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Benjamin Franklin – A Multifaceted Personality with Excellence
Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of United States of America. He was one of the national leaders respected by every Americans, but at the same time many of his admirers do not know about the multifaceted personality of Benjamin Franklin. In his life, he was a printer, author, postmaster, politician, inventor, statesman and diplomat. Not many leaders have such different talents and enviably excelled in every aptitudes they have.
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706 at Boston in America as the tenth son of Josiah Franklin, a candle maker. His mother Abiah Folger is the second wife of his father. A total of seventeen children were born to his father in two wives which made the living condition of the family very miserable. Because of poverty, young Benjamin received formal education only and at the age of 12, he he went to work with his half-brother James, who was a printer.
Benjamin Franklin's writing talent was developed in this period, while working in his half-brother's printing shop. He published 14 essays in secret in the newspaper 'England Courant', published by James. Benjamin published these essays secretly because he knew that his half-brother would not allow him to contribute articles to the newspaper; so he used a pen name 'Silence Dogood' to sign the articles.
But because of some conflict with his half-brother, Benjamin moved to Philadelphia in 1723. In the new place he found employment as an apprentice printer. In 1729, he brought a newspaper 'Pennsylvania Gazette' which became a very successful venture in the colonies. He was gradually established in this printing and publishing industry and his successful literary venture 'Richard's Almanac' was published in this period (1733-58). This work was very much acclaimed in colonies at that time and it helped him to establish as an acknowledged writer in Europe.
An Overview of Benjamin Franklin's Life
Benjamin Franklin married Deborah Read in 1730. Earlier to this marriage he had one child (a son, William) out of wedlock from some other women in 1728. For Deborah also, it is her second marriage. During his lifetime, Benjamin Franklin worked as the clerk in 1736-51, as the deputy postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737-53 and the deputy postmaster general of colonies in 1753-74. During his tenure as the deputy postmaster general, he visited almost all the post offices in the colonies and introduced many changes to improve the efficiency of the postal service. He established new postal routes and allowed the distribution of newspapers also along with the letters through the postal service.
Inventions and Discoveries
Benjamin Franklin started to concentrate in scientific works and inventions in 1940s. During his employment as a printer, he invented a method of casting and making ink.
In 1943, he invented a heat-efficient stove, which is called Franklin Stove. He invented a musical instrument and named it as Glass Armonica. Bifocals and swim fins were his other inventions.
He was also shown interest to make deep studies about electricity. He developed a theory of positive and negative electricity. He also developed another theory of the identity of lightning and electricity. He invented the possibility of protecting tall buildings by using iron rods. His kite experiment verified the nature of electricity and lighting. This experiment brought international fame to Benjamin Franklin as an inventor.
Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
Political Career of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin's public life started during the period 1730 and 1740s. His efforts for the establishment of the first subscription library in Pennsylvania ended successful in 1731.
At that time fire was serious threat to the society of Philadelphia. To solve this threat, Benjamin Franklin organized Philadelphia's Union Fire Company in 1736. In 1743, he helped to launch the American Philosophical Society and in 1751 the Pennsylvania Hospital. In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance Against Loss by Fire.
Benjamin Franklin represented Pennsylvania at Albany Congress in 1754. He showed his leadership quality during the Stamp Act crisis. As the representative of the Pennsylvania, he opposed the enactment of the bill in 1765. In 1775, he became a distinguished member of Continental Congress. After one year he served as the member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence.
He stayed in America only for one and a half years, but he was very active in the social life of American colonies in this brief period. He submitted a plan for the union of different colonies. During his stay in America, her served as the Postmaster General and the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety.
He signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and after that he went to France as the ambassador of Louis XVII. He was one of the commissioners who led treaties of commerce and alliance with France during the period 1776-79. As the sole commissioner to France in 1779-85 he, with John Jay and John Adams, made negotiations the Treaty of Paris, which ended the War of Independence.
In 1785, he became the president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. In 1787, he was elected as the first president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. He participated in the convention of 1787 which framed the Constitution of United States of America. His final political and public activity was the signing of the memorial to Congress recommending the dissolution of the slavery system.
Benjamin Franklin died in April 1790 at the age of 84, in Philadelphia and buried in Christ Church Burial Ground. A large number of crowd attended the funeral as a tribute to the great man who served the society with his multifaceted talents for the uplift of his fellow human beings.