lingering glow of his attention. He was a true polymath and entrepreneur, which is no doubt why he is often called the First American. Perhaps it is a fitting image after all.
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