The Life of Benjamin Franklin



When one takes a look at the world in which he currently

lives, he sees it as being normal since it is so slow in changing.

When an historian looks at the present, he sees the effects of many

events and many wise people. Benjamin Franklin is one of these

people. His participation in so many different fields changed the

world immensely. He was a noted politician as well as respected

scholar. He was an important inventor and scientist. Particularly

interesting is the impact on the scientific world.

Benjamin Franklin was a modest man who had had many jobs in

his lifetime. This may help explain his large array of inventions and

new methods of working various jobs. He did everything from making

cabbage-growing more efficient to making political decisions to being

the first person to study and chart the Gulf Stream movement in the

Atlantic Ocean.

Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17,

1706. He was the fifteenth child in a family of seventeen kids. His

parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin, were hard working devout

Puritan/Calvinist people. Josiah Franklin made candles for a living.

Since the Franklin?s were so poor, little Benjamin couldn't afford to

go to school for longer than two years. In those two years, however,

Franklin learned to read which opened the door to further education

for him. Since he was only a fair writer and had very poor

mathematical skills, he worked to tutor himself at home.

Benjamin Franklin was a determined young man. As a boy, he

taught himself to be a very good writer. He also learned basic

algebra and geometry, navigation, grammar, logic, and natural and

physical science. He partially mastered French, German, Italian,

Spanish, and Latin. He was soon to be named the best educated man in

the country. When he was 12-years-old, he was apprentice to his

brother in printing. Benjamin's brother founded the second newspaper

in America. Many people told him that one newspaper was enough for

America and that the paper would soon collapse. On the contrary, it

became very popular. Occasionally, young Benjamin would write an

article to be printed and slip it under the printing room's door

signed as "Anonymous". The following is a direct quote from

Franklin's Autobiography. It describes his writing the articles as a

boy. "He (Benjamin's older brother) had some ingenious men among his

friends, who amus'd themselves by writing little pieces for this

paper, which gain'd it credit and made it more in demand, and these

gentlemen often visited us. Hearing their conversations, and their

accounts of the approbation their papers were received with, I was

excited to try my hand among them; but, being still a boy, and

suspecting that my brother would object to printing anything of mine

in his paper if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my

hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at night under the

door of the printing-house. It was found in the morning, and

communicated to his writing friends when they call'd in as usual. They

read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite

pleasure of finding it met with their approbation, and that, in their

different guesses at the author, none were named but men of some

character among us for learning and ingenuity. I suppose n!

ow that I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were

not really so very good ones as I then esteem'd them."

Benjamin liked the printer's job but couldn't ezd being told

what to do all of the time. He desperately felt the need to be his

own boss. That day would come. In 1730, Franklin married Deborah Read,

who was the daughter of the first Philadelphia landlady. Read was not

nearly so well educated as her husband. In old letters that she had

written to him, there are many misspellings and improper punctuation

marks. They were a very happy couple despite their differences. They

eventually had two boys and one girl. One of the boys, William,

became governor of New Jersey.

When Franklin was 21-years-old, he began his career as a civic

leader by organizing a club of aspiring tradesmen called the Junto,

which met each week for discussion and planning. They hoped to build

their own businesses, insure the growth of