Contributions Of Benjamin Franklin


Michael Benton, Contributor

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contributions of benjamin franklinAlthough he is often remembered as an important and influential Founding Father, the contributions of Benjamin Franklin to America were not only political. Before he became a renowned diplomat, Franklin was a writer, printer, postmaster, scientist and inventor. In his time, Franklin became one of the most recognizable and popular figures in the world; his kite experiment, which proved the electrical nature of lightning, earned him an invitation to meet the King of France. For the young Ben Franklin, accomplishments included ownership of his own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette; the founding of the first subscription library in the world; as well as becoming the Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge in Philadelphia at the age of 28. Franklin's earliest invention was a set of wooden flippers for increased swimming speed which he crafted at the age of 11. Among the literary accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin, works include the world-famous "Poor Richard's Almanack" as well as his autobiography, which is considered one of the first prominent pieces of American literature.

In the public life of Benjamin Franklin, achievements included his appointment by the British Parliament as the Joint Deputy Postmaster-General of North America beginning in 1753. Franklin's improvements to the mail system included raising the frequency of service to weekly delivery as well as adjusting routes to speed each delivery. The highly pragmatic Franklin devised an invention to help him improve the routes: an odometer which he attached to his carriage to measure the distance between towns on different roads. From 1757 to 1775, Franklin spent most of his time in London representing the interests of various colonies including Pennsylvania. With the trust earned by Benjamin Franklin, awards included the right to address the Parliament. Ben Franklin's accomplishments as a diplomat began with his successful appeal to the House of Commons for the repeal of the Stamp Act of 1765. After his visit to Ireland in 1771, Franklin began to recognize the capability of the British rulers to be extremely brutal and he worried about the future of the American colonies. In 1774, a scandal erupted when secret letters from the Governor of Massachusetts asking for British troops to squash the rebellious population were leaked to the Sons of Liberty; Franklin admitted that he was the culprit of the leak after three innocent men were charged with the crime. His service as a Revolutionary had begun.

Returning to Philadelphia after being ridiculed before Parliament, Franklin joined the Second Continental Congress in deliberation on the possibility of full independence for the colonies. In 1775, Franklin was appointed as the first Postmaster General of the United States Post Office. A year later, Franklin would join the Committee of Five in advising Thomas Jefferson during his writing of the Declaration of Independence. In December 1776, Franklin began his service as the head diplomat in the American delegation sent to France. He was successful in securing the support of the French for the Revolution as well as negotiating the terms of peace with the British in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. After returning to Philadelphia in 1785, Franklin became the Governor of Pennsylvania for three terms and an outspoken abolitionist. He passed away in 1790, one year after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.