Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
Detail from the
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by David Martin
Library of Congress
Famous for his kite experiment, which proved that lightning was
electrical, Benjamin Franklin worked as a writer, printer, publisher, and
businessman. He adopted many pen names, e.g. Richard Saunders.
Franklin was a remarkably active figure in politics. He was the
author of the Albany Plan of 1754, co-signer of the
Declaration of Independence, the
Constitution of the United States
of America, the
Treaty of Paris which ended the
War, as well as the
Treaty of Paris that
On September 17, 1787, an aged Benjamin
Franklin had James Wilson deliver his
Address to the Federal Convention shortly before the
Constitution was signed by the Convention at Philadelphia,
Franklin invented the lightning conductor rod and invented or
improved many other devices. In addition, he was an excellent
He had a hearty spirit for learning his entire life and kept a
weekly diary of his behavior to improve his personality. In England,
he gave swimming lessons in the river Thames. Franklin's services as
an international diplomat were much sought after because he was also
a skilled negotiator.
1706 - 1790
Franklin's father was Josiah Franklin, a soap and candle maker who
was born in England and moved to Boston in 1683. Josiah Franklin married
Franklin's mother was Abiah Folger, Josiah Franklin's second
wife. She was born on Nantucket island, Massachusetts.
Josiah had ten children. Benjamin was the eighth child.
Benjamin Franklin's spouse was Deborah Read Rogers. Their children
Among other things, Franklin invented the Pennsylvania fireplace,
which after being improved by David Rittenhouse, was sold as the
Other inventions were swim fins, bifocal glasses, the odometer, and
the glass armonica, for which Mozart and Beethoven composed.
Franklin studied weather observation and helped to understand the
Click image to enlarge
1706 January 17 - Birth in Boston, Massachusetts
1718 Apprentice in his brother's printing shop in Boston
1724 First trip to England
1728 Owner of a printing shop in Philadelphia
1729 Owner and publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette
1730 Marries Deborah
1731 Founds the first subscription library in the colonies
1737 Postmaster of Philadelphia
1748 Retires from business
1753 Deputy Postmaster General, which puts him in charge of
mail in all the northern colonies
1774 Hutchinson Letters Affair
American Revolution (until 1783)
1776 Signs Declaration of Independence
Minister to France (until 1785). See also
1783 Peace of Paris
concludes the American Revolution. The
Treaty of Paris
between Britain and the United States was
signed on September 3, 1783.
1787 Signs the Constitution
1789 Washington becomes president
1790 April 17 - Death in Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin at
the Court of France 1778
Painting by Hobens, Library of
Benjamin Franklin Book Review
I highly recommend Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. It is just 136
pages to read and it will give you the feel that you know the man. He
knew how to use a pen, which makes this book very enjoyable reading.
Plus, it is just two bucks or so, so there's really nothing you can do
wrong here. All thumbs up.
read it online and free.
You can now win the Benjamin Franklin
award if you contributed to public diplomacy. Read all about it in
Washington Post article.
Franklin timeline here.
Benjamin Franklin on the 100 Dollar Bill
See also the