Patriot and Statesman
Benjamin Franklin was born into a large family. He was the 15th child of seventeen children in the family. His father, Josiah, was a candlemaker. Benjamin helped him make candles and soap.
His father wanted him to take over the family business when he grew up, but he wasn't interested. To help Ben decide on a career, Josiah took him on long walks around Boston so he could observe men doing the work of their trade. Benjamin learned how to do many things during these excursions * , but he didn't want to pursue any of the trades.
When Ben was twelve years old his father apprenticed * him to his older brother James, who was a printer. Ben had to sign "articles of indenture * "; a contract that bound him to work for James for nine years until he was 21 years old! He worked twelve hours a day in the printing shop, but still found time to educate himself. Though he only had two years of formal schooling, he taught himself foreign languages and read books on grammar, science, and math.
Ben wrote letters to the editor of the newspaper (his brother), and signed them "Silence Dogood". People enjoyed reading the letters, but James became angry and stopped printing them when he found out his younger brother had been writing them and signing a fictitious * name.
James got into trouble and was imprisoned. He was told he could no longer publish the newspaper. He decided he would have Ben publish the paper for him (even though it was illegal because Ben was his appretice). He told Ben he would tear up his contract if he would publish the newspaper while he was in prison. So Ben published the paper. Later James tried to hold him to the original "articles of indenture", but he failed because the authorities would find out he had illegally put Ben in charge of the paper. So James could not write a new contract binding Ben to him. The two brothers fought constantly.
Finally Ben ran away and went to Philadelphia. He started his own successful printing business and published a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, for many years. He is most famous for "Poor Richard's Almanack" which he published for 25 years. People frequently quote from his sayings such things as, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"and "A penny saved is a penny earned". Ben followed this rule all his life and accomplished more than most men of his time.
He was able to get the cooperation of people by giving credit for ideas to others rather than taking the credit himself. He started the Junto club where people could come together to exchange ideas. As a result of these meetings he started the first library in America, the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia, and the first hospital in Pennsylvania.
They appointed him postmaster and he created a working postal system. He even created the "Dead Letter Office".
He invented bifocal glasses so he would not have to switch glasses when looking at things far away and close up.He invented the lightning rod to protect people's homes from being destroyed by lightning.
He invented the Franklin stove which provided better heat for their homes. He refused to patent the Franklin stove and the lightning rod because he thought more people would benefit from the inventions if he did not patent them.
He proved that lightning and electricity are the same thing using a kite, string, and key in a thunderstorm. His experiments earned him fame. He was also awarded honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale even though he lacked formal schooling.
He made studies of the Gulf Stream while on voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. He started the University of Pennsylvania.
He served as a diplomat * to France and spent about 10 years away from his family to further the cause of American independence. The people of France loved him dearly and honored him in many ways.
He helped to write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
He also worked to put an end to slavery in America long before others took up the cause.
Some say when he died in 1790 the whole civilized world went into mourning. 20,000 people honored him at his funeral in Philadelphia.
People still visit his grave today and throw pennies on his headstone. Every year $6,000 worth of pennies are collected and given in his honor to help the poor.
This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2005.
Fugio cent 1787
Courtesy of my son, Elton
This coin is said to have been designed by Benjamin Franklin.
Learn more about the Fugio cent at Wikipedia.
A frequent question:
"Who wrote this biography and when was it written?"
Look on this Reference Citations Chart.
at Bio 4 Kids
The Ben Franklin Story Video
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government
A Quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin
from U.S. History.org
Benjamin Franklin Timeline
(See topics in the right-hand column)
School for Champions
Quotations from Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin Lesson Plan
(You must register to access lessons.)
from Hero History
Franklin's Heat Experiment (audio)
Ben Franklin and Music (audio)
Franklin's Glass Armonica (audio)
Franklin and Balloons (audio)
Engines of Our Ingenuity.
Color Me Physics - Coloring Book
A Story About Kites
The Lincoln Readers Book 4
At biography.com search for Benjamin Franklin.
Scroll the panel for the "Video & Audio Results".
From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster
(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)
a person who is learning a trade or art by experience under a skilled worker
from Latin excursio, excursion- "a going out"
a contract by which one person is made to work for another for a stated period
not real , made-up, imaginary
a person employed or skilled in diplomacy
( diplomacy: the work of keeping up relations
between the governments of different countries)
Benjamin Franklin (Beautiful Feet Books)
By Ingri D'Aulaire / Beautiful Feet Books
Benjamin Franklin details the life of this famous American from his boyhood as one of the youngest of 17 children, to his teen years as an apprentice in his brother's print shop and his later years as an inventor, statesman, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Young people will enjoy learning about the fascinating life Ben Franklin led from the lively text and beautiful illustrations of this d'Aulaire classic. Recommended for ages 4 to 11.
Who Was Benjamin Franklin?
By Dennis Fradin & John O'Brien / Grosset & Dunlap
Ben Franklin was the scientist who, with the help of a kite, discovered that lightning is electricity. He was also a statesman, an inventor, a printer, and an author-a man of such amazingly varied talents that some people claimed he had magical powers! Full of all the details kids will want to know, the true story of Benjamin Franklin is by turns sad and funny, but always honest and awe-inspiring.
Benjamin Franklin Biography FunBook
By Carole Marsh & Sherry Moss(Editor) / Gallopade International
Everyone's favorite way to learn about America's most important citizens! Easy-to-read information, facts, trivia, humor and activities are all included in Biography Funbooks! Ages 7-12. paperback.
Wives of The Signers
By David Barton / Wallbuilders
History has been all too glad to acknowledge the courage and bravery of the men who put their lives on the line when they signed the Declaration of Independence. Yet, it is often forgotten that those very same men had wives and families. Brief, due to lack of historical data, but poignant, especially when we have snippets of their letters and diaries, these accounts of the brave founding women of America are filled with a brand of courage all their own. Even among those who died due to exposure, being turned out of their homes, or even in jail for supporting the Revolution, one doesn't find a single word of complaint, but rather an unswerving devotion to their husbands, and their husbands' causes. This unique book pays homage to the women of the Revolution, allowing readers a glimpse into their lives that have for so long been neglected. 283 pages, softcover.
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Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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Benjamin Franklin, the Printer Boy
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Online book "Inventors" (Benjamin Franklin, page 9)
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Benjamin Franklin: Scientist and Statesman
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Clara Barton Helen Keller Florence Nightingale Joan of Arc Amelia Earhart Annie Oakley Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Keckly Harriet Tubman Anne Frank Eleanor Roosevelt Madam C.J. Walker Sadako Sasaki Henrietta Lacks Malala Yousafzai Scientists George Washington Carver Sir Isaac Newton Marie Curie Louis Pasteur Albert Einstein Galileo Lise Meitner Norman Borlaug Benjamin Banneker Educators Noah Webster Booker T. Washington Aristotle Mary McLeod Bethune Physicians Hippocrates Walter Reed Albert Schweitzer Religious Leaders George Muller Increase Mather Athletes Lou Gehrig Wilma Rudolph Tiger Woods Michael Phelps Civil Rights
Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth Frederick Douglass Mary Ann Shadd Cary James Forten Gandhi César Chávez William Wilberforce Nelson Mandela Composers Beethoven Mozart Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Ernest Hemingway Greg Mortenson Phillis Wheatley Artists John James Audubon Gutzon Borglum Ansel Adams Dale Chihuly Van Gogh Michelangelo Rembrandt Grandma Moses Cassatt Renoir Cezanne Rockwell
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