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Benjamin Franklin Bookmark Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.

The achievements of Benjamin Franklin in the American Revolution are just one facet of the long life of a truly remarkable and brilliant man. This most famous citizen of Philadelphia was already bursting with accomplishments by the time the shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.

Born in Boston to a candlemaker, he turned away from the family trade at 14 to become a printer’s apprentice, soon began publishing a newspaper, and later Poor Richard’s Almanac, an annual publication written by Franklin that became his entrée into public life. He established the first lending library and organized the first public fire company after his print shop burned to the ground. In addition to his journalistic and civic pursuits, he was a self-taught scientist and inventor, and when revolution finally came (a cause to which the individualistic Franklin was a late convert), he found perhaps his greatest skill as a diplomat, currying favor for his upstart country at the royal court of France. His efforts were successful, and France finally entered the war on the American side, thus helping to assure victory.

Ben Franklin was the uncommon common man, an American visionary whose legacy looms large. Like the resurgent nation, Franklin was always reinventing himself and becoming something more than what he was. He was a persistent advocate for the causes in which he believed, and he understood (and used well) the power of words to turn world events.
Benjamin Franklin
(1706–1790)