Benjamin Franklin was one of the most influential people in American history. Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in a small town in Boston. Benjamin was one of ten children. His father, Josiah was a candle and soap maker, and his mother Abiah Folger was a homemaker. When Benjamin was only twelve years old he signed his identures so that he could apprentice under his brother, working at a printing press. Here he worked for his brother James for over nine years. Benjamin had enormous talent, and after his apprenticeship was up, he got a job printing for the Boston Gazette. However this did not last very long, after only ten months Franklin’s contract was given to someone else. This prompted Ben to start his own newspaper called the New England Courant.
This was the beginning of a long life of success for Ben Franklin.
Franklin had outstanding writing talent. His new business had done very well, but Franklin wanted more. Ben wanted to take over Philadelphia’s biggest newspapers, The Pennsylvania Gazette. In the year 1729 Franklin bought this newspaper. He renamed it (Thank Heavens) The Pennsylvania Gazette.
In the year 1730 Franklin had fathered a son. There were many rumors, as to whom the mother was, but Franklin never released her name. As a result of this Franklin wanted to get married. A woman named Deborah Read moved into his home, and became his common law wife. During this time Franklin had established himself as a leader in the Philadelphia community. He helped to establish Philadelphia’s first public library. Franklin is also accredited with publishing the first almanac in 1732. Its name was Poor Richard’s Almanack.
Benjamin Franlkin’s political career began in 1736. In this year he was elected clerk of the state legislature. Franklin had many ideas that benefited the city of Philadelphia. Upon his request a tax was established to provide better watchmen. He also helped organize volunteer firefighters. Ben also proposed a lottery to help bring money into the city, and he chartered a university that is name after him today, called the University of Pennsylvania.
Franklin’s print shop had made him a wealthy man, and in 1748 the success of the print shop had allowed Franklin to retire early. Franklin could now use his time to focus on his two other favorite things: science and politics.
Soon after his retirement Franklin became extremely interested in experimenting with electricity. Franklin was one of the first people to suggest that lightning was merely naturally occurring electricity, and that it could be drawn from the clouds. In 1752, Ben Franklin performed his kite experiment. Here Franklin had his proof of lightning’s electrical nature. Franklin wrote specifics on how the experiment was to be done, it said.
This kite is to be raised when a thunder-gust appears to be coming on, and
the person who holds the string must stand within a door or window, or