Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Printer + Writer + Politician
Born Jan 17, 1706

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, 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.… Read More

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1706 Birth Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, and baptized at Old South Meeting House. … Read More


1722 16 Years Old …  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." … Read More


1726 - 1730 5 More Events
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 of Philadelphia: its charter was composed by Franklin in 1731. … Read More
1732 26 Years Old The first, Francis Folger Franklin, born October 1732, died of smallpox in 1736. … Read More
1733 27 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More


1736 30 Years Old In 1736, Franklin created the Union Fire Company, one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America. … Read More
1737 31 Years Old Well known as a printer and publisher, Franklin was appointed postmaster of 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 Williamsburg, Virginia and oversaw areas south of Annapolis, Maryland. Franklin reorganized the service's accounting system, then improved speed of delivery between Philadelphia, New York and Boston. By 1761, efficiencies lead to the first profits for the colonial post office. … Read More
1743 37 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More
1745 39 Years Old "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. … Read More


1746 - 1751 6 More Events
1752 46 Years Old Franklin solicited, printed in 1752, and promoted an American textbook of moral philosophy from the American Dr. Samuel Johnson titled Elementa Philosophica to be taught in the new colleges to replace courses in denominational divinity.
1753 47 Years Old In June 1753, Johnson, Franklin, and Smith met in Stratford. … Read More
1754 48 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More


1756 50 Years Old In 1756, Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia (see "Associated Regiment of Philadelphia" under heading of Pennsylvania's 103rd Artillery and 111th Infantry Regiment at Continental Army). … Read More
1757 51 Years Old 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. … Read More
1764 58 Years Old 1 More Event
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. … Read More
1765 59 Years Old In London, Franklin opposed the 1765 Stamp Act. … Read More


1766 - 1773 6 More Events
Deborah Read Franklin died of a stroke in 1774, while Franklin was on an extended mission to England; he returned in 1775. … Read More
He returned to Philadelphia in March 1775, and abandoned his accommodationist stance. … Read More
1776 - 1781 4 More Events
Franklin also served as American minister to Sweden, although he never visited that country. He negotiated a treaty that was signed in April 1783.
When he returned home in 1785, Franklin occupied a position only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence. … Read More
In that capacity he served as host to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. … Read More
1790 84 Years Old 1 More Event
Benjamin Franklin died from pleuritic attack at his home in Philadelphia on April 17, 1790, at age 84. … Read More
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