BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FRS , FRSE (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790)
was one of the
Founding Fathers of the United States . Franklin was a
renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist ,
politician, freemason , postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic
activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major
figure in the
American Enlightenment and the history of physics for
his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he
is known for the lightning rod , bifocals , and the
Franklin stove ,
among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations,
including Philadelphia's fire department and the University of
Pennsylvania , an
Ivy League institution.
Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and
indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity , initially as an author
and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United
States Ambassador to France , he exemplified the emerging American
nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a
marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education,
community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to
authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and
tolerant values of the Enlightenment . In the words of historian Henry
Steele Commager , "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of
Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment
without its heat." To
Walter Isaacson , this makes Franklin "the most
accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing
the type of society America would become."
Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in
Philadelphia , the leading city in the colonies, publishing the
Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing
this and Poor Richard\'s Almanack , which he authored under the
pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the
Pennsylvania Chronicle , a newspaper that was known for its
revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the British policies.
He pioneered and was first president of The Academy and College of
Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of
Pennsylvania . He organized and was the first secretary of the
American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769.
Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several
colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act . An
accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as
American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development
of positive Franco-American relations . His efforts proved vital for
American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions
He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies
in 1753, having been
Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this
enabled him to set up the first national communications network.
During the Revolution, he became the first
US Postmaster General . He
was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as
well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he
served as governor of
Pennsylvania . He initially owned and dealt in
slaves but, by the 1750s, he argued against slavery from an economic
perspective and became one of the most prominent abolitionists .
His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement,
and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers
have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on
coinage and the $100 bill , warships , and the names of many towns ,
counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as
countless cultural references .
* 1 Ancestry
* 2 Early life in
* 3.1 Junto and library
* 3.2 Newspaperman
Common-law marriage to
* 3.6 Success as an author
* 4 Inventions and scientific inquiries
* 4.1.1 Kite Experiment and
* 4.2 Population studies
Atlantic Ocean currents
Wave theory of light
* 4.6 Traction kiting
* 4.7 Concept of cooling
* 4.8 Temperature\'s effect on electrical conductivity
* 4.9 Oceanography findings
* 4.11 Oil on water
* 5 Musical endeavors
* 7 Public life
* 7.1 Early steps in
* 7.2 Decades in London
* 7.3 Travels around Britain and Ireland
* 7.4 Visits to Europe
* 7.5 Defending the American cause
* 7.6 Hutchinson letters leak
* 7.7 Coming of revolution
* 7.8 Declaration of Independence
* 7.9 Postmaster
* 7.10 Ambassador to France: 1776–1785
* 7.11 Constitutional Convention
* 7.12 President of
* 8 Virtue, religion, and personal beliefs
* 8.1 Thirteen Virtues
* 10 Death
* 11 Legacy
* 11.2 Franklin on U.S. postage
* 11.3 Bawdy Ben
* 11.4 Exhibitions
* 11.5 Places and things named after
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 Further reading
* 14.1 Biographies
* 14.2 Scholarly studies
* 14.3 Historiography
* 14.4 Primary sources
* 15 External links
* 15.1 Biographical and guides
* 15.2 Online writings
* 15.3 Autobiography
* 15.4 In the arts
Josiah Franklin , was a tallow chandler, a
soap-maker and a candle-maker. Josiah was born at Ecton,
Northamptonshire , England on December 23, 1657, the son of Thomas
Franklin, a blacksmith-farmer, and Jane White. His mother, Abiah
Folger, was born in
Nantucket, Massachusetts , on August 15, 1667, to
Peter Folger , a miller and schoolteacher, and his wife, Mary Morrill
, a former indentured servant .
Josiah Franklin had seventeen children with his two wives. He married
his first wife, Anne Child, in about 1677 in Ecton and emigrated with
Boston in 1683; they had three children before emigrating, and
four after. Following her death, Josiah was married to Abiah Folger on
July 9, 1689 in the
Old South Meeting House by
Samuel Willard .
Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's fifteenth child
and tenth and last son.
Ben Franklin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born into a
that was among the first Pilgrims to flee to
religious freedom , when King
Charles I of England
Charles I of England began persecuting
Puritans. They sailed for
Boston in 1635. Her father was "the sort of
rebel destined to transform colonial America." As clerk of the court
, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of
middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy
landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in
his battles against the wealthy
Penn family that owned the
Pennsylvania Colony .
ANCESTORS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
8. Henry Franckline
b. 1573, Ecton , Northamptonshire, England
4. Thomas Franklin
b. 1598, Ecton , Northamptonshire, England
9. Agnes Joanes
b. Ecton , Northamptonshire, England
b. December 23, 1657, Ecton , Northamptonshire, England
5. Jane White
1. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
12. John Folger Jr.
b. c. 1594,
Norwich , England
6. Peter Folger
Norwich , Norfolk, England
13. Meribah Gibbs
3. Abiah Folger
b. August 15, 1667,
b. c. 1619, England
EARLY LIFE IN BOSTON
Franklin's birthplace on
Milk Street , Boston,
Franklin's birthplace site directly across from Old South Meeting
Milk Street is commemorated by a bust above the second floor
facade of this building.
Benjamin Franklin was born on
Milk Street , in
Boston , Massachusetts
, on January 17, 1706, and baptized at Old South Meeting House. He
was one of seventeen children born to
Josiah Franklin , and one of ten
born by Josiah's second wife, Abiah Folger; the daughter of Peter
Mary Morrill . Among Benjamin's siblings were his older
brother James and his younger sister Jane .
Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy, but only had
enough money to send him to school for two years. He attended Boston
Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through
voracious reading. Although "his parents talked of the church as a
career" for Franklin, his schooling ended when he was ten. He worked
for his father for a time, and at 12 he became an apprentice to his
brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade. When Ben
was 15, James founded
The New-England Courant , which was the first
truly independent newspaper in the colonies .
When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for
publication, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of "
Silence Dogood ", a
middle-aged widow. Mrs. Dogood's letters were published, and became a
subject of conversation around town. Neither James nor the Courant's
readers were aware of the ruse, and James was unhappy with Ben when he
discovered the popular correspondent was his younger brother. Franklin
was an advocate of free speech from an early age. When his brother was
jailed for three weeks in 1722 for publishing material unflattering to
the governor, young Franklin took over the newspaper and had Mrs.
Dogood (quoting Cato\'s Letters ) proclaim: "Without freedom of
thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as
public liberty without freedom of speech." Franklin left his
apprenticeship without his brother's permission, and in so doing
became a fugitive .
La scuola della economia e della morale (1825)
At age 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seeking a
new start in a new city. When he first arrived, he worked in several
printer shops around town, but he was not satisfied by the immediate
prospects. After a few months, while working in a printing house,
Franklin was convinced by
Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to
go to London, ostensibly to acquire the equipment necessary for
establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. Finding Keith's
promises of backing a newspaper empty, Franklin worked as a typesetter
in a printer's shop in what is now the Church of St
Bartholomew-the-Great in the Smithfield area of London. Following
this, he returned to
Philadelphia in 1726 with the help of Thomas
Denham, a merchant who employed Franklin as clerk, shopkeeper, and
bookkeeper in his business.
JUNTO AND LIBRARY
In 1727, Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto , a group of
"like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve
themselves while they improved their community." The Junto was a
discussion group for issues of the day; it subsequently gave rise to
many organizations in Philadelphia. The Junto was modeled after
English coffeehouses that Franklin knew well, and which should become
the center of the spread of Enlightenment ideas in Britain.
Reading was a great pastime of the Junto, but books were rare and
expensive. The members created a library initially assembled from
their own books after Franklin wrote: A proposition was made by me
that since our books were often referr'd to in our disquisitions upon
the inquiries, it might be convenient for us to have them altogether
where we met, that upon occasion they might be consulted; and by thus
clubbing our books to a common library, we should, while we lik'd to
keep them together, have each of us the advantage of using the books
of all the other members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if
each owned the whole.
This did not suffice, however. Franklin conceived the idea of a
subscription library , which would pool the funds of the members to
buy books for all to read. This was the birth of the Library Company
Philadelphia : its charter was composed by Franklin in 1731. In
1732, Franklin hired the first American librarian,
Louis Timothee .
The Library Company is now a great scholarly and research library .
Benjamin Franklin (center) at work on a printing press .
Reproduction of a Charles Mills painting by the Detroit Publishing
Upon Denham's death, Franklin returned to his former trade. In 1728,
Franklin had set up a printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith
; the following year he became the publisher of a newspaper called The
Pennsylvania Gazette . The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation
about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed
essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, and his adroit
cultivation of a positive image as an industrious and intellectual
young man, earned him a great deal of social respect. But even after
Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually
signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. Franklin, Printer.'
In 1732, Ben Franklin published the first German-language newspaper
in America – Die Philadelphische Zeitung – although it failed
after only one year, because four other newly founded German papers
quickly dominated the newspaper market. Franklin printed Moravian
religious books in German. Franklin often visited Bethlehem ,
Pennsylvania staying at the
Moravian Sun Inn
Moravian Sun Inn . In a 1751 pamphlet on
demographic growth and its implications for the colonies, he called
Pennsylvania Germans "Palatine Boors" who could never acquire the
"Complexion" of the English settlers and to "Blacks and Tawneys" as
weakening the social structure of the colonies. Although Franklin
apparently reconsidered shortly thereafter, and the phrases were
omitted from all later printings of the pamphlet, his views may have
played a role in his political defeat in 1764.
Franklin saw the printing press as a device to instruct colonial
Americans in moral virtue. Frasca argues he saw this as a service to
God, because he understood moral virtue in terms of actions, thus,
doing good provides a service to God. Despite his own moral lapses,
Franklin saw himself as uniquely qualified to instruct Americans in
morality. He tried to influence American moral life through
construction of a printing network based on a chain of partnerships
from the Carolinas to New England. Franklin thereby invented the first
newspaper chain. It was more than a business venture, for like many
publishers since, he believed that the press had a public-service
duty. Coat of Arms of
When Franklin established himself in Philadelphia, shortly before
1730, the town boasted two "wretched little" news sheets, Andrew
Bradford 's The American Weekly Mercury, and
Samuel Keimer 's
Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences, and Pennsylvania
Gazette. This instruction in all arts and sciences consisted of weekly
extracts from Chambers's Universal Dictionary. Franklin quickly did
away with all this when he took over the Instructor and made it The
Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette soon became Franklin's
characteristic organ, which he freely used for satire, for the play of
his wit, even for sheer excess of mischief or of fun. From the first
he had a way of adapting his models to his own uses. The series of
essays called "The Busy-Body", which he wrote for Bradford's American
Mercury in 1729, followed the general Addisonian form, already
modified to suit homelier conditions. The thrifty Patience, in her
busy little shop, complaining of the useless visitors who waste her
valuable time, is related to the ladies who address Mr. Spectator. The
Busy-Body himself is a true Censor Morum, as
Isaac Bickerstaff had
been in the Tatler. And a number of the fictitious characters,
Ridentius, Eugenius, Cato, and Cretico, represent traditional
18th-century classicism. Even this Franklin could use for contemporary
satire, since Cretico, the "sowre Philosopher", is evidently a
portrait of Franklin's rival,
Samuel Keimer .
As time went on, Franklin depended less on his literary conventions,
and more on his own native humor. In this there is a new spirit—not
suggested to him by the fine breeding of Addison , or the bitter irony
of Swift , or the stinging completeness of Pope . The brilliant little
pieces Franklin wrote for his
Pennsylvania Gazette have an
imperishable place in American literature.
Pennsylvania Gazette, like most other newspapers of the period,
was often poorly printed. Franklin was busy with a hundred matters
outside of his printing office, and never seriously attempted to raise
the mechanical standards of his trade. Nor did he ever properly edit
or collate the chance medley of stale items that passed for news in
the Gazette. His influence on the practical side of journalism was
minimal. On the other hand, his advertisements of books show his very
great interest in popularizing secular literature. Undoubtedly his
paper contributed to the broader culture that distinguished
Pennsylvania from her neighbors before the Revolution. Like many
publishers, Franklin built up a book shop in his printing office; he
took the opportunity to read new books before selling them.
Franklin had mixed success in his plan to establish an inter-colonial
network of newspapers that would produce a profit for him and
disseminate virtue. He began in
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina , in 1731.
After the second editor died, his widow
Elizabeth Timothy took over
and made it a success, 1738–46. She was one of the colonial era's
first woman printers. For three decades Franklin maintained a close
business relationship with her and her son Peter who took over in
1746. The Gazette had a policy of impartiality in political debates,
while creating the opportunity for public debate, which encouraged
others to challenge authority. Editor Peter Timothy avoided blandness
and crude bias, and after 1765 increasingly took a patriotic stand in
the growing crisis with Great Britain. However, Franklin's
Connecticut Gazette (1755–68) proved unsuccessful.
In 1731, Franklin was initiated into the local Masonic Lodge. He
became Grand Master in 1734, indicating his rapid rise to prominence
in Pennsylvania. That same year, he edited and published the first
Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson\'s
Constitutions of the Free-Masons . Franklin remained a
the rest of his life.
COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE TO DEBORAH READ
Deborah Read Franklin
(c. 1759). Common-law wife of
Benjamin Franklin Sarah Franklin
Bache (1743–1808). Daughter of
Benjamin Franklin and
At age 17 in 1723, Franklin proposed to 15-year-old Deborah Read
while a boarder in the Read home. At that time, Read's mother was wary
of allowing her young daughter to marry Franklin, who was on his way
to London at Governor Sir William Keith\'s request, and also because
of his financial instability. Her own husband had recently died, and
she declined Franklin's request to marry her daughter.
While Franklin was in London, his trip was extended, and there were
problems with Sir William's promises of support. Perhaps because of
the circumstances of this delay, Deborah married a man named John
Rodgers. This proved to be a regrettable decision. Rodgers shortly
avoided his debts and prosecution by fleeing to
Barbados with her
dowry , leaving her behind. Rodgers's fate was unknown, and because of
bigamy laws, Deborah was not free to remarry.
Franklin established a common-law marriage with
Deborah Read on
September 1, 1730. They took in Franklin's recently acknowledged young
illegitimate son William and raised him in their household. They had
two children together. Their son,
Francis Folger Franklin , was born
in October 1732 and died of smallpox in 1736. Their daughter, Sarah
"Sally" Franklin , was born in 1743 and grew up to marry Richard Bache
, have seven children, and look after her father in his old age.
Deborah's fear of the sea meant that she never accompanied Franklin
on any of his extended trips to Europe, despite his repeated requests.
She wrote to him in November 1769 saying she was ill due to
"dissatisfied distress" from his prolonged absence, but he did not
return until his business was done.
Deborah Read Franklin died of a
stroke in 1774, while Franklin was on an extended mission to England;
he returned in 1775.
In 1730, 24-year-old Franklin publicly acknowledged the existence of
his son William, who was deemed 'illegitimate' as he was born out of
wedlock and raised him in his household. His mother's identity is
unknown. He was educated in Philadelphia. Beginning at about age 30,
William studied law in London in the early 1760s. He fathered an
William Temple Franklin , born February 22, 1762.
The boy's mother was never identified, and he was placed in foster
care. Franklin later that year married Elizabeth Downes, daughter of a
Barbados . After William passed the bar, his father
helped him gain an appointment in 1763 as the last Royal Governor of
A Loyalist , William and his father eventually broke relations over
their differences about the American Revolutionary War. The elder
Franklin could never accept William's position. Deposed in 1776 by the
revolutionary government of New Jersey, William was arrested at his
Perth Amboy at the
Proprietary House and imprisoned for a
time. The younger Franklin went to New York in 1782, which was still
occupied by British troops. He became leader of the Board of
Associated Loyalists — a quasi-military organization, headquartered
in New York City. They initiated guerrilla forays into
New Jersey ,
Connecticut , and New York counties north of the city. When
British troops evacuated from New York,
William Franklin left with
them and sailed to England. He settled in London, never to return to
North America. In the preliminary peace talks in 1782 with Britain,
Benjamin Franklin insisted that loyalists who had borne arms
against the United States would be excluded from this plea (that they
be given a general pardon). He was undoubtedly thinking of William
SUCCESS AS AN AUTHOR
Franklin's The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle (Jan.
In 1733, Franklin began to publish the noted Poor Richard\'s Almanack
(with content both original and borrowed) under the pseudonym Richard
Saunders, on which much of his popular reputation is based. Franklin
frequently wrote under pseudonyms. Although it was no secret that
Franklin was the author, his Richard Saunders character repeatedly
denied it. "Poor Richard's Proverbs", adages from this almanac, such
as "A penny saved is twopence dear" (often misquoted as "A penny saved
is a penny earned") and "Fish and visitors stink in three days",
remain common quotations in the modern world. Wisdom in folk society
meant the ability to provide an apt adage for any occasion, and
Franklin's readers became well prepared. He sold about ten thousand
copies per year—it became an institution. In 1741 Franklin began
publishing The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the
British Plantations in America, the first such monthly magazine of
this type published in America.
In 1758, the year he ceased writing for the Almanack, he printed
Father Abraham's Sermon, also known as
The Way to Wealth . Franklin's
autobiography , begun in 1771 but published after his death, has
become one of the classics of the genre.
Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time (DST) is often erroneously attributed to a 1784
satire that Franklin published anonymously . Modern DST was first
George Vernon Hudson in 1895.
INVENTIONS AND SCIENTIFIC INQUIRIES
Further information: Social contributions and studies by Benjamin
Franklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the
lightning rod , glass harmonica (a glass instrument, not to be
confused with the metal harmonica ),
Franklin stove , bifocal glasses
and the flexible urinary catheter . Franklin never patented his
inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, "... as we enjoy great
advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an
opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we
should do freely and generously."
Benjamin Franklin Drawing
Electricity from the Sky c. 1816 at
Philadelphia Museum of Art , by
Benjamin West Franklin and
Electricity vignette engraved by the BEP (c. 1860).
Franklin started exploring the phenomenon of electricity in 1746 when
he saw some of
Archibald Spencer 's lectures using static electricity
for illustrations. Franklin proposed that "vitreous" and "resinous"
electricity were not different types of "electrical fluid " (as
electricity was called then), but the same "fluid" under different
pressures. (The same proposal was made independently that same year by
William Watson .) Franklin was the first to label them as positive and
negative respectively, and he was the first to discover the
principle of conservation of charge . In 1748 he constructed a
multiple plate capacitor, that he called an "electrical battery" (not
to be confused with Volta\'s pile ) by placing eleven panes of glass
sandwiched between lead plates, suspended with silk cords and
connected by wires.
In recognition of his work with electricity, Franklin received the
Royal Society 's
Copley Medal in 1753, and in 1756 he became one of
the few 18th-century Americans elected as a Fellow of the Society. He
received honorary degrees from
Yale universities (his
first). The cgs unit of electric charge has been named after him: one
franklin (Fr) is equal to one statcoulomb .
Harvard University in its acquisition of new
electrical laboratory apparatus after the complete loss of its
original collection, in a fire which destroyed the original Harvard
Hall in 1764. The collection he assembled would later become part of
Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments , now on
public display in its
Science Center .
Kite Experiment And
In 1750, he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that
lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm that appeared
capable of becoming a lightning storm. On May 10, 1752,
Thomas-François Dalibard of France conducted Franklin's experiment
using a 40-foot-tall (12 m) iron rod instead of a kite, and he
extracted electrical sparks from a cloud. On June 15 Franklin may
possibly have conducted his well-known kite experiment in Philadelphia
, successfully extracting sparks from a cloud. Franklin described the
experiment in the
Pennsylvania Gazette in October 19, 1752, without
mentioning that he himself had performed it. This account was read to
Royal Society on December 21 and printed as such in the
Joseph Priestley published details in his
1767 History and Present Status of Electricity. Franklin was careful
to stand on an insulator, keeping dry under a roof to avoid the danger
of electric shock . Others, such as Prof.
Georg Wilhelm Richmann in
Russia , were indeed electrocuted during the months following
In his writings, Franklin indicates that he was aware of the dangers
and offered alternative ways to demonstrate that lightning was
electrical, as shown by his use of the concept of electrical ground .
Franklin did not perform this experiment in the way that is often
pictured in popular literature, flying the kite and waiting to be
struck by lightning, as it would have been dangerous. Instead he used
the kite to collect some electric charge from a storm cloud, showing
that lightning was electrical. On October 19 in a letter to England
with directions for repeating the experiment, Franklin wrote:
When rain has wet the kite twine so that it can conduct the electric
fire freely, you will find it streams out plentifully from the key at
the approach of your knuckle, and with this key a phial, or Leyden jar
, may be charged: and from electric fire thus obtained spirits may be
kindled, and all other electric experiments performed which are
usually done by the help of a rubber glass globe or tube; and
therefore the sameness of the electrical matter with that of
lightening completely demonstrated.
Franklin's electrical experiments led to his invention of the
lightning rod . He noted that conductors with a sharp rather than a
smooth point could discharge silently, and at a far greater distance.
He surmised that this could help protect buildings from lightning by
attaching "upright Rods of Iron, made sharp as a Needle and gilt to
prevent Rusting, and from the Foot of those Rods a Wire down the
outside of the Building into the Ground; ... Would not these pointed
Rods probably draw the Electrical Fire silently out of a Cloud before
it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most
sudden and terrible Mischief!" Following a series of experiments on
Franklin's own house, lightning rods were installed on the Academy of
Philadelphia (later the University of
Pennsylvania ) and the
Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in 1752.
Franklin had a major influence on the emerging science of demography
, or population studies.
Thomas Malthus is noted for his rule of
population growth and credited Franklin for discovering it. Kammen
(1990) and Drake (2011) say Franklin's "Observations on the Increase
of Mankind " (1755) stands alongside
Ezra Stiles ' "Discourse on
Christian Union" (1760) as the leading works of eighteenth-century
Anglo-American demography; Drake credits Franklin's "wide readership
and prophetic insight."
In the 1730s and 1740s, Franklin began taking notes on population
growth, finding that the American population had the fastest growth
rates on earth. Emphasizing that population growth depended on food
supplies—a line of thought later developed by Thomas Malthus
—Franklin emphasized the abundance of food and available farmland in
America. He calculated that America's population was doubling every
twenty years and would surpass that of England in a century. In 1751,
he drafted "Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling
of Countries, once they did, they were able to trim two weeks from
their sailing time. In 1853, the oceanographer and cartographer
Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury noted that while Franklin charted and codified
the Gulf Stream, he did not discover it:
Though it was Dr. Franklin and Captain Tim Folger, who first turned
Gulf Stream to nautical account, the discovery that there was a
Gulf Stream cannot be said to belong to either of them, for its
existence was known to Peter Martyr d\'Anghiera , and to Sir Humphrey
Gilbert , in the 16th century.
WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT
Franklin was, along with his contemporary
Leonhard Euler , the only
major scientist who supported
Christiaan Huygens ' wave theory of
light , which was basically ignored by the rest of the scientific
community . In the 18th century Newton\'s corpuscular theory was held
to be true; only after Young\'s well-known slit experiment in 1803
were most scientists persuaded to believe Huygens' theory.
On October 21, 1743, according to popular myth, a storm moving from
the southwest denied Franklin the opportunity of witnessing a lunar
eclipse . Franklin was said to have noted that the prevailing winds
were actually from the northeast, contrary to what he had expected. In
correspondence with his brother, Franklin learned that the same storm
had not reached
Boston until after the eclipse, despite the fact that
Boston is to the northeast of Philadelphia. He deduced that storms do
not always travel in the direction of the prevailing wind, a concept
that greatly influenced meteorology .
After the Icelandic volcanic eruption of
Laki in 1783, and the
subsequent harsh European winter of 1784, Franklin made observations
connecting the causal nature of these two separate events. He wrote
about them in a lecture series.
Benjamin Franklin has been most noted kite-wise with his
lightning experiments, he has also been noted by many for his using
kites to pull humans and ships across waterways. The George Pocock in
the book A TREATISE on The Aeropleustic Art, or Navigation in the Air,
by means of Kites, or Buoyant Sails noted being inspired by Benjamin
Franklin's traction of his body by kite power across a waterway. In
his later years he suggested using the technique for pulling ships.
CONCEPT OF COOLING
Franklin noted a principle of refrigeration by observing that on a
very hot day, he stayed cooler in a wet shirt in a breeze than he did
in a dry one. To understand this phenomenon more clearly Franklin
conducted experiments. In 1758 on a warm day in
Cambridge , England,
Franklin and fellow scientist John Hadley experimented by continually
wetting the ball of a mercury thermometer with ether and using bellows
to evaporate the ether. With each subsequent evaporation , the
thermometer read a lower temperature, eventually reaching 7 °F (−14
°C). Another thermometer showed that the room temperature was
constant at 65 °F (18 °C). In his letter Cooling by
Franklin noted that, "One may see the possibility of freezing a man to
death on a warm summer's day."
TEMPERATURE\'S EFFECT ON ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY
Michael Faraday , Franklin's experiments on the
non-conduction of ice are worth mentioning, although the law of the
general effect of liquefaction on electrolytes is not attributed to
Franklin. However, as reported in 1836 by Prof. A. D. Bache of the
University of Pennsylvania, the law of the effect of heat on the
conduction of bodies otherwise non-conductors, for example, glass,
could be attributed to Franklin. Franklin writes, "... A certain
quantity of heat will make some bodies good conductors, that will not
otherwise conduct ..." and again, "... And water, though naturally a
good conductor, will not conduct well when frozen into ice."
An illustration from Franklin's paper on "Water-spouts and
An aging Franklin accumulated all his oceanographic findings in
Maritime Observations, published by the Philosophical Society's
transactions in 1786. It contained ideas for sea anchors , catamaran
hulls, watertight compartments , shipboard lightning rods and a soup
bowl designed to stay stable in stormy weather.
In a 1772 letter to
Joseph Priestley , Franklin lays out the earliest
known description of the Pro and where I find two, one on each side,
that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a
Reason pro equal
to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two
Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five;
and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if
after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of
Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination
OIL ON WATER
While traveling on a ship, Franklin had observed that the wake of a
ship was diminished when the cooks scuttled their greasy water. He
studied the effects on a large pond in
Clapham Common , London. "I
fetched out a cruet of oil and dropt a little of it on the water ...
though not more than a teaspoon full, produced an instant calm over a
space of several yards square." He later used the trick to "calm the
waters" by carrying "a little oil in the hollow joint of my cane".
Franklin is known to have played the violin, the harp , and the
guitar. He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early
classical style . He developed a much-improved version of the glass
harmonica , in which the glasses rotate on a shaft, with the player's
fingers held steady, instead of the other way around; this version
soon found its way to Europe.
Franklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess by around
1733, making him the first chess player known by name in the American
colonies. His essay on "The Morals of
Chess " in Columbian magazine
in December 1786 is the second known writing on chess in America.
This essay in praise of chess and prescribing a code of behavior for
the game has been widely reprinted and translated. He and a friend
also used chess as a means of learning the
Italian language , which
both were studying; the winner of each game between them had the right
to assign a task, such as parts of the Italian grammar to be learned
by heart, to be performed by the loser before their next meeting.
Franklin was able to play chess more frequently against stronger
opposition during his many years as a civil servant and diplomat in
England, where the game was far better established than in America. He
was able to improve his playing standard by facing more experienced
players during this period. He regularly attended Old Slaughter\'s
Coffee House in London for chess and socializing, making many
important personal contacts. While in Paris, both as a visitor and
later as ambassador, he visited the famous
Café de la Régence ,
which France's strongest players made their regular meeting place. No
records of his games have survived, so it is not possible to ascertain
his playing strength in modern terms.
Franklin was inducted into the U.S.
Chess Hall of Fame in 1999. The
Chess Club in Philadelphia, the second oldest
chess club in the U.S., is named in his honor.
EARLY STEPS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Join, or Die : This political cartoon by Franklin urged the
colonies to join together during the
French and Indian War
French and Indian War (Seven
In 1736, Franklin created the
Union Fire Company , one of the first
volunteer firefighting companies in America. In the same year, he
printed a new currency for
New Jersey based on innovative
anti-counterfeiting techniques he had devised. Throughout his career,
Franklin was an advocate for paper money , publishing A Modest Enquiry
into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency in 1729, and his
printer printed money. He was influential in the more restrained and
thus successful monetary experiments in the Middle Colonies, which
stopped deflation without causing excessive inflation. In 1766 he made
a case for paper money to the British House of Commons .
As he matured, Franklin began to concern himself more with public
affairs. In 1743, he first devised a scheme for The Academy, Charity
School, and College of
Philadelphia . However, the person he had in
mind to run the academy, Rev. Richard Peters , refused and Franklin
put his ideas away until 1749, when he printed his own pamphlet,
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. :30 He
was appointed president of the Academy on November 13, 1749; the
Academy and the Charity School opened on August 13, 1751.
In 1743, Franklin founded the
American Philosophical Society to help
scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories. He began the
electrical research that, along with other scientific inquiries, would
occupy him for the rest of his life, in between bouts of politics and
In 1747, Franklin (already a very wealthy man) retired from printing
and went into other businesses. He created a partnership with his
foreman, David Hall , which provided Franklin with half of the shop's
profits for 18 years. This lucrative business arrangement provided
leisure time for study, and in a few years he had made discoveries
that gave him a reputation with educated persons throughout Europe and
especially in France.
Franklin became involved in
Philadelphia politics and rapidly
progressed. In October 1748, he was selected as a councilman, in June
1749 he became a
Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in 1751 he
was elected to the
Pennsylvania Assembly . On August 10, 1753,
Franklin was appointed deputy postmaster-general of British North
America , (see below ). His most notable service in domestic politics
was his reform of the postal system, with mail sent out every week.
Pennsylvania Hospital by William Strickland , 1755
In 1751, Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond obtained a charter from the
Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital. Pennsylvania
Hospital was the first hospital in what was to become the United
States of America.
Between 1750 and 1753, the "educational triumvirate" of Dr. Benjamin
Franklin, the American Dr.
Samuel Johnson of Stratford,
and the immigrant Scottish schoolteacher Dr. William Smith built on
Franklin's initial scheme and created what Bishop
James Madison ,
president of the College of William "> Seal of the College of
In June 1753, Johnson, Franklin, and Smith met in Stratford. They
decided the new-model college would focus on the professions, with
classes taught in English instead of Latin, have subject matter
experts as professors instead of one tutor leading a class for four
years, and there would be no religious test for admission. Johnson
went on to found King's College (now
Columbia University ) in New York
City in 1754, while Franklin hired Smith as Provost of the College of
Philadelphia, which opened in 1755. At its first commencement, on May
17, 1757, seven men graduated; six with a
Bachelor of Arts and one as
Master of Arts . It was later merged with the University of the State
Pennsylvania to become the University of
Pennsylvania . The College
was to become influential in guiding the founding documents of the
United States : in the
Continental Congress , for example, over one
third of the college-affiliated men who contributed the Declaration of
Independence between September 4, 1774, and July 4, 1776, were
affiliated with the College.
In 1753, both
Yale awarded him honorary degrees.
In 1754, he headed the
Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress
. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of
Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense
against the French. Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the
colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their
way into the
Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation and the Constitution .
Sketch of the original
In 1756, Franklin organized the
Militia (see "Associated
Regiment of Philadelphia" under heading of Pennsylvania's 103rd
Artillery and 111th Infantry Regiment at
Continental Army ). He used
Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to
go into battle against the Native American uprisings that beset the
American colonies. Reportedly Franklin was elected "Colonel" of the
Associated Regiment but declined the honor.
DECADES IN LONDON
Franklin in London, 1767, wearing a blue suit with elaborate
gold braid and buttons, a far cry from the simple dress he affected at
the French court in later years. Painting by David Martin , displayed
White House .
From the mid 1750s to the mid 1770s, Franklin spent much of his time
in London. Officially he was there on a political mission, but he used
his time to further his scientific explorations as well, meeting many
In 1757, he was sent to England by the
Pennsylvania Assembly as a
colonial agent to protest against the political influence of the Penn
family , the proprietors of the colony . He remained there for five
years, striving to end the proprietors' prerogative to overturn
legislation from the elected Assembly, and their exemption from paying
taxes on their land. His lack of influential allies in
to the failure of this mission.
At this time, many members of the
Pennsylvania Assembly were feuding
with William Penn\'s heirs , who controlled the colony as proprietors.
After his return to the colony, Franklin led the "anti-proprietary
party" in the struggle against the Penn family, and was elected
Speaker of the
Pennsylvania House in May 1764. His call for a change
from proprietary to royal government was a rare political
miscalculation, however: Pennsylvanians worried that such a move would
endanger their political and religious freedoms. Because of these
fears, and because of political attacks on his character, Franklin
lost his seat in the October 1764 Assembly elections. The
anti-proprietary party dispatched Franklin to England again to
continue the struggle against the
Penn family proprietorship. During
this trip, events drastically changed the nature of his mission.
Pennsylvania colonial currency printed by Franklin in 1764
In London, Franklin opposed the 1765 Stamp Act . Unable to prevent
its passage, he made another political miscalculation and recommended
a friend to the post of stamp distributor for Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians were outraged, believing that he had supported the
measure all along, and threatened to destroy his home in Philadelphia.
Franklin soon learned of the extent of colonial resistance to the
Stamp Act, and he testified during the House of Commons proceedings
that led to its repeal.
With this, Franklin suddenly emerged as the leading spokesman for
American interests in England. He wrote popular essays on behalf of
the colonies. Georgia ,
New Jersey , and
Massachusetts also appointed
him as their agent to the Crown.
Franklin lodged in a house in Craven Street, just off The Strand in
central London . During his stays there, he developed a close
friendship with his landlady, Margaret Stevenson, and her circle of
friends and relations, in particular her daughter Mary, who was more
often known as Polly. Their house, which he used on various lengthy
missions from 1757 to 1775, is the only one of his residences to
survive. It opened to the public as the
Benjamin Franklin House museum
Whilst in London, Franklin became involved in radical politics. He
belonged to a gentleman\'s club (which he called "the honest Whigs"),
which held stated meetings, and included members such as Richard Price
, the minister of
Newington Green Unitarian Church who ignited the
Revolution Controversy , and
Andrew Kippis .
In 1756, Franklin had become a member of the
Society for the
Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures on occasion he visited them.
In 1759, the
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews awarded Franklin an honorary
doctorate in recognition of his accomplishments. He was also awarded
an honorary doctorate by
Oxford University in 1762. Because of these
honors, Franklin was often addressed as "Dr. Franklin."
Franklin also managed to secure an appointed post for his
William Franklin , by then an attorney, as Colonial
New Jersey .
While living in London in 1768, he developed a phonetic alphabet in A
Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This
reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant
(c, j, q, w, x, and y), and substituted six new letters for sounds he
felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never
caught on, and he eventually lost interest.
TRAVELS AROUND BRITAIN AND IRELAND
Franklin used London as a base to travel. In 1771, he made short
journeys through different parts of England, staying with Joseph
Thomas Percival at
Manchester and Erasmus Darwin
In Scotland, he spent five days with Lord Kames near
stayed for three weeks with
David Hume in Edinburgh. In 1759, he
Edinburgh with his son, and recalled his conversations there
as "the densest happiness of my life". In February 1759, the
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws
degree. From then he was known as "Doctor Franklin". In October of
the same year he was granted Freedom of the Borough of
St Andrews .
He had never been to Ireland before, and met and stayed with Lord
Hillsborough , who he believed was especially attentive. Franklin
noted of him that "all the plausible behaviour I have described is
meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more
patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper
into his sides." In
Dublin , Franklin was invited to sit with the
members of the Irish Parliament rather than in the gallery. He was the
first American to receive this honor. While touring Ireland, he was
moved by the level of poverty he saw. Ireland's economy was affected
by the same trade regulations and laws of Britain that governed
America. Franklin feared that America could suffer the same effects
should Britain's "colonial exploitation" continue.
VISITS TO EUROPE
Franklin spent two months in German lands in 1766, but his
connections to the country stretched across a lifetime. He declared a
debt of gratitude to German scientist
Otto von Guericke for his early
studies of electricity. Franklin also co-authored the first treaty of
friendship between Prussia and America in 1785.
In September 1767, Franklin visited Paris with his usual traveling
John Pringle . News of his electrical discoveries was
widespread in France. His reputation meant that he was introduced to
many influential scientists and politicians, and also to King Louis XV
DEFENDING THE AMERICAN CAUSE
One line of argument in Parliament was that Americans should pay a
share of the costs of the
French and Indian War
French and Indian War , and that therefore
taxes should be levied on them. Franklin became the American spokesman
in highly publicized testimony in Parliament in 1766. He stated that
Americans already contributed heavily to the defense of the Empire. He
said local governments had raised, outfitted and paid 25,000 soldiers
to fight France—as many as Britain itself sent—and spent many
millions from American treasuries doing so in the French and Indian
In 1773, Franklin published two of his most celebrated pro-American
satirical essays: "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a
Small One", and "An Edict by the King of Prussia".
HUTCHINSON LETTERS LEAK
Hutchinson Letters Affair
Hutchinson Letters Affair
In June 1773 Franklin obtained private letters of Thomas Hutchinson
Andrew Oliver , governor and lieutenant governor of the Province
Massachusetts Bay , that proved they were encouraging the Crown to
crack down on Bostonians. Franklin sent them to America, where they
escalated the tensions. The letters were finally leaked to the public
Boston Gazette in mid-June 1773, causing a political firestorm
Massachusetts and raising significant questions in England. The
British began to regard him as the fomenter of serious trouble. Hopes
for a peaceful solution ended as he was systematically ridiculed and
humiliated by Solicitor-General Alexander Wedderburn , before the
Privy Council on January 29, 1774. He returned to
March 1775, and abandoned his accommodationist stance.
COMING OF REVOLUTION
In 1763, soon after Franklin returned to
Pennsylvania from England
for the first time, the western frontier was engulfed in a bitter war
known as Pontiac\'s Rebellion . The
Paxton Boys , a group of settlers
convinced that the
Pennsylvania government was not doing enough to
protect them from American Indian raids, murdered a group of peaceful
Susquehannock Indians and marched on Philadelphia. Franklin helped to
organize a local militia to defend the capital against the mob. He met
with the Paxton leaders and persuaded them to disperse. Franklin wrote
a scathing attack against the racial prejudice of the Paxton Boys. "If
an Indian injures me", he asked, "does it follow that I may revenge
that Injury on all Indians?"
He provided an early response to British surveillance through his own
network of counter-surveillance and manipulation . "He waged a public
relations campaign, secured secret aid, played a role in privateering
expeditions, and churned out effective and inflammatory propaganda."
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
John Trumbull depicts the
Committee of Five presenting their
work to the Congress.
By the time Franklin arrived in
Philadelphia on May 5, 1775, after
his second mission to Great Britain, the
American Revolution had begun
– with fighting between colonials and British at Lexington and
Concord . The New England militia had trapped the main British army in
Pennsylvania Assembly unanimously chose Franklin as their
delegate to the Second
Continental Congress . In June 1776, he was
appointed a member of the
Committee of Five that drafted the
Declaration of Independence . Although he was temporarily disabled by
gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin
made several "small but important" changes to the draft sent to him
Thomas Jefferson .
At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by
Hancock that they must all hang together: "Yes, we must, indeed, all
hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
First US postage stamp
Issue of 1847
Well known as a printer and publisher, Franklin was appointed
Philadelphia in 1737, holding the office until 1753,
when he and publisher William Hunter were named deputy
postmasters–general of British North America, the first to hold the
office. (Joint appointments were standard at the time, for political
reasons.) Franklin was responsible for the British colonies as far as
the island of Newfoundland , opening Canada's first post office at
Halifax, Nova Scotia , while Hunter became postal administrator in
Virginia and oversaw areas south of
Maryland . Franklin reorganized the service's accounting system, then
improved speed of delivery between Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
By 1761, efficiencies led to the first profits for the colonial post
Benjamin Franklin on a
Canada Post stamp of 2013, with
Quebec City in background
When the lands of
New France were ceded to the British under the
Treaty of Paris in 1763, the new British province of Quebec was
created among them, and Franklin saw mail service expanded between
Quebec City , and New York. For the
greater part of his appointment, Franklin lived in England (from 1757
to 1762, and again from 1764 to 1774) – about three-quarters of his
term. Eventually, his sympathies for the rebel cause in the American
Revolution led to his dismissal on January 31, 1774.
On July 26, 1775, the Second
Continental Congress established the
United States Post Office and named
Benjamin Franklin as the first
United States Postmaster General . Franklin had been a postmaster for
decades and was a natural choice for the position. He had just
returned from England and was appointed chairman of a Committee of
Investigation to establish a postal system. The report of the
Committee, providing for the appointment of a postmaster general for
the 13 American colonies, was considered by the Continental Congress
on July 25 and 26. On July 26, 1775, Franklin was appointed Postmaster
General, the first appointed under the Continental Congress. It
established a postal system that became the United States Post Office,
a system that continues to operate today.
AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE: 1776–1785
Franklin, in his fur hat, charmed the French with what they
perceived as rustic New World genius .
In December 1776, Franklin was dispatched to France as commissioner
for the United States. He took with him as secretary his 16-year-old
William Temple Franklin . They lived in a home in the
Parisian suburb of
Passy , donated by Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de
Chaumont , who supported the United States. Franklin remained in
France until 1785. He conducted the affairs of his country toward the
French nation with great success, which included securing a critical
military alliance in 1778 and negotiating the
Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty of Paris (1783) .
Among his associates in France was Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de
Mirabeau —a French Revolutionary writer, orator and statesman who in
early 1791 would be elected president of the National Assembly . In
July 1784, Franklin met with Mirabeau and contributed anonymous
materials that the Frenchman used in his first signed work:
Considerations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus. The publication was
critical of the
Society of the Cincinnati , established in the United
States. Franklin and Mirabeau thought of it as a "noble order",
inconsistent with the egalitarian ideals of the new republic.
During his stay in France,
Benjamin Franklin was active as a
Freemason , serving as Venerable Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs
from 1779 until 1781. He was the 106th member of the Lodge. In 1784,
Franz Mesmer began to publicize his theory of "animal magnetism "
which was considered offensive by many, Louis XVI appointed a
commission to investigate it. These included the chemist Antoine
Lavoisier , the physician
Joseph-Ignace Guillotin , the astronomer
Jean Sylvain Bailly , and Benjamin Franklin. In 1781, he was elected
a Fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences . While in
France Franklin designed and commissioned
Augustin Dupré to engrave
the medallion "Libertas Americana" minted in Paris in 1783.
Franklin's advocacy for religious tolerance in France contributed to
arguments made by French philosophers and politicians that resulted in
Louis XVI 's signing of the
Edict of Versailles in November 1787. This
edict effectively nullified the
Edict of Fontainebleau , which had
denied non-Catholics civil status and the right to openly practice
Franklin also served as American minister to Sweden, although he
never visited that country. He negotiated a treaty that was signed in
April 1783. On August 27, 1783, in Paris, Franklin witnessed the
world's first hydrogen balloon flight. Le Globe , created by
Jacques Charles and Les Frères Robert , was watched by a
vast crowd as it rose from the
Champ de Mars (now the site of the
Eiffel Tower ). This so enthused Franklin that he subscribed
financially to the next project to build a manned hydrogen balloon.
On December 1, 1783, Franklin was seated in the special enclosure for
honoured guests when La Charlière took off from the Jardin des
Tuileries , piloted by
Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert .
Franklin's return to Philadelphia, 1785, by Jean Leon Gerome
When he returned home in 1785, Franklin occupied a position only
second to that of
George Washington as the champion of American
independence. Le Ray honored him with a commissioned portrait painted
Joseph Duplessis , which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. After his return,
Franklin became an abolitionist and freed his two slaves. He
eventually became president of the
In 1787, Franklin served as a delegate to the
. He held an honorary position and seldom engaged in debate. He is the
only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major
documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of
Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris
United States Constitution
United States Constitution .
In 1787, a group of prominent ministers in Lancaster,
proposed the foundation of a new college named in Franklin's honor.
Franklin donated £200 towards the development of Franklin College
(now called Franklin "> Franklin autograph check signed during his
Special balloting conducted October 18, 1785, unanimously elected
Franklin the sixth president of the Supreme Executive Council of
Pennsylvania , replacing
John Dickinson . The office was practically
that of governor . Franklin held that office for slightly over three
years, longer than any other, and served the constitutional limit of
three full terms. Shortly after his initial election he was reelected
to a full term on October 29, 1785, and again in the fall of 1786 and
on October 31, 1787. In that capacity he served as host to the
Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.
VIRTUE, RELIGION, AND PERSONAL BELIEFS
A bust of Franklin by
Jean-Antoine Houdon Voltaire
blessing Franklin's grandson, in the name of God and Liberty, by Pedro
Benjamin Franklin by Hiram Powers
Like the other advocates of republicanism , Franklin emphasized that
the new republic could survive only if the people were virtuous. All
his life he explored the role of civic and personal virtue, as
expressed in Poor Richard's aphorisms . Franklin felt that organized
religion was necessary to keep men good to their fellow men, but
rarely attended religious services himself. When Franklin met
Voltaire in Paris and asked his fellow member of the Enlightenment
vanguard to bless his grandson,
Voltaire said in English, "God and
Liberty", and added, "this is the only appropriate benediction for the
grandson of Monsieur Franklin."
Franklin's parents were both pious Puritans . The family attended
Old South Church , the most liberal
Puritan congregation in
Benjamin Franklin was baptized in 1706. Franklin's
father, a poor chandler , owned a copy of a book, Bonifacius: Essays
to Do Good, by the
Puritan preacher and family friend
Cotton Mather ,
which Franklin often cited as a key influence on his life. Franklin's
first pen name,
Silence Dogood, paid homage both to the book and to a
widely known sermon by Mather. The book preached the importance of
forming voluntary associations to benefit society. Franklin learned
about forming do-good associations from Cotton Mather, but his
organizational skills made him the most influential force in making
voluntarism an enduring part of the American ethos.
Franklin formulated a presentation of his beliefs and published it in
1728. It did not mention many of the
Puritan ideas as regards belief
in salvation, the divinity of Jesus , and indeed most religious dogma.
He clarified himself as a deist in his 1771 autobiography, although
he still considered himself a Christian. He retained a strong faith
in a God as the wellspring of morality and goodness in man, and as a
Providential actor in history responsible for American independence.
It was Ben Franklin who, at a critical impasse during the
Constitutional Convention in June 1787, attempted to introduce the
practice of daily common prayer with these words:
... In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were
sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine
Protection. – Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously
answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have
observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our
favor. ... And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we
imagine that we no longer need His assistance. I have lived, Sir, a
long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of
this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a
sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable
that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in
the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain
that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without
his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no
better than the Builders of Babel: ... I therefore beg leave to move
– that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and
its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every
morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the
Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
However, the motion met with resistance and was never brought to a
Franklin was an enthusiastic supporter of the evangelical minister
George Whitefield during the
First Great Awakening
First Great Awakening . Franklin did not
subscribe to Whitefield's theology, but he admired Whitefield for
exhorting people to worship God through good works. Franklin published
all of Whitefield's sermons and journals, thereby earning a lot of
money and boosting the Great Awakening.
When he stopped attending church, Franklin wrote in his
... Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious
principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity;
that He made the world, and governed it by His providence; that the
most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our
souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue
rewarded, either here or hereafter.
Franklin retained a lifelong commitment to the
Puritan virtues and
political values he had grown up with, and through his civic work and
publishing, he succeeded in passing these values into the American
culture permanently. He had a "passion for virtue". These Puritan
values included his devotion to egalitarianism, education, industry,
thrift, honesty, temperance, charity and community spirit.
The classical authors read in the Enlightenment period taught an
abstract ideal of republican government based on hierarchical social
orders of king, aristocracy and commoners. It was widely believed that
English liberties relied on their balance of power, but also
hierarchal deference to the privileged class. "
Puritanism ... and the
epidemic evangelism of the mid-eighteenth century, had created
challenges to the traditional notions of social stratification" by
preaching that the Bible taught all men are equal, that the true value
of a man lies in his moral behavior, not his class, and that all men
can be saved. Franklin, steeped in
Puritanism and an enthusiastic
supporter of the evangelical movement, rejected the salvation dogma,
but embraced the radical notion of egalitarian democracy.
Franklin's commitment to teach these values was itself something he
gained from his
Puritan upbringing, with its stress on "inculcating
virtue and character in themselves and their communities." These
Puritan values and the desire to pass them on, were one of Franklin's
quintessentially American characteristics, and helped shape the
character of the nation. Franklin's writings on virtue were derided by
some European authors, such as Jackob Fugger in his critical work
Portrait of American Culture.
Max Weber considered Franklin's ethical
writings a culmination of the Protestant ethic , which ethic created
the social conditions necessary for the birth of capitalism .
One of Franklin's notable characteristics was his respect, tolerance
and promotion of all churches. Referring to his experience in
Philadelphia, he wrote in his autobiography , "new Places of worship
were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary
Contribution, my Mite for such purpose, whatever might be the Sect,
was never refused." "He helped create a new type of nation that would
draw strength from its religious pluralism." The evangelical
revivalists who were active mid-century, such as Franklin's friend and
preacher, George Whitefield, were the greatest advocates of religious
freedom, "claiming liberty of conscience to be an 'inalienable right
of every rational creature.'" Whitefield's supporters in
Philadelphia, including Franklin, erected "a large, new hall, that ...
could provide a pulpit to anyone of any belief." Franklin's rejection
of dogma and doctrine and his stress on the God of ethics and morality
and civic virtue made him the "prophet of tolerance." Franklin
composed "A Parable Against Persecution", an apocryphal 51st chapter
of Genesis in which God teaches Abraham the duty of tolerance. While
he was living in London in 1774, he was present at the birth of
Unitarianism , attending the inaugural session of the Essex
Street Chapel , at which
Theophilus Lindsey drew together the first
avowedly Unitarian congregation in England; this was somewhat
politically risky, and pushed religious tolerance to new boundaries,
as a denial of the doctrine of the
Trinity was illegal until the 1813
Although Franklin's parents had intended for him to have a career in
the Church, Franklin as a young man adopted the Enlightenment
religious belief in deism , that God's truths can be found entirely
through nature and reason. "I soon became a thorough Deist." As a
young man he rejected Christian dogma in a 1725 pamphlet A
Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain , which he
later saw as an embarrassment, while simultaneously asserting that
God is "all wise, all good , all powerful ." He defended his
rejection of religious dogma with these words: "I think opinions
should be judged by their influences and effects; and if a man holds
none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be
concluded that he holds none that are dangerous, which I hope is the
case with me." After the disillusioning experience of seeing the decay
in his own moral standards, and those of two friends in London whom he
had converted to Deism, Franklin turned back to a belief in the
importance of organized religion, on the pragmatic grounds that
without God and organized churches, man will not be good. Moreover,
because of his proposal that prayers be said in the Constitutional
Convention of 1787 , many have contended that in his later life
Franklin became a pious Christian. Dr
Richard Price , the
radical minister of
Newington Green Unitarian Church , holding a
letter from Franklin
According to David Morgan, Franklin was a proponent of religion in
general. He prayed to "Powerful Goodness" and referred to God as "the
John Adams noted that Franklin was a mirror in which people
saw their own religion: "The Catholics thought him almost a Catholic.
Church of England
Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians
thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet
Quaker." Whatever else Franklin was, concludes Morgan, "he was a true
champion of generic religion." In a letter to Richard Price, Franklin
stated that he believed that religion should support itself without
help from the government, claiming, "When a Religion is good, I
conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support
itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors
are oblig'd to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I
apprehend, of its being a bad one."
In 1790, just about a month before he died, Franklin wrote a letter
Ezra Stiles , president of
Yale University , who had asked him his
views on religion:
Jesus of Nazareth , my Opinion of whom you particularly desire,
I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us,
the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it
has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the
present Dissenters in England , some Doubts as to his divinity; tho'
it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and
I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an
Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble. I see no harm,
however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good
consequence, as it probably has, of making his doctrines more
respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that
the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his
government of the world with any particular marks of his displeasure.
On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed a three-member committee composed
of Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and
John Adams to design the Great Seal
of the United States . Franklin's proposal (which was not adopted)
featured the motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" and a
scene from the
Book of Exodus
Book of Exodus , with
Moses , the
Israelites , the
pillar of fire , and George III depicted as pharaoh . The design that
was produced was never acted upon by Congress, and the Great Seal's
design was not finalized until a third committee was appointed in
Franklin bust in the
Archives Department of Columbia University
in New York City
Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues,
which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in
some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his 13
* "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 its 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 employ'd 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
Tranquility . Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common
Chastity . Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never
to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or
Humility . Imitate Jesus and
Franklin did not try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would
work on one and only one each week "leaving all others to their
ordinary chance." While Franklin did not live completely by his
virtues, and by his own admission he fell short of them many times, he
believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his
success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted
more pages to this plan than to any other single point; in his
autobiography Franklin wrote, "I hope, therefore, that some of my
descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit."
When Franklin was young, African slavery was common and virtually
unchallenged throughout the British colonies. During his lifetime
slaves were numerous in Philadelphia. In 1750, half the persons in
Philadelphia who had established probate estates owned slaves. Dock
workers in the city consisted of 15% slaves. Franklin owned as many as
seven slaves, two males of whom worked in his household and his shop.
Franklin posted paid ads for the sale of slaves and for the capture of
runaway slaves and allowed the sale of slaves in his general store.
Franklin profited from both the international and domestic slave
trade, even criticizing slaves who had run off to join the British
Army during the colonial wars of the 1740s and 1750s. Franklin,
however, later became a "cautious abolitionist" and became an
outspoken critic of landed gentry slavery. In 1758, Franklin advocated
the opening of a school for the education of black slaves in
Philadelphia. After returning from England in 1762, Franklin became
more anti-slavery, in his view believing that the institution promoted
black degradation rather than the idea blacks were inherently
inferior. By 1770, Franklin had freed his slaves and attacked the
system of slavery and the international slave trade . Franklin,
however, refused to publicly debate the issue of slavery at the 1787
Constitutional Convention . Franklin tended to take both sides of the
issue of slavery, never fully divesting himself from the institution.
In his later years, as Congress was forced to deal with the issue of
slavery, Franklin wrote several essays that stressed the importance of
the abolition of slavery and of the integration of blacks into
American society. These writings included:
* An Address to the Public (1789)
* A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789)
* Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade (1790)
Quakers from New York and
Pennsylvania presented their
petition for abolition to Congress. Their argument against slavery was
backed by the
Society and its president,
The grave of Benjamin Franklin,
Franklin suffered from obesity throughout his middle-aged and later
years, which resulted in multiple health problems, particularly gout ,
which worsened as he aged. In poor health during the signing of the US
Constitution in 1787, he was rarely seen in public from then until his
Benjamin Franklin died from pleuritic attack at his home in
Philadelphia on April 17, 1790, at age 84. His death is described in
the book The Life of Benjamin Franklin, quoting from the account of
Dr. John Jones:
... when the pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and
his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery,
when an imposthume, which had formed itself in his lungs, suddenly
burst, and discharged a quantity of matter, which he continued to
throw up while he had power; but, as that failed, the organs of
respiration became gradually oppressed; a calm, lethargic state
succeeded; and on the 17th instant (April 1790), about eleven o'clock
at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of
eighty-four years and three months.
Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral. He was interred in
Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. In 1728, aged 22,
Franklin wrote what he hoped would be his own epitaph:
The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its
Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here,
Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as
he believ'd, appear once more, In a new "> Marble memorial statue,
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
A signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution, Franklin is considered one of the Founding Fathers of
the United States . His pervasive influence in the early history of
the nation has led to his being jocularly called "the only President
of the United States who was never President of the United States."
Franklin's likeness is ubiquitous. Since 1928, it has adorned American
$100 bills , which are sometimes referred to in slang as "Benjamins"
or "Franklins." From 1948 to 1963, Franklin's portrait was on the half
dollar . He has appeared on a $50 bill and on several varieties of the
$100 bill from 1914 and 1918. Franklin appears on the $1,000 Series EE
Savings bond . The city of
Philadelphia contains around 5,000
likenesses of Benjamin Franklin, about half of which are located on
the University of
Pennsylvania campus. Philadelphia's Benjamin
Franklin Parkway (a major thoroughfare) and
Benjamin Franklin Bridge
(the first major bridge to connect
Philadelphia with New Jersey) are
named in his honor. In 1976, as part of a bicentennial celebration,
Congress dedicated a 20-foot (6 m) marble statue in Philadelphia's
Franklin Institute as the
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial . Many
of Franklin's personal possessions are also on display at the
Institute, one of the few national memorials located on private
property . Franklin on the Series 2009 hundred dollar bill
In London, his house at 36 Craven Street, which is the only surviving
former residence of Benjamin Franklin, was first marked with a blue
plaque and has since been opened to the public as the Benjamin
Franklin House . In 1998, workmen restoring the building dug up the
remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home. The
Times reported on February 11, 1998:
Initial estimates are that the bones are about 200 years old and were
buried at the time Franklin was living in the house, which was his
home from 1757 to 1762 and from 1764 to 1775. Most of the bones show
signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut. One skull has been
drilled with several holes. Paul Knapman, the Westminster Coroner,
said yesterday: "I cannot totally discount the possibility of a crime.
There is still a possibility that I may have to hold an inquest."
The Friends of
Benjamin Franklin House (the organization responsible
for the restoration) note that the bones were likely placed there by
William Hewson , who lived in the house for two years and who had
built a small anatomy school at the back of the house. They note that
while Franklin likely knew what Hewson was doing, he probably did not
participate in any dissections because he was much more of a physicist
than a medical man.
Franklin bequeathed £1,000 (about $4,400 at the time, or about
$112,000 in 2011 dollars ) each to the cities of
Philadelphia, in trust to gather interest for 200 years. The trust
began in 1785 when the French mathematician Charles-Joseph Mathon de
la Cour , who admired Franklin greatly, wrote a friendly parody of
Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanack" called "Fortunate Richard". The
main character leaves a smallish amount of money in his will, five
lots of 100 livres , to collect interest over one, two, three, four or
five full centuries, with the resulting astronomical sums to be spent
on impossibly elaborate utopian projects. Franklin, who was 79 years
old at the time, wrote thanking him for a great idea and telling him
that he had decided to leave a bequest of 1,000 pounds each to his
Boston and his adopted Philadelphia. By 1990, more than
$2,000,000 had accumulated in Franklin's
Philadelphia trust, which had
loaned the money to local residents. From 1940 to 1990, the money was
used mostly for mortgage loans. When the trust came due, Philadelphia
decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students.
Boston trust fund accumulated almost $5,000,000 during that
same time; at the end of its first 100 years a portion was allocated
to help establish a trade school that became the
Franklin Institute of
Boston , and the whole fund was later dedicated to supporting this
FRANKLIN ON U.S. POSTAGE
Issue of 1861 Issue of 1895
Benjamin Franklin is a prominent figure in American history
comparable to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and as such he has
been honored on U.S. postage stamps many times. The image of Franklin,
the first Postmaster General of the United States, occurs on the face
of U.S. postage more than any other notable American save that of
George Washington .
Franklin appeared on the first U.S. postage stamp (displayed above)
issued in 1847. From 1908 through 1923 the U.S. Post Office issued a
series of postage stamps commonly referred to as the
Washington-Franklin Issues where, along with George Washington,
Franklin was depicted many times over a 14-year period, the longest
run of any one series in U.S. postal history. Along with the regular
issue stamps Franklin however only appears on a few commemorative
stamps . Some of the finest portrayals of Franklin on record can be
found on the engravings inscribed on the face of U.S. postage.
Issue of 1918
Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress " is a letter written by
Benjamin Franklin, dated June 25, 1745, in which Franklin gives advice
to a young man about channeling sexual urges. Due to its licentious
nature, the letter was not published in collections of Franklin's
papers during the nineteenth century. Federal court decisions from the
mid-to-late twentieth century cited the document as a reason for
overturning obscenity laws, using it to make a case against
Benjamin Franklin (seated) in the
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center ,
"The Princess and the Patriot: Ekaterina Dashkova , Benjamin Franklin
and the Age of Enlightenment" exhibition opened in
February 2006 and ran through December 2006.
Benjamin Franklin and
Dashkova met only once, in Paris in 1781. Franklin was 75 and Dashkova
was 37. Franklin invited Dashkova to become the first woman to join
the American Philosophical Society; she was the only woman so honored
for another 80 years. Later, Dashkova reciprocated by making him the
first American member of the
Russian Academy of Sciences .
PLACES AND THINGS NAMED AFTER BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
List of places named for Benjamin Franklin
As a founding father of the United States, Franklin's name has been
attached to many things. Among these are:
State of Franklin , a short-lived independent state formed
during the American Revolutionary War
* Counties in at least 16 U.S. states
* Several major landmarks in and around
Philadelphia , Pennsylvania,
Franklin's longtime home, including:
Franklin and Marshall College
Franklin and Marshall College in nearby Lancaster
Franklin Field , a football field once home to the Philadelphia
Eagles of the
National Football League
National Football League and the home field of the
Quakers since 1895
* The Franklin Mercantile
Chess Club in Philadelphia, the second
oldest chess club in the U.S. (Franklin was a keen chess enthusiast
and the first writer on chess in America)
Benjamin Franklin Bridge
Benjamin Franklin Bridge across the
Delaware River between
Philadelphia and Camden,
Franklin Institute , a science museum in Philadelphia, which
Benjamin Franklin Medal
* The Sons of Ben soccer supporters club for the
Ben Franklin Stores chain of variety stores, with a key-and-spark
Franklin Templeton Investments an investment firm whose New York
Stock Exchange ticker abbreviation, BEN, is also in honor of Franklin
Ben Franklin effect from the field of psychology
Benjamin Franklin Shibe , baseball executive and namesake of the
Philadelphia baseball stadium
Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce , the fictional character from
M*A*S*H novels, film, and television program
Benjamin Franklin Gates,
Nicolas Cage 's character from the
National Treasure films.
US Navy ships have been named the
USS Franklin or the USS
Bonhomme Richard , the latter being a French translation of his
penname "Poor Richard". Two aircraft carriers,
USS Franklin (CV-13)
USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)
USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) were simultaneously in commission
and in operation during World
War II, and Franklin therefore had the
distinction of having two simultaneously operational
US Navy warships
named in his honor. The
French ship Franklin (1797) was also named in
Franklinia alatamaha , commonly called the Franklin tree. It was
named after him by his friends and fellow Philadelphians, botanists
William Bartram .
CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin , a Chinese-built French owned
Explorer-class container ship
* Biography portal
Benjamin Franklin in popular culture
* U.S. Constitution , floor leader in Convention
Thomas Birch 's newly discovered Franklin letters
William Goddard (patriot/publisher) , apprentice/partner of
* Franklin\'s electrostatic machine
Louis Timothee , apprentice/partner of Franklin
Elizabeth Timothy , apprentice/partner of Franklin
James Parker (publisher) , apprentice/partner of Franklin
Benjamin Franklin on postage stamps
* Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of
Countries, etc. , by Franklin
List of richest Americans in history
List of wealthiest historical figures
List of slave owners
List of abolitionist forerunners
List of opponents of slavery
* ^ A B Engber, Daniel (2006). "What\'s Benjamin Franklin\'s
Birthday?". Retrieved June 17, 2009. according to documents from
Boston's city registrar, he actually came into the world on the
old-style Jan. 6, 1705. So, this year's tricentennial is right on
* ^ "Inventor". The Franklin Institute. Archived from the original
on March 5, 2007. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
* ^ Isaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
New York: Simon & Schuster.
* ^ H.W. Brands, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin
* ^ Isaacson 2003, p. 491
* ^ Walter Isaacson,
Benjamin Franklin (2003), p. 492
* ^ H.W. Brands. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin
Franklin. (2010). p. 390.
* ^ Isaacson 2003, p. 14
* ^ A B Salzman, Rob. "Thomas Franckline / Jane White".
e-familytree.net. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
* ^ Salzman, Rob. "
Benjamin Franklin / Deborah Read".
e-familytree.net. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
* ^ Contemporary records, which used the Julian calendar and the
Annunciation Style of enumerating years, recorded his birth as January
6, 1705. The provisions of the British
Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 ,
implemented in 1752, altered the official British dating method to the
Gregorian calendar with the start of the year on January 1 (it had
been March 25). These changes resulted in dates being moved forward 11
days, and for those between January 1 and March 25, an advance of one
year. For a further explanation, see:
Old Style and New Style dates
Old Style and New Style dates .
* ^ A B —— (1901) . "Introduction". Autobiography of Benjamin
Franklin. Macmillan's pocket English and American classics. New York:
Macmillan. p. vi. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
* ^ Isaacson, (2003) p. 32
* ^ A B C D E F G H Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin. (1938).
* ^ On the importance of the Junto see Michael D. Mumford, "Social
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* ^ David Waldstreicher, ed., A Companion to Benjamin Franklin
(2011) p 30
* ^ J. A. Leo Lemay, The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 2:
Printer and Publisher, 1730–1747 (2005) pp 92–94, 123
* ^ Murray, Stuart A.P. (2009). The library : an illustrated
history. New York: Skyhorse Pub. ISBN 978-1602397064 .
* ^ Margaret Barton Korty, "
Benjamin Franklin and
eighteenth-century American libraries." Transactions of the American
Society (1965): 1–83. in JSTOR
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* ^ John B. Frantz, "Franklin and the
Pennsylvania History (1998): 21–34. online
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of American Ethnic History (2000) 20#1 pp: 3–17.
* ^ Frasca, Ralph (1997). "Benjamin Franklin's Journalism". Fides
et Historia . 29 (1): 60–72.
* ^ Ralph Frasca, Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network:
Virtue in Early America (2006) ISBN 978-0826216144
* ^ Baker, Ira L. (1977). "Elizabeth Timothy: America's First Woman
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* ^ Ralph Frasca, "'The Partnership at Carolina Having succeeded,
was Encourag'd to Engage in Others': The Genesis of Benjamin
Franklin's Printing Network", Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary
Journal of the South (2006), Vol. 13 Issue 1/2, pp 1–23.
* ^ Smith, Jeffery A. (1993). "Impartiality and Revolutionary
Ideology: Editorial Policies of the 'South-Carolina Gazette,'
1732–1735". Journal of Southern History. 49 (4): 511–26.
* ^ Frasca, Ralph (2003). "'I am now about to establish a small
Printing Office ... at Newhaven":
Benjamin Franklin and the First
Newspaper in Connecticut".
Connecticut History. 44 (1): 77–87.
* ^ The History Channel , Mysteries of the Freemasons: America,
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Freemasonry Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon
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Company of Philadelphia", The Magazine Antiques, v. 170. no. 2:
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Press. doi :10.1093/ref:odnb/52466 . (Subscription or UK public
library membership required.)
* ^ November 1769 Letter from
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JSTOR 2922719 . doi :10.2307/2922719 . Revised
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interest in electricity originated when he saw a traveling scientific
lecturer, Archibald Spencer, perform an "electricity show" in Boston,
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* ^ Va Doren 1938 , p. 168.
* ^ Tomase, Jennifer (June 1, 2006). "\'A How-To Guide\' explores
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Concerning the Origins of American Civilization. Cornell U.P. p. 81.
* ^ J. A.
Leo Lemay (2008). The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume
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Press. p. 245.
* ^ Isaacson 2003, p. 150
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Journal of Economic History. 9 (1): 25–44.
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* ^ George William Van Cleve (2010). A Slaveholders\' Union:
Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American
Republic. U. of Chicago Press. p. 148.
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Benjamin Franklin and
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vol. 207, no. 4431, pp. 643–45.
* ^ "How Franklin\'s chart resurfaced", The
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NOAA Ocean Explorer.
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* ^ http://www.dartmouth.edu/~volcano/Fr373p77.html
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Benjamin Franklin (5
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* ^ Pocock, George (1851). A TREATISE on The Aeropleustic Art, or
Navigation in the Air, by means of Kites, or Buoyant Sails. London:
Longmans, Brown, and Co. p. 9.
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* ^ Faraday, Michael (1839). Experimental researches in
electricity. 2. R. & J.E. Taylor. p. v. ... Franklin's experiments on
the non-conduction of ice ...
* ^ Jones, Thomas P. (1836). Journal of the
Franklin Institute of
the State of Pennsylvania. Pergamon Press. pp. 182–83. In the fourth
series of his electrical researches, Mr. Faraday ...
* ^ Price, Richard ; Thomas, David Oswald ; Peach, Bernard (1994).
The Correspondence of Richard Price: February 1786 – February 1791.
Duke University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0822313278 . Retrieved October 2,
* ^ A B Franklin, Benjamin (1975) . "To Joseph Priestley". In
Willcox, William Bradford. The papers of Benjamin Franklin: January 1
through December 31, 1772. 19. New Haven:
Yale University Press . pp.
299–300. ISBN 0300018657 .
OCLC 310601 .
* ^ *W. Gratzer, Eurekas and Euphorias, pgs 80,81
* ^ Bloch, Thomas. The Glassharmonica. GFI Scientific.
* ^ A B C John McCrary,
Chess and Benjamin Franklin-His Pioneering
PDF ). Retrieved on April 26, 2009.
* ^ David Hooper and
Kenneth Whyld , The Oxford Companion to Chess,
Oxford University Press (2nd ed. 1992), p. 145. ISBN 0198661649 .
* ^ The essay appears in
Marcello Truzzi (ed.),
Literature, Avon Books, 1974, pp. 14–15. ISBN 0380001640 .
* ^ The essay appears in a book by the felicitously named Norman
CHESS magazine ,
Sutton Coldfield , England (2nd
ed. 1968), pp. 5–6. ISBN 0380001640 .
* ^ Franklin's essay is also reproduced at the U.S.
Museum and Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 3,
William Temple Franklin , Memoirs of the Life and Writings of
Benjamin Franklin, reprinted in Knight,
Chess Pieces, pp. 136–37.
* ^ The History of
Chess in Fifty Moves, by Bill Price, Firefly
Books (U.S.) Inc., Buffalo, New York, 2015, ISBN 978-1770855298 , pp.
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith . (1975). Money: Where It Came, Whence
It Went, pp. 54–54. Houghton Mifflin Company.
* ^ Montgomery, Thomas Harrison (1900). A History of the University
Pennsylvania from Its Foundation to A. D. 1770. Philadelphia:
George W. Jacobs & Co. LCCN 00003240 .
* ^ James N. Green, "English Books and Printing in the Age of
Franklin", in The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World (2002), 257.
* ^ Olsen, Neil C., Pursuing Happiness: The Organizational Culture
of the Continental Congress, Nonagram Publications, ISBN
978-1480065505 , 2013, p. 174
* ^ Smith, Horace Wemyss, The Life and Correspondence of the Rev.
Wm. Smith, D.D., Philadelphia, 1880, Volume 1: pp. 566–67.
* ^ Samuel Johnson, Elementa philosophica: containing chiefly,
Noetica, or things relating to the mind or understanding: and Ethica,
or things relating to the moral behaviour. Philadelphia, Printed by B.
Franklin and D. Hall, at the new-printing-office, near the market,
* ^ Olsen, pp. 163–274
* ^ Olsen, p. 163
* ^ Olsen, p. 308
* ^ Honorary Degrees
Harvard University. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
* ^ Honorary Degrees Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
Yale University. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
Benjamin Franklin resume. In Search of a Better World. Benjamin
Franklin Exhibit. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
* ^ A B J. A. Leo Lematy, "Franklin, Benjamin". American National
Biography Online, February 2000.
* ^ Peter Charles Hoffer,
Benjamin Franklin Explains the Stamp Act
Protests to Parliament, 1766 (2015)
* ^ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Benjamin-Franklin
* ^ Benjamin Franklin\'s Phonetic Alphabet. Omniglot.com.
* ^ A B Sparks, Jared. Life of Benjamin Franklin. US History.org.
* ^ Buchan, James. Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment:
Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2003. p. 2
* ^ Gaustad, Edwin S (2006). Benjamin Franklin. Oxford University
Press. p. 40. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
* ^ "The Kate Kennedy Club". The Kate Kennedy Club. Archived from
the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ Google Books – Autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin By Benjamin
Franklin, Nathan Haskell Dole, 2003. Books.google.ie. March 31, 2003.
ISBN 978-0766143753 . Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ Benjamin Franklin. PBS.org.
* ^ Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon &
* ^ James A. Henretta, ed. (2011). Documents for America\'s
History, Volume 1: To 1877. Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 110. CS1 maint:
Extra text: authors list (link )
* ^ Isaacson (2004). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. pp.
* ^ Franklin, Benjamin. "reprinted on The History Carper". Archived
from the original on January 3, 2006.
* ^ Bailyn, Bernard (1974). The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson.
Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674641600 . OCLC
6825524 . , p. 240
* ^ Penegar, Kenneth (2011). The Political Trial of Benjamin
Franklin. New York: Algora Publishing. ISBN 978-0875868493 . OCLC
696296728 . , p. 29
* ^ Sheila L. Skemp, The Making of a Patriot:
Benjamin Franklin at
the Cockpit (
Oxford University Press; 2012)
* ^ Franklin, Benjamin. "A Narrative of the Late Massacres ..."
Archived April 27, 2006, at the
Wayback Machine . reprinted on The
* ^ Crews, Ed (Summer 2004). "Spies and Scouts, Secret Writing, and
Colonial Williamsburg Journal. The Colonial
Williamsburg Foundation. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
* ^ Key to Declaration American Revolution.org.
* ^ Isaacson, pp. 311–12
* ^ Sparks, Jared (1856). The Life of Benjamin Franklin: Containing
the Autobiography, with Notes and a Continuation. Boston: Whittemore,
Niles and Hall. p. 408. Retrieved December 16, 2007.
* ^ "1753 Benjamin Franklin", Stéphanie Ouellet, in A Chronology
of Canadian Postal History, National Museum of History, Ottawa.
* ^ "1760–1840 Planting the Imperial Postal System in British
North America", A Chronology of Canadian Postal History, National
Museum of History, Ottawa.
* ^ Walter Isaacson. Benjamin Franklin: an American life, pp.
* ^ "History of the United States Postal Systems".
Inventors.about.com. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
* ^ Portraits of Franklin at this time often contained an
inscription, the best known being Turgot\'s acclamation, "Eripuit
fulmen coelo sceptrumque tyrannis." (He snatched the lightning from
the skies and the scepter from the tyrants.) Historian Friedrich
Christoph Schlosser remarked at the time, with ample hyperbole, that
"Such was the number of portraits, busts and medallions of him in
circulation before he left Paris, that he would have been recognized
from them by any adult citizen in any part of the civilized world."
– Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Franklin, Benjamin". Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.).
Cambridge University Press.
Benjamin Franklin papers, Kislak Center for Special
Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
* ^ "The Book in the Painting: De la Caisse d\'Escompte."
isthisjefferson.org Accessed February 1, 2013.
* ^ Considerations sur l\'ordre de Cincinnatus, December 2011.
* ^ Van Doren, Carl.
Benjamin Franklin (The Viking Press: New
York). 1938. pp. 709–10.
* ^ Schwartz, Stephan A. "Franklin\'s Forgotten Triumph: Scientific
Testing" American Heritage , October 2004.
* ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter F" (PDF). American
Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
* ^ "
Edict of Versailles (1787)", Encyclopedia of the Age of
Political Ideals, downloaded January 29, 2012
* ^ A B Piers Letcher –
Jacques Charles (May 25, 2003). Eccentric
France: Bradt Guide to mad, magical and marvellous France.
Books.google.co.uk. ISBN 978-1841620688 . Retrieved March 17, 2010.
* ^ "
Science and Society, Medal commemorating Charles and Robert\'s
balloon ascent, Paris, 1783". Scienceandsociety.co.uk. Retrieved March
* ^ "Fiddlers Green, History of Ballooning, Jacques Charles".
Fiddlersgreen.net. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
* ^ "Federation Aeronautique Internationale, Ballooning Commission,
Hall of Fame, Robert Brothers". Fai.org. Archived from the original on
May 16, 2008. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
* ^ Citizen Ben, Abolitionist, PBS
* ^ Coffman, Steve, ed. (2012). Words of the Founding Fathers:
Selected Quotations of Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison
and Hamilton, with Sources. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 97. ISBN
* ^ Brands, The First American, pp 654–55, 694
* ^ Franklin, Autobiography, ed. Lemay, p. 65
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 354
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, pp. 5–18
* ^ Old South Church. "Isaacson, 2003, p. 15". Oldsouth.org.
Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved September 21,
* ^ "If I have been", Franklin wrote to Cotton Mather's son seventy
years later, "a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to
that book." in Isaacson, 2003, p. 26
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 102
* ^ Franklin, Benjamin (November 20, 1728). "Articles of Belief and
Acts of Religion".
Benjamin Franklin Papers. franklinpapers.org.
Retrieved December 24, 2010.
* ^ Franklin, Benjamin (1771). Autobiography and other writings.
Cambridge: Riverside. p. 52.
* ^ Olson, Roger (October 19, 2009). The Mosaic of Christian
Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity and Diversity. InterVarsity Press.
Other Deists and natural religionists who considered themselves
Christians in some sense of the word included
Thomas Jefferson and
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 486
* ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller. "Online Speech Bank: Benjamin
Franklin\'s Prayer Speech at the Constitutional Convention of 1787".
Americanrhetoric.com. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ Rossiter, Clinton . 1787. The Grand Convention (1966), pp.
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, pp. 107–13
* ^ A B Franklin Benjamin "Benjamin Franklin\'s Autobiography".
Archived September 5, 2008, at the
Wayback Machine . Section 2
reprinted on UShistory.org.
* ^ "Benjamin Franklin". History.hanover.edu. Retrieved September
* ^ Isaacson, p. 485
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p.149
* ^ Bailyn, 1992, pp. 273–74, 299–300
* ^ A B Bailyn, 1992, p. 303
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, pp. 10, 102, 489
* ^ Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit of Capitalism",
(Penguin Books, 2002), translated by Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells,
* ^ A B Isaacson,2003 pp. 93ff
* ^ Bailyn, 1992, p. 249
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 112
* ^ "The Political Thought of Benjamin Franklin".
* ^ "Chapter 2, The History of Essex Hall by Mortimer Rowe B.A.,
D.D. Lindsey Press, 1959". Unitarian.org.uk. Archived from the
original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 46
* ^ Franklin, Benjamin. Benjamin Franklin\'s Autobiography. Chapter
IV. reprinted on USGenNet.org.
* ^ "A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain".
Historycarper.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009.
Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ A B Isaacson, Walter (November 30, 2004). Isaacson, 2003, p.
45. Google Books. ISBN 978-0684807614 . Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ Isaacson, 2003, pp. 46, 486
* ^ Henry Louis Mencken, George Jean Nathan (October 19, 2009). The
American Mercury, Volume 8. Garber Communications. It is well known
that in his youth
Benjamin Franklin was a thorough-going Deist, but
because he proposed that prayers be said in the Constitution
Convention of 1787 many have contended that in later life he became a
* ^ Ralph Frasca (October 19, 2009). Benjamin Franklin\'s Printing
Virtue in Early America. University of Missouri
Press . Despite being raised a
Puritan of the Congregationalist stripe
by his parents, who "brought me through my Childhood piously in the
Dissenting Way", Franklin recalled, he abandoned that denomination,
briefly embraced deism, and finally became a non-denominational
* ^ Morgan, David T. "Benjamin Franklin: Champion of Generic
Religion". The Historian. 62#4 2000. pp. 722+
Benjamin Franklin to Richard Price, October 9, 1780 Writings
* ^ "The Great Seal of the United States" (July 2003). Bureau of
Public Affairs ,
United States Department of State
United States Department of State .
* ^ "1782: Original Design of the Great Seal of the United States",
Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives.
Oxford University Press , 2006), pp. 18–19.
* ^ Autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin page 38 forward by Benjamin
* ^ Bordewich, Fergus M. (2016). The First Congress. Simon &
Shuster. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-4516-9193-1 .
* ^ Marilyn Wise (2013). Seasoned to the Country:
Slavery in the
life of Benjamin Franklin. Xlibris Corporation. p. 198.
* ^ Hoffer (2011), pp. 30–31
* ^ Waldstreicher (2004), p. xii, xiii
* ^ Myra Jehlen, Michael Warner, editors, The English Literatures
of America, 1500–1800,
Psychology Press, p. 891 1997, ISBN
* ^ Isaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: an American life.
New York: Simon & Schuster.
* ^ Sparks, pp. 529–30.
* ^ Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words. Library of Congress.
* ^ The Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Franklin. Archived
August 21, 2009, at the
Wayback Machine . The Franklin Institute
* ^ Firesign Theater quote, meant humorously but poignantly.
* ^ "
Benjamin Franklin House".
Benjamin Franklin House. Retrieved
September 21, 2009.
* ^ The Craven Street Gazette (
PDF ), Newsletter of the Friends of
Benjamin Franklin House, Issue 2, Autumn 1998
* ^ Measuring Worth Select $4,400 and 1790 and 2011 in online
* ^ Richard Price. Observations on the Importance of the American
Revolution, and the Means of Making it a Benefit to the World. To
which is added, a Letter from M. Turgot, late Comptroller-General of
the Finances of France: with an Appendix, containing a Translation of
the Will of M. Fortuné Ricard, lately published in France. London: T.
* ^ "Excerpt from
Philadelphia Inquirer article by Clark De Leon".
Mathsci.appstate.edu. February 7, 1993. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
* ^ "History of the Benjamin
Franklin Institute of Technology".
Bfit.edu. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved
September 21, 2009.
* ^ A B Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps
* ^ Carl Japikse, ed. (2003). Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin
Franklin You Never Read in School. Frog Books. p. 8. CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link )
* ^ Wright, Rebecca; Rivers, Matt (January 31, 2016). "This is the
biggest container ship ever to dock in the U.S.".
* Becker, Carl Lotus . "Benjamin Franklin", Dictionary of American
Biography (1931) – vol 3, with links online
* Brands, H. W. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin
Franklin (2000) ISBN 978-0385495400 – scholarly biography
* Gaustad, Edwin S.
Benjamin Franklin (2006). doi
* Isaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New
York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0743260848 . , popular biography
* Ketcham, Ralph.
Benjamin Franklin (1966) 228 pp online edition,
short biography by scholar
* Lemay, J. A. Leo . The Life of Benjamin Franklin, scholarly
biography, 3 volumes appeared before the author's death in 2008
* Volume 1: Journalist, 1706–1730 (2005) 568 pp ISBN
* Volume 2: Printer and Publisher, 1730–1747 (2005) 664 pp ISBN
* Volume 3: Soldier, Scientist, and Politician, 1748–1757 (2008),
768 pp ISBN 978-0812241211
* Morgan, Edmund S .
Benjamin Franklin (2003) ISBN 978-0300101621 ,
interpretation by leading scholar
* Schiff, Stacy , A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the
Birth of America, (2005) Henry Holt
Booknotes interview with
James Srodes on Franklin: The Essential
Founding Father, May 19, 2002,
James Srodes , Franklin, The Essential Founding Father, (2002,
softcover 2003, Regnery History) ISBN 978-0895261632 ISBN
* Van Doren, Carl (1938). Benjamin Franklin. Viking. ISBN
978-1931541855 . ,
Pulitzer Prize winning biography
* Wood, Gordon . The Americanization of
Benjamin Franklin (2005)
ISBN 978-0143035282 , intellectual history by leading historian.
* Wright, Esmond . Franklin of
Philadelphia (1986) ISBN
978-0674318106 – scholarly study
FOR YOUNG READERS
* Asimov, Isaac . The Kite That Won the Revolution, a biography for
children that focuses on Franklin's scientific and diplomatic
* Fleming, Candace. Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of
the Good Gentleman's Life. Atheneum/Anne Schwart, 2003, 128 pp. ISBN
* Anderson, Douglas. The Radical Enlightenments of Benjamin Franklin
(1997) – fresh look at the intellectual roots of Franklin
* Buxbaum, M.H., ed. Critical Essays on
Benjamin Franklin (1987)
* Chaplin, Joyce. The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin
and the Pursuit of Genius. (2007)
* Cohen, I. Bernard. Benjamin Franklin's
Science (1990) – Cohen,
the leading specialist, has several books on Franklin's science
* Conner, Paul W. Poor Richard's Politicks (1965) – analyzes
Franklin's ideas in terms of the Enlightenment and republicanism
* Dull, Jonathan.
Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution
* Dull, Jonathan. A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution
* Dray, Philip . Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's
Lightning Rod and the Invention of America. (2005). 279 pp.
* Ford, Paul Leicester. The Many-Sided Franklin (1899) online edition
– collection of scholarly essays
* "Franklin as Printer and Publisher" in The Century (April 1899) v.
57 pp. 803–18.
* "Franklin as Scientist" in The Century (September 1899) v.57 pp.
750–63. By Paul Leicester Ford.
* "Franklin as Politician and Diplomatist" in The Century (October
1899) v. 57 pp. 881–99. By Paul Leicester Ford.
* Gleason, Philip. "Trouble in the Colonial Melting Pot." Journal
of American Ethnic History 2000 20(1): 3–17.
* Houston, Alan.
Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement
* Lemay, J. A. Leo, ed. Reappraising Benjamin Franklin: A
Bicentennial Perspective (1993) – scholarly essays
* Mathews, L. K. "Benjamin Franklin's Plans for a Colonial Union,
1750–1775." American Political
Science Review 8 (August 1914):
* Olson, Lester C. Benjamin Franklin's Vision of American Community:
A Study in Rhetorical Iconology. (2004). 323 pp.
* McCoy, Drew R. (1978). "Benjamin Franklin's Vision of a Republican
Political Economy for America". William and Mary Quarterly. 35 (4):
JSTOR 1923207 .
* Newman, Simon P. "
Benjamin Franklin and the Leather-Apron Men: The
Politics of Class in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia", Journal of
American Studies, August 2009, Vol. 43#2 pp. 161–75; Franklin took
pride in his working class origins and his printer's skills.
* Schiffer, Michael Brian. Draw the
Lightning Down: Benjamin
Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment.
(2003). 383 pp.
* Stuart Sherman "Franklin" 1918 article on Franklin's writings.
* Skemp, Sheila L. Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son,
Patriot and Loyalist (1994) – Ben's son was a leading Loyalist
* Sletcher, Michael. 'Domesticity: The Human Side of Benjamin
Franklin', Magazine of History, XXI (2006).
* Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery,
and the American Revolution. Hill and Wang, 2004. 315 pp.
* Walters, Kerry S.
Benjamin Franklin and His Gods. (1999). 213 pp.
Takes position midway between D H Lawrence's brutal 1930 denunciation
of Franklin's religion as nothing more than a bourgeois commercialism
tricked out in shallow utilitarian moralisms and
Owen Aldridge 's
sympathetic 1967 treatment of the dynamism and protean character of
Franklin's "polytheistic" religion.
* York, Neil. "When Words Fail: William Pitt,
Benjamin Franklin and
the Imperial Crisis of 1766", Parliamentary History, October 2009,
Vol. 28#3 pp. 341–74
* Waldstreicher, David, ed. A Companion to
Benjamin Franklin (2011),
25 essays by scholars emphasizing how historians have handled
Franklin. online edition
Silence Dogood, The Busy-Body, & Early Writings (J.A. Leo Lemay,
Library of America
Library of America , 1987 one-volume, 2005 two-volume) ISBN
* Autobiography, Poor Richard, 390 pp. text, contemporary documents
and 20th century analysis
* Houston, Alan, ed. Franklin: The Autobiography and other Writings
on Politics, Economics, and Virtue.
Cambridge University Press , 2004.
* Ketcham, Ralph, ed. The Political Thought of Benjamin Franklin.
(1965, reprinted 2003). 459 pp.
* Leonard Labaree, and others., eds., The Papers of Benjamin
Franklin, 39 vols. to date (1959–2008), definitive edition, through
1783. This massive collection of BF's writings, and letters to him, is
available in large academic libraries. It is most useful for detailed
research on specific topics. The complete text of all the documents
are online and searchable; The Index is also online at the Wayback
Machine (archived September 28, 2010).
The Way to Wealth ." Applewood Books; November 1986. ISBN
* "Poor Richard\'s Almanack ." Peter Pauper Press; November 1983.
* Poor Richard Improved by
Benjamin Franklin (1751)
* "Writings (Franklin)Writings." ISBN 0940450291
* "On Marriage."
* "Satires and Bagatelles."
A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain ."
Fart Proudly : Writings of
Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in
School." Carl Japikse, Ed. Frog Ltd.; Reprint ed. 2003. ISBN
* "Heroes of America Benjamin Franklin."
* "Experiments and Observations on
Electricity ." (1751)
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