Ben Franklin
Benjamin (Ben)
1/17/1706 - 4/17/1790

Known as the Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, diplomat, writer, scientist and inventor, one of the most versatile and talented men in colonial America and a leading figure in the American struggle for independence. His long list of inventions includes bifocals, the lightning rod, the glass armonica, a library chair, swim fins, a long-reach device, the Franklin stove, and the catheter. Franklin wrote under several pen names, including Silence Dogood, Polly Baker, and Richard Saunders.

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Professional Experience

Academic History

  • Benjamin Franklin stands alone as the only person to have signed all four of the documents that helped to create the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776); the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France (1778); the Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States (1782); and the Constitution (1787). In addition, he helped to write parts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
  • Benjamin Franklin is on the front of the $100 bill, the highest denomination currently printed. On the back is an illustration of Independence Hall.
  • He is credited with discovering the Gulf Stream.
  • He started the first volunteer fire company in Philadelphia.
  • He helped create the first subscription library in the Colonies, called the Library Company of Philadelphia.
  • He bought the struggling Pennsylvania Gazette and made it profitable.
  • The famous “JOIN, or DIE.” political cartoon, which was published in the Gazette on May 9, 1754, has been attributed to Franklin.
  • His testimony helped repeal the Stamp Act in 1766.
  • He was a vocal opponent of slavery and served as president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.