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Quote of the Week - Benjamin Franklin
The absent are never without fault. Nor the present without excuse. - Benjamin Franklin
Who Was He?
In his 84 years of life, Benjamin Franklin was many things. Statesman. Scientist. Politician. Entrepreneur. Writer. Inventor. Printer. Postmaster General. Minister to Sweden. Minister to France. Philosopher. And all around American from head to toe. He was affectionately known as 'The First American.'
Born - Boston, Massachusetts January 17, 1706.
Died - April 17, 1790. (Age 84)
He was the son of a tallow maker and soap-maker. At the age of ten, he left school to help his father. Later he apprenticed with his half brother, a printer and publisher of The New England Courant. Afterwards, after a disagreement with his brother, he left and went to Philadelphia to work as a printer. Through hard work and determination, he eventually owned and operated the Pennsylvania Gazette. Through his writings and editorials of the time he made popular the periodical. He was well known for his sayings and comments on the political instability at the time and became well known for his ability to reach decisions of a monumental nature at a moments notice. At the age of 42, after a very successful run as printer and publisher he was able to retire and pursue his dreams of invention and statesman.
In his early life, he made a plan in which he intended to live his entire life by, and in some ways he did just that. Although he did not always adhere to these 'codes of ethics', he made a conscious effort to abide by them. They were known as the thirteen virtues. Here's the list for anyone interested..
- Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have it's time.
- Resolution - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry - Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation - Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
- Tranquility - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or anothers peace or reputation.
- Humility - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
He did not succeed in these virtues at all times in his life, but he tried to accomplish at least one of them each week. In his autobiography he wrote, "I hope that some of my descendants may follow my example and reap the benefits."
Benjamin Franklin is the only founding father to have signed all four of the key documents establishing the U.S.: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris establishing peace with Great Britain (1783) and the U.S. Constitution (1787).
Franklin constantly, throughout his life tried to better himself. He was always trying to improve existing products, and came up with a few on his own also. He invented the bifocal eyeglasses, in which I wear myself; and a glass harmonica, which he called the armonica. He is best known to have invented the electric light, and the electric phonograph. One of the most popular myths that is associated with Ben Franklin is that of lightning striking a kite flown in a thunderstorm. Although this experiment had in fact taken place, it is widely believed by historians that Franklin is not the one who conducted it. Although he did conduct experiments in the field of electricity. In his life-time he conducted many experiments in the fields of oceanography, meteorology,and refrigeration. He was constantly involved in and participated in the scientific method.
Statesman and revolutionary - Franklin became one of the most popular and powerful statesmen of the American Revolution. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and was appointed the fist postmaster General. He became one of the fist people to help draft The Declaration of Independence in which he signed. In that same year, he was sent to France, to spread the word of the new republic. In 1778, he helped to direct naval operations and was a successful agent for the newly formed United States in Europe. In 1781 he was one of the diplomats to negotiate peace with Great Britain.
Statesman, scientist, and politician was what he made his life's work on. Throughout his life he tried his utmost to see that everyone got a fair and equal say in the ratification of a constitution in which everyone would be proud of. And although he was not solely satisfied with the outcome of it, he lived the rest of his life trying to live by it.
He was sometimes referred to as 'The First American', and/or the 'Wisest American', and for him it was a great honor to be known as such. He was history made flesh; although he did not realize it at the time.
Hopefully, we, as Americans, and as a people in general, can take a page out of his book, and make it our own, and become something greater than that which we had ever thought possible.
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