Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706
His parents names were Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger. His father was an impoverished candle maker (chandler) and struggled to bring up his 17 children
Benjamin Franklin was the fifteenth of the seventeen children and his working class family had little money to spare to pay for a formal education. He attended Boston Latin School for only 2 years, but became self-educated through reading
Benjamin started work in his father's shop when he was just ten years old.
When he was 12 years old he was apprenticed to his brother James who was a Boston printer. Benjamin Franklin had free access to many books and became extremely well read.
The New-England Courant was printed by James Franklin. Ben was not allowed to write for the paper and fell out with his brother when he was discovered to be the author of a series of letter that were printed in the paper he pseudonym of "Mrs. Silence Dogood", a middle-aged widow.
The argument was so severe that he ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Whilst in Philadelphia he worked for various printers and was persuaded to go to London on behalf of one of the printers
He arrived in London in 1724 and worked as a typesetter in the Smithfield area of London
He returned to Philadelphia in 1726 and established his own printing business publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette and Poor Richard's Almanack.
The business was highly successful and Benjamin Franklin became a wealthy man.
In 1727 Benjamin Franklin established the Junto which was the name of a discussion group for issues of the day.
In 1731 he developed the idea of a subscription library, which would become the Library Company of Philadelphia: its charter was composed by Franklin in 1731.
In 1732, he hired the first American librarian called Louis Timothee.
In 1740 Benjamin Franklin created his first major invention, the Pennsylvania fireplace, which eventually became known as the Franklin stove.
In 1743 Benjamin Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society to help scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories.
In 1746 he saw a demonstration of machine that was used to create a static electric charge that initiated his interest in electricity
His other inventions included the lightning rod and bifocal glasses
In 1747 he retired from printing and went into other businesses manufacturing some of his new inventions
Franklin became involved in Philadelphia politics and rapidly progressed. In October 1748, he was selected as a councilman, in June 1749 he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia
In 1750 Benjamin Franklin published a paper that speculated that lightning was electricity. He proposed an experiment by flying a kite in a storm to to demonstrate that lightning was electrical and prove his theory was correct
Benjamin Franklin's electrical experiments led to his invention of the lightning rod.
In 1751 he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly.
Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster of Philadelphia, and established a college that eventually became the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1756, he organized the Pennsylvania Militia
In 1757 Benjamin Franklin was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly to protest against the political influence of the Penn family who the proprietors of the Pennsylvania colony.
He opposed the 1765 Stamp Act and became involved in radical political movements. He spoke before the House of Commons in early 1766 about the Stamp Act clearly stating that any attempt to enforce the Stamp Act by the use of troops might bring on rebellion. He called for the repeal of the Act.
The Boston Tea Party took place on on Thursday December 16, 1773. There were many Americans who were not in favor of the unlawful actions taken in Boston by destroying private property. Benjamin Franklin stated that the destroyed tea must be repaid
The American Revolution started in 1775. On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the United States Post Office and named Benjamin Franklin as the first United States Postmaster General.
The Committee of Five was appointed by the Second Continental Congress drafted what became known as America's Declaration of Independence and was signed on July 4, 1776. The members of the Committee of Five were:
The Committee of Five
Sherman, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Livingston
On September 14, 1778 he was appointed American representative in France and negotiated French support for the colonists
Benjamin Franklin helped create the Peace Treaty of Paris 1783 with John Adams and John Jay which ended the American Revolution in 1783
In 1787 he served as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention.
Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia on April 17, 1790, at the age of 84.
Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral