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Benjamin Franklin

Edwin S. Gaustad

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305357
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850662 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305357.001.0001

Series: Lives and Legacies Series

Benjamin Franklin

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The tenth and youngest son of a poor Boston soapmaker, Benjamin Franklin would rise to become, in Thomas Jefferson's words, “the greatest man and ornament of his age”. This book offers a portrait of this towering colonial figure, illuminating Franklin's character and personality. Here is truly one of the most extraordinary lives imaginable, a man who, with only two years of formal education, became a printer, publisher, postmaster, philosopher, world-class scientist and inventor, statesman, musician, and abolitionist. The book presents a chronological account of all these accomplishments, delightfully spiced with quotations from Franklin's own extensive writings. The book describes how the hardworking Franklin became at age twenty-four the most successful printer in Pennsylvania and how by forty-two, with the help of Poor Richard's Almanack, he had amassed enough wealth to retire from business. The book then follows Franklin's next brilliant career, as an inventor and scientist, examining his pioneering work on electricity and his inventions of the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod, and bifocals, as well as his mapping of the Gulf Stream, a major contribution to navigation. Lastly, the book covers Franklin's role as America's leading statesman, ranging from his years in England before the Revolutionary War to his time in France thereafter, highlighting his many contributions to the cause of liberty. Along the way, the book sheds light on Franklin's personal life, including his troubled relationship with his illegitimate son William, who remained a Loyalist during the Revolution, and Franklin's thoughts on such topics as religion and morality.

Keywords: Benjamin Franklin; Franklin stove; Poor Richard's Almanack; electricity; Revolutionary War; France; England; printer; inventor; scientist

Book.  160 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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Table of Contents

The Improper Bostonian in Benjamin Franklin

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B. Franklin, Printer in Benjamin Franklin

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Doctor Franklin in Benjamin Franklin

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Pennsylvania Politics in Benjamin Franklin

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The Road to Separation in Benjamin Franklin

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War and Peace in Benjamin Franklin

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