Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790)

Died aged c. 84

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – 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 The Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organised 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 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 the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France. 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. After 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.

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Commemorated on 11 plaques

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) lived here

36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 American statesman, scientist and journalist lived briefly in a house on this site before leaving for America in 1775.

Orchard Street/Friargate, Preston, United Kingdom where they lived

En ce bâtiment Jadis Hôtel d'York le 3 septembre 1783 David Hartley, au nom du Roi d'Angleterre, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, au nom des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, ont signé le Traité Définitif de Paix reconnaissant l'indépendence des Etats-Unis.

English translation: In this building formerly York Hotel on September 3, 1783 David Hartley, on behalf of the King of England, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, on behalf of the United States of America, signed the Final Treaty of Peace recognizing the independence of the United States. [AWS Translate]

56 rue Jacob, Paris, France where they signed the Definitive Treaty of Peace recognizing the independence of the United States (1783)

Fort Allen Well. Only remaining part of Fort Allen, which was built by the Province of Pennsylvania, 1756, under the supervision of Benjamin Franklin. The well, now restored, is located directly behind houses opposite.

Park opposite 112-116 Franklin St., Weissport, PA, United States where they was

Green Tree Inn. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin stayed at inn on this site while he, Richard Peters, and Isaac Norris treated with Indians. Hamilton and Knox, members of Washington's cabinet, lodged here in 1794.

S. Hanover St. between Pomfret & High Sts., Carlisle, PA, United States where they stayed

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Printer, author, inventor, diplomat, philanthropist, statesman, and scientist. The eighteenth century's most illustrious Pennsylvanian built a house in Franklin Court starting in 1763, and here he lived the last five years of his life.

Chestnut St. between 3rd & 4th Sts., at Nat'l. Liberty Mus., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they lived

Pennsylvania Hospital. This is the first hospital in the U.S. Chartered by Colonial Assembly in 1751 for "relief of the sick poor." Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond were its chief founders. First building, erected in 1755, is still used.

Pine St. between 8th & 9th Sts., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they founded

Philadelphia Contributionship, The. for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire ------ Oldest fire insurance company in America. Founded in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin and his friends.

212 S 4th St., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they founded

McAllister Tavern. Here, along the Monocacy Road, Richard McAllister erected a two-story log building and opened a store and tavern. In 1755, Benjamin Franklin was a guest at the Tavern. Old building was razed in 1950.

Baltimore (PA 94) & Middle Sts., Hanover, PA, United States where they stayed

Café Procope. Ici Procopio dei Coltelli fonda en 1686 le plus ancien café du monde et le plus célèbre centre de la vie littéraire et philosophique au 18e et au 19e siècles. Il fut fréquenté par La Fontaine, Voltaire, les Encyclopédistes, Benjamin Franklin, Danton, Marat, Robespierre, Napoléon Bonaparte, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Gambetta, Verlaine et Anatole France.

English translation: Café Procope. Here Procopio dei Coltelli founded in 1686 the oldest café in the world and the most famous center of philosophical and literary life in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was visited by La Fontaine, Voltaire, Les Encyclopédistes, Benjamin Franklin, Danton, Marat, Robespierre, Napoléon Bonaparte, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Gambetta, Verlaine and Anatole France.

13 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, Paris, France where they visited

Here is 1719 stood the printing office of James Franklin publisher of the New England Courant. Here served as an apprentice his brother Benjamin Franklin. Here 1769 to 1776 Edes and Gill published the Boston Gazette.

Court Street, Boston, MA, United States where they worked