Monday, January 17, 2011

On this day in history...

On this day, January 17, 1706 American statesman, scientist and author Benjamin Franklin was born.
January 17, 1706 to April 17, 1790

Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, may by his life alone be the most profound statement of what an American strives to be.

With no formal education beyond the age of 10 years, Franklin was celebrated throughout Europe, welcomed in any Royal Court, sought out by every prestigious society. Indeed, when the reputations of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had yet to be sorted out, Franklin was worshipped wherever his name was known.

He attended grammar school at age eight, but was put to work at ten. He apprenticed as a printer to his brother James, who printed the New England Courant, at age twelve, and published his first article there, anonymously, in 1721. Young Benjamin was an avid reader, inquisitive and skeptical. Through his satirical articles, he poked fun at the people of Boston and soon wore out his welcome, both with his brother and with the city. He ran away to New York and then on to Philadelphia at the age of 16, looking for work as a printer. He managed a commission to Europe for the purpose of buying supplies to establish a new printing house in Philadelphia, but found himself abandoned when he stepped off ship. Through hard work and frugality he bought his fare back to Philadelphia in 1732 and set up shop as a printer. He was appointed clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1736, and as Postmaster the following year. In 1741 he began publishing Poor Richard's Almanac, a very popular and influential magazine. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 and served as an agent for Pennsylvania (and ultimately for three other colonies) to England, France, and several other European powers. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, where he played a crucial role in the rebellion against Gr. Britain, including service to Jefferson in editing the Declaration of Independence. Franklin, who was by this time independently wealthy and retired from publishing, continued to serve an important role in government both local and national. He was the United States first Postmaster General, Minister to the French Court, Treaty agent and signer to the peace with Gr. Britain, Celebrated Member of the Constitutional convention (See Work, below). Benjamin Franklin: Businessman, Writer, Publisher, Scientist, Diplomat, Legislator, and Social activist, was one of the earliest and strongest advocates for the abolition of Slavery, and for the protection of the rights of American aboriginal peoples. He died on the 17th of April in 1790. On that day he was still one of the most celebrated characters in America. So should he always be.

During his life, Benjamin Franklin held many jobs and positions. Here is a list of some of them...

Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, 1736
Founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1731
Postmaster of Philadelphia, 1737-1753
Member of Pennsylvania Assembly, 1751-1764
Deputy Postmaster general of the British colonies in America, 1753
Founded Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, 1753
Agent to Europe for Pennsylvania, 1757-1762
for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, 1764-1775
Elected to Continental Congress, 1775
Testified before Parliament concerning the Stamp Act, 1776
Postmaster General of the united colonies, 1775
Commissioner to the French Court, 1776
Minister plenipotentiary to the French Court, 1779
Negotiator in and Member of the Treaties with Gr.-Britain, 1781-1783
Member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania
President of Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, 1785
Senior member of the Constitutional Convention, 1787

These are a few quotes from Benjamin Franklin...

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.