Week 9: Benjamin Franklin
Monday, August 1, 2011
Full name: Benjamin Franklin
Born: January 17, 1706
Died: April 17, 1790
Importance: Franklin was one of the original “Founding Fathers” of the United States, playing a large role in its formation and early growth as one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and through various other governmental roles.
Video – The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin
In addition to the roles he played in government, Franklin was also a scientist and inventor. Among his inventions are the lightning rod, bifocals, and a carriage odometer.
Franklin gained a reputation as a hero for his leadership and efforts behind pressuring Parliament to repeal the hated Stamp Act.
Franklin enjoyed a successful stint as the U.S. ambassador to France from 1776 – 1785. He negotiated numerous alliances and treaties during this time.
Quotes from Benjamin Franklin
"Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults."
"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."
"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man."
"Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments."
Excerpt from Andy Andrews
Excerpt #1 from The Final Summit:
Franklin laughed and shifted in his chair. Without even looking behind him, he said, “Same old thing. This time with a different twist. I think that’s why they are so worked up.”
“What same old thing?” David asked.
The founding father sighed. “Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark. Many people never knew this about him. He was ashamed—”
“Wait,” David interrupted. “The guy who invented the lightbulb was afraid of the dark?”
Franklin dipped his head and peered over his spectacles again. “Why do you think he worked so hard to succeed at that particular task?” He relaxed again. “In any case, yes, that is quite true. Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark. Some folks on earth knew, of course, but here it is common knowledge. In fact, Thomas is quite proud of it.”
“Why would he be proud of that?” David asked.
“Because it became his greatest asset in the specific task of inventing the first lightbulb. And that task, when he finally succeeded, became his greatest accomplishment. I’m sure you’ve heard the story.” Franklin leaned in. “Thomas still tells it ad nauseam, doesn’t he, Anne?” The girl giggled and nodded.
“Thousands of failures before ‘Eureka!’ and he invented the lightbulb.” Franklin had thrown his hands into the air when he said, “Eureka” in an apparent imitation of Edison. Anne doubled over laughing.
Concluding, Franklin said, “So that is the basis of his argument to Albert. And that is what he is hammering away at today. He contends that fear and adversity should lead to action. And that man should continue to act against fear and adversity, creating breakthrough after breakthrough until he is dead. Edison eventually obtained 1,093 patents for his inventions, you know.”
Benjamin Franklin on the web
One book about Benjamin Franklin you must read: