Essay on Ben Franklin: Early Life

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Ben Franklin: Early Life

In his many careers as a printer, moralist, essayist, civic leader, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, and philosopher, for later generations of Americans he became both a spokesman and a model for the national character. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on Jan. 17, 1706, into a religious Puritan household. His father, Josiah, was a candlemaker and a skillful mechanic. His mother, Abiah Ben’s parents raised thirteen children--the survivors of Josiah’s seventeen children by two wives (#1).

Printer & Writer

Franklin left school at ten years old when he was pressed into his father's trade. At twelve Ben was apprenticed to his half brother James, a printer of The New England Courant. He
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They aspired to build their own businesses, insure the growth of Philadelphia, and improve the quality of its life. Franklin led the Junto in founding a library (1731), fire company (1736), learned society (1743), college (later the University of Pennsylvania, 1749), and an insurance company and a hospital (1751). The group also carried out plans for paving, cleaning, and lighting the streets and for making them safe by organizing an efficient night watch. They even formed a voluntary militia (#1).

Franklin had steadily extended his own knowledge by study of foreign languages, philosophy, and science. He repeated experiments of other scientists and added his own ideas that led to inventions of the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses, and a glass harmonica. The phenomenon of electricity interested him deeply, in 1748 he turned his printing business over to his foreman, intending to devote his life to science (#5). Experiments he proposed, showed that lightning was in fact a form of electricity. Later that year his famous kite experiment, in which he flew a kite with the wire attached to a key during a thunderstorm, further established that laboratory-produced static electricity was akin to a previously mysterious and terrifying natural phenomenon (#1). He was elected to the Royal Society in 1756 and to the French Academy of Sciences in 1772(#3). His later achievements included formulating a theory of heat
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