Benjamin Franklin: His Life


When one takes a look at the world in which he currently lives, he sees it as being normal since it is so slow in changing. When an historian looks at the present, he sees the effects of many events and many profound people. Benjamin Franklin is one of these people. His participation in so many different fields changed the world immensely. He was a noted politician as well as respected scholar. He was an important inventor and scientist. Particularly interesting is his impact on the scientific world.
Benjamin Franklin was a modest man who had had many jobs in his lifetime. This may help explain his large array of inventions and new methods of working various jobs. He did everything from making cabbage growing more efficient to making political decisions to being the first person to study and chart the Gulf Stream movement in the Atlantic Ocean.
Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706. He was the fifteenth child in a family of seventeen kids. His parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin, were hard working devout Puritan/Calvinist people. Josiah Franklin made candles for a living. Since the Franklins were so poor, little Benjamin couldn\'t afford to go to school for longer than two years. In those two years, however, Franklin learned to read which opened the door to further education for him. Since he was only a fair writer and had very poor mathematical skills, he worked to tutor himself at home. (www.incell.com)

Benjamin Franklin was a determined young man. As a boy, he taught himself to be a very good writer. He also learned basic algebra and geometry, navigation, grammar, logic, and natural and physical science. He partially mastered French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. He was soon to be named the best-educated man in the country. When he was 12-years-old, he was apprentice to his brother in printing. Benjamin\'s brother founded the second newspaper in America. Many people told him that one newspaper was enough for America and that the paper would soon collapse. On the contrary, it became very popular. Occasionally, young Benjamin would write an article to be printed and slip it under the printing room\'s door signed as "Anonymous". The following is a direct quote from Franklin\'s Autobiography. It describes his writing the articles as a boy.


"He (Benjamin\'s older brother) had some ingenious men among his friends, who amused themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, which gained it credit and made it more in demand, and these gentlemen often visited us. Hearing their conversations, and their accounts of the approbation their papers were received with, I was excited to try my hand among them; but, being still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would object to printing anything of mine in his paper if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at night under the door of the printing-house. It was found in the morning, and communicated to his writing friends when they called in as usual. They read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite pleasure of finding it met with their approbation, and that, in their different guesses at the author, none were named but men of some character among us for learning and ingenuity. I suppose now that I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were not really so very good ones as I then esteemed them." (www.earlyamerica.com)

Benjamin liked the printer\'s job but couldn\'t stand being told what to do all of the time. He desperately felt the need to be his own boss. That day would come.
In 1730, Franklin married Deborah Read, who was the daughter of the first Philadelphia landlady. Read was not nearly as well educated as her husband. In old letters that she had written to him, there are many misspellings and improper punctuation marks. They were a very happy couple despite their differences. They eventually had two boys and one girl. One of the boys, William, became governor of New Jersey.

When Franklin was 21-years-old, he began his career as a civic leader by organizing a club of aspiring tradesmen called the Junto, which