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Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several "small but important" [] changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson. At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by John Hancock that they must all hang together: "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Well known as a printer and publisher, Franklin was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia in , holding the office until , when he and publisher William Hunter were named deputy postmasters—general of British North America, the first to hold the office. Joint appointments were standard at the time, for political reasons. Franklin was responsible for the British colonies from Pennsylvania north and east, as far as the island of Newfoundland.

A post office for local and outgoing mail had been established in Halifax, Nova Scotia , by local stationer Benjamin Leigh, on April 23, , but service was irregular. Franklin opened the first post office to offer regular, monthly mail in what would later become Canada, at Halifax, on December 9, Meantime, Hunter became postal administrator in Williamsburg , Virginia and oversaw areas south of Annapolis , Maryland.

Franklin reorganized the service's accounting system, then improved speed of delivery between Philadelphia, New York and Boston. By , efficiencies led to the first profits for the colonial post office. For the greater part of his appointment, Franklin lived in England from to , and again from to —about three-quarters of his term. Franklin had been a postmaster for decades and was a natural choice for the position.

The report of the Committee, providing for the appointment of a postmaster general for the 13 American colonies, was considered by the Continental Congress on July 25 and It established a postal system that became the United States Post Office, a system that continues to operate today.

Franklin remained in France until He conducted the affairs of his country toward the French nation with great success, which included securing a critical military alliance in and negotiating the Treaty of Paris Franklin and Mirabeau thought of it as a "noble order", inconsistent with the egalitarian ideals of the new republic. He was the th member of the Lodge. In , when Franz Mesmer began to publicize his theory of " animal magnetism " which was considered offensive by many, Louis XVI appointed a commission to investigate it.

Franklin's advocacy for religious tolerance in France contributed to arguments made by French philosophers and politicians that resulted in Louis XVI 's signing of the Edict of Versailles in November This edict effectively nullified the Edict of Fontainebleau , which had denied non-Catholics civil status and the right to openly practice their faith.

Franklin also served as American minister to Sweden, although he never visited that country. On August 27, , in Paris, Franklin witnessed the world's first hydrogen balloon flight. When he returned home in , Franklin occupied a position only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence. After his return, Franklin became an abolitionist and freed his two slaves. He eventually became president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. In , Franklin served as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention.

He held an honorary position and seldom engaged in debate. In , a group of prominent ministers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania , proposed the foundation of a new college named in Franklin's honor. Between and , he finished his autobiography. While it was at first addressed to his son, it was later completed for the benefit of mankind at the request of a friend. Franklin strongly supported the right to freedom of speech :.

In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech, which is the right of every man Special balloting conducted October 18, , unanimously elected Franklin the sixth president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania , replacing John Dickinson.

The office was practically that of governor. Franklin held that office for slightly over three years, longer than any other, and served the constitutional limit of three full terms. Shortly after his initial election he was reelected to a full term on October 29, , and again in the fall of and on October 31, In that capacity he served as host to the Constitutional Convention of in Philadelphia. Like the other advocates of republicanism , Franklin emphasized that the new republic could survive only if the people were virtuous.

All his life he explored the role of civic and personal virtue, as expressed in Poor Richard's aphorisms. Franklin felt that organized religion was necessary to keep men good to their fellow men, but rarely attended religious services himself. Franklin's parents were both pious Puritans. The book preached the importance of forming voluntary associations to benefit society.

Franklin learned about forming do-good associations from Cotton Mather, but his organizational skills made him the most influential force in making voluntarism an enduring part of the American ethos. Franklin formulated a presentation of his beliefs and published it in He clarified himself as a deist in his autobiography, [] although still considered himself a Christian. It was Ben Franklin who, at a critical impasse during the Constitutional Convention in June , attempted to introduce the practice of daily common prayer with these words:.

In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.

The Discovery Of Electricity: A History Just For Kids! -

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?

We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it. I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

The motion met with resistance and was never brought to a vote. Franklin was an enthusiastic supporter of the evangelical minister George Whitefield during the First Great Awakening.

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Franklin did not subscribe to Whitefield's theology, but he admired Whitefield for exhorting people to worship God through good works. Franklin published all of Whitefield's sermons and journals, thereby earning a lot of money and boosting the Great Awakening. Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that He made the world, and governed it by His providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.

Franklin retained a lifelong commitment to the Puritan virtues and political values he had grown up with, and through his civic work and publishing, he succeeded in passing these values into the American culture permanently. He had a "passion for virtue". The classical authors read in the Enlightenment period taught an abstract ideal of republican government based on hierarchical social orders of king, aristocracy and commoners.

It was widely believed that English liberties relied on their balance of power, but also hierarchal deference to the privileged class. Franklin's commitment to teach these values was itself something he gained from his Puritan upbringing, with its stress on "inculcating virtue and character in themselves and their communities. Franklin's writings on virtue were derided by some European authors, such as Jackob Fugger in his critical work Portrait of American Culture. Max Weber considered Franklin's ethical writings a culmination of the Protestant ethic , which ethic created the social conditions necessary for the birth of capitalism.

One of Franklin's notable characteristics was his respect, tolerance and promotion of all churches. Referring to his experience in Philadelphia, he wrote in his autobiography , "new Places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary Contribution, my Mite for such purpose, whatever might be the Sect, was never refused. Although Franklin's parents had intended for him to have a career in the Church, [13] Franklin as a young man adopted the Enlightenment religious belief in deism , that God's truths can be found entirely through nature and reason. According to David Morgan, [] Franklin was a proponent of religion in general.

He prayed to "Powerful Goodness" and referred to God as "the infinite". John Adams noted that Franklin was a mirror in which people saw their own religion: "The Catholics thought him almost a Catholic. The Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet Quaker.

In , just about a month before he died, Franklin wrote a letter to Ezra Stiles , president of Yale University , who had asked him his views on religion:. As to Jesus of Nazareth , my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England , some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.

I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as it probably has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any particular marks of his displeasure. Franklin's proposal which was not adopted featured the motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" and a scene from the Book of Exodus , with Moses , the Israelites , the pillar of fire , and George III depicted as pharaoh.

The design that was produced was never acted upon by Congress, and the Great Seal's design was not finalized until a third committee was appointed in Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues, which he developed at age 20 in and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:. Franklin did not try to work on them all at once.

Instead, he would work on one and only one each week "leaving all others to their ordinary chance. Franklin owned as many as seven slaves, two males who worked in his household and his shop. Franklin posted paid ads for the sale of slaves and for the capture of runaway slaves and allowed the sale of slaves in his general store. Franklin profited from both the international and domestic slave trade, even criticizing slaves who had run off to join the British Army during the colonial wars of the s and s.

Franklin, however, later became a "cautious abolitionist" and became an outspoken critic of landed gentry slavery. In , Franklin advocated the opening of a school for the education of black slaves in Philadelphia. Franklin took two slaves to England with him, Peter and King, and King left his service there in by he was working for "a lady in Suffolk". After returning from England in , Franklin became more anti-slavery.

By , Franklin had freed his slaves and attacked the system of slavery and the international slave trade. Franklin, however, refused to publicly debate the issue of slavery at the Constitutional Convention. In his later years, as Congress was forced to deal with the issue of slavery, Franklin wrote several essays that stressed the importance of the abolition of slavery and of the integration of blacks into American society.

These writings included:. Their argument against slavery was backed by the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society and its president, Benjamin Franklin.

Thomas Edison

Franklin suffered from obesity throughout his middle-aged and later years, which resulted in multiple health problems, particularly gout , which worsened as he aged. In poor health during the signing of the US Constitution in , he was rarely seen in public from then until his death. Benjamin Franklin died from pleuritic attack [] at his home in Philadelphia on April 17, His last words were reportedly "A dying man can do nothing easy.

Approximately 20, people attended his funeral. In , aged 22, Franklin wrote what he hoped would be his own epitaph:. The Body of B. Franklin's actual grave, however, as he specified in his final will, simply reads "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin". His pervasive influence in the early history of the nation has led to his being jocularly called "the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States.


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Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway a major thoroughfare and Benjamin Franklin Bridge the first major bridge to connect Philadelphia with New Jersey are named in his honor. Many of Franklin's personal possessions are also on display at the Institute, one of the few national memorials located on private property. In London, his house at 36 Craven Street, which is the only surviving former residence of Benjamin Franklin, was first marked with a blue plaque and has since been opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House. The Times reported on February 11, Initial estimates are that the bones are about years old and were buried at the time Franklin was living in the house, which was his home from to and from to Most of the bones show signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut.

One skull has been drilled with several holes. Paul Knapman, the Westminster Coroner, said yesterday: "I cannot totally discount the possibility of a crime. There is still a possibility that I may have to hold an inquest. The Friends of Benjamin Franklin House the organization responsible for the restoration note that the bones were likely placed there by William Hewson , who lived in the house for two years and who had built a small anatomy school at the back of the house.

They note that while Franklin likely knew what Hewson was doing, he probably did not participate in any dissections because he was much more of a physicist than a medical man. The main character leaves a smallish amount of money in his will, five lots of livres , to collect interest over one, two, three, four or five full centuries, with the resulting astronomical sums to be spent on impossibly elaborate utopian projects.

From to , the money was used mostly for mortgage loans. When the trust came due, Philadelphia decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students. Benjamin Franklin is a prominent figure in American history comparable to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and as such he has been honored on U. Franklin appeared on the first U. From through , the U. Post Office issued a series of postage stamps commonly referred to as the Washington-Franklin Issues where, along with George Washington, Franklin was depicted many times over a year period, the longest run of any one series in U.

Along with the regular issue stamps Franklin however only appears on a few commemorative stamps. Some of the finest portrayals of Franklin on record can be found on the engravings inscribed on the face of U. Due to its licentious nature, the letter was not published in collections of Franklin's papers during the nineteenth century. Federal court decisions from the mid-to-late twentieth century cited the document as a reason for overturning obscenity laws, using it to make a case against censorship.

Benjamin Franklin and Dashkova met only once, in Paris in Franklin was 75, and Dashkova was Franklin invited Dashkova to become the first woman to join the American Philosophical Society; she was the only woman so honored for another 80 years. Later, Dashkova reciprocated by making him the first American member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. As a founding father of the United States, Franklin's name has been attached to many things.

Among these are:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American polymath and a Founding Father of the United States. For other uses, see Benjamin Franklin disambiguation and Franklin disambiguation. Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis , Deborah Read m. Ancestors of Benjamin Franklin 8. Henry Franckline b. Thomas Franklin b. Agnes Joanes b. Ecton, Northamptonshire , England 2. Josiah Franklin b.

December 23, , Ecton, Northamptonshire , England 5. Jane White b. England 1. Benjamin Franklin [11] [ unreliable source? John Folger Jr. Peter Folger b. Meribah Gibbs b. England 3. Abiah Folger b. August 15, , Nantucket , Massachusetts 7. Mary Morrill b. Franklin's birthplace on Milk Street , Boston, Massachusetts. Franklin's birthplace site directly across from the Old South Meeting House is commemorated by a bust atop the second floor facade of this building.

Deborah Read Franklin c. Common-law wife of Benjamin Franklin. Sarah Franklin Bache — Daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read. See also: William Franklin. Main article: Kite experiment. Main article: Hutchinson Letters Affair. Main article: Religious views of the American Founding Fathers. Pennsylvania Historical Marker. Further information: List of places named for Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin in popular culture U. Retrieved June 17, So, this year's tricentennial is right on time. The Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on March 5, Retrieved April 25, University of Pennsylvania Press. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Archived from the original on May 16, Retrieved January 20, The provisions of the British Calendar New Style Act , implemented in , altered the official British dating method to the Gregorian calendar with the start of the year on January 1 it had been March These changes resulted in dates being moved forward 11 days, and for those between January 1 and March 25, an advance of one year.

For a further explanation, see: Old Style and New Style dates. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Macmillan's pocket English and American classics. New York: Macmillan. Retrieved February 1, Mumford, "Social innovation: ten cases from Benjamin Franklin. The library: an illustrated history. New York: Skyhorse Pub. Retrieved October 7, Frantz, "Franklin and the Pennsylvania Germans. Gleason, "Trouble in the Colonial Melting Pot.

Fides et Historia. Journalism Quarterly. Journal of Southern History. Connecticut History. Retrieved September 21, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online ed. Oxford University Press. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Journal de Paris in French.


  1. On Tender Hooks;
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  4. Revised English version retrieved on March 11, Hudson The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Colonial America Reference Library. Retrieved February 27, Franklin's interest in electricity originated when he saw a traveling scientific lecturer, Archibald Spencer, perform an "electricity show" in Boston, Massachusetts. Franklin Papers. Archived from the original on October 20, Retrieved May 1, Archived from the original on February 18, Retrieved Archived February 18, Archived from the original on December 17, Retrieved April 23, Harvard University Gazette.

    Retrieved August 9, Museum of Science Boston. New York Times. June 14, Retrieved March 16, Physics Today. Alan Houston Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement. Yale U. Leo Lemay Bernard Cohen Journal of Economic History. Kammen Cornell U. Archived from the original on December 2, Retrieved December 11, A1, B7 February 6, Heidorn, PhD. Eclipsed By Storm.

    The Weather Doctor. October 1, Alex Smith. Geoff Waring.

    Static electricity

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