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
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
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
The argument was so severe that he ran away to
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
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
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
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
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
Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster of
Philadelphia, and established a college that
eventually became the University of
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
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
Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia on April
17, 1790, at the age of 84.
Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral