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Benjamin Franklin Edit Profile

inventor , philosopher , statesman , writer

Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, inventor, philosopher, writer. Founder American Philosophical Society, 1743, Philadelphia City Hospital, 1751; a founder Academy for Education of Youth 1751, incorporated, 1753 (later College of Philadelphia, now University Pennsylvania).


Franklin, Benjamin was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.


Self-educated; Master of Arts (honorary), Yale, 1753, Harvard, 1753, College William and Mary, 1756. Doctor of Laws (honorary), St. Andrews College, 1759. Doctor of Civil Law (honorary) Oxford (England) University, 1762.


Clerk Pennsylvania Assembly, 1736-1751, member from Philadelphia, 1751-1764. Deputy postmaster Philadelphia, 1737-1753. Joint dep postmaster general American colonies, 1753-1774.

Pennsylvania representative at Albany (New York) Congress, 1754. Political agent Pennsylvania Assembly, sent to England to present case against Penn family for refusing to support defense expenditures, 1757-1762, returned to England to obtain recall of Pennsylvania Charter, 1766. Questioned before House of Commons during debates on repeal of Stamp Act, 1766.

Colonial agent of Georgia, 1768, New Jersey, 1769, Massachusetts, 1770. Became 1st postmaster general. Member 2d Continental Congress, 1775.

Appointed minister to France, 1778. Appointed a commissioner to negotiate peace with Great Britain, 1781, assumed responsibility for preliminary talks, peace treaty signed, 1783. Returned to Philadelphia, 1785.

President Pennsylvania Executive Council, 1785-1787. Member United States Constitutional. Convention, 1787.


  • Contributor of articles to New England Courant (newspaper publication and printed by his brother James to whom he was apprenticed), Boston, until 1723. In London, 1724-1726. Owner Pennsylvania Gazette, 1730-1750.

    Established circulation library, Philadelphia, 1731. Wrote and published Poor Richard's Almanac (one of 1st American literary productions to attain international renown, largely because of his common-sense philosophy aphorisms), 1732-1757. Aided British in French and Indian War.

    Inventor Pennsylvania Fireplace (known as Franklin Stove), Fergusson's Clock, circa 1744, also bifocals. Performed kite experiment to test theory of identity of lightning and electricity, 1752. Submitted "Plan of Union" adopted by Congress but vetoed by colonial legislatures (later important in drafting Articles of Confederation and United States Constitution).

    Aided William Pitt in fruitless conciliation efforts, in England. Sketched plan of union for colonies, organized post office. Member committee to draft Declaration of Independence, also a signer, 1776.

    Delegate of mission to persuade Canada to join American cause. Commissioner to negotiate treaty with France (only American with whom French Prime Minister Vergennes would deal), 1776, signed final commerce and defense alliance treaties, 1778. Largely responsible for representation compromise actually incorporated in Constitution.

    Signed memorial to Congress for abolition of slavery (last public act).



Founder American Philosophical Society, 1743, Philadelphia City Hospital, 1751. A founder Academy for Education of Youth 1751, incorporated, 1753 (later College of Philadelphia, now University Pennsylvania).

  • United States Constitutional

  • Pennsylvania representative at Albany (New York) Congress


  • 2d Continental Congress



Son of Josiah and Abiah (Folger) F. Took Deborah Read as common law wife, September 1, 1730, later married, 2 children including Francis Folger, Sarah. 2 illegitimate children including William.

Josiah Franklin

Abiah (Folger) Franklin