Benjamin Franklin biography

Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin biography
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin was born in humble origins in Boston USA, in 1706, the fifteenth of the seventeen children of a poor candle maker. At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to his half-brother James, a printer. At Philadelphia he gained experience with various printers and finally he opened his own printing shop.
The business of printing was a mere stepping stone to success. He ventured into writing and then to publishing that put him on the road to fame. Franklin’s entrepreneurship was one factor that spurred him on and made him a household name across the globe.
Franklin's tryst with writing began in his teens and the attraction never ebbed thereafter. He began writing unsigned or pseudonymous ballads and satires. He would slip these under his brother’s door, who would publish them unsuspectingly. Franklin’s linguistic abilities made him a master of many languages. Latin, French, German. Italian, Spanish were languages he spoke with flair. Being a voracious reader he devoured books on science and philosophy, His autobiography and books on home spun maxims have made delightful reading material for generations to come. Over the years his publications grew and at the age of twenty six he initiated the Poor Richards Almanac.
As a politician he fought for colonies in London before the Revolution. He published a satiric piece that lashed out at Britain’s imperialism entitled Rules by which a great empire may be reduced to a small one. With vigorous energy his satire spelled out the “rules” i. e. the injustices suffered by colonies. His secular humanitarian approach made him an endearing figure in the international political scenario.
Franklin's dedication to his country was exemplary. Even when a prosperous businessman of the publishing world his allegiance to his country never took a back seat. An active participant in the American Revolution he even took up many civic projects in the ensuing years. He set in motion the first professional police force and the first volunteer fire company in Philadelphia, the first American fire-insurance company, the University of Pennsylvania and the world famous Pennsylvania Hospital.
Franklin's intellect and broadminded approach to things made him a key figure in American politics. He was the first statesman to build on the concept of a united nation. He invented the American dual system of state government united under a federal authority, two decades before the Revolutionary War.
Ingeniously he solved the political problems that arose in the aftermath of the War of Independence. His sagacious handling of the near collapse of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia won him respect that few can equal. The small states wanted equal representation in the Congress and the big ones wanted delegations based on population. Franklin engineered the compromise under which the senate is based on the first plan and the House of Representatives on the second.
Franklin's achievement in the field of science has placed him amongst the pioneers of scientists on whose achievements we today stand successful. Apart from drawing electricity from a cloud on a kite string, he created the first viable theory of electricity. He dispelled the theory that lightning and electricity were two separate forces. Franklin proved that they are the same thing. The terms "positive" and “negative” were introduced to us by Franklin. The concepts of battery, conductor, electrical charge and discharge were defined by Franklin. He invented the electrical condenser, used today in every radio, television and telephone circuit. To him goes the credit of inventing the lighting rod, which removed forever the terror from people's lives. His studies always promoted practical results. He invented the chemical fertilizer the Franklin stove and bifocal spectacles. White chartering the Gulf Stream he discovered that storms rotates while traveling forward and that this explained the water sprouts at sea.
Franklin’s humour often had a scientific base. On a windy day in England he noticed waves on the surface of a brook. He told a group of friends that he could 'magically' calm the waters. Slipping upstream alone, he poured some oil from the unscrewed top of his cane into the water. Slowly the waves subsided and all that his friends could do was to give him a hearty applause. This aura of mystery never left him and won him quite a reputation.
Nothing elucidates Franklin's life better than his own maximum, “God helps them that help themselves.’His life was a story of constant Endeavour and the desire to achieve. His pragmatic insight that social institutions are made not by Divine Will but by men made him an instant hero in France in 1770. He was to the French that divine spark of liberty that questioned the rule of tyranny that had infested the social structures of France for generations. He was the liberator who “snatched the lightning from the skies and the scepters from the tyrants.”
To the royal structures of Britain, he was in contrast a dangerous man sprung from the new libertine culture of America. A dangerous man, he held the deadly weapon that unleashed chaotic liberty. The stiff upper lipped annals of power and royalty, crumbled under his scatting satire. His revolutionary spirit celebrated the song of liberty and individual freedom.
In 1770 Franklin died. the French National Assembly went into mourning for three days, Biographer Car Van Doren summed up his life saying, “Mind and will, talent and an, strength and ease, wit and grace met in him as if nature had been lavish and happy when he was shaped.” But perhaps the best tribute came from Comte de Mirabeau, the great French Revolutionary orator who called Franklin the philosopher who did most to extend the rights of man over the earth, “Antiquity would have raised altars to this mighty genius.”

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