One of the most important people in American history, Benjamin Franklin (born January 17, 1706, Boston, Massachusetts Bay, English America – died April 17, 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States) was a polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a statesman, printer and publisher, scientist and inventor, author, and diplomat.
Raised in a family with modest means, Franklin had to terminate his education when he was 10. Despite that, he was an avid reader and became successful editor and publisher in Philadelphia, publishing Pennsylvania Gazette and Poor Richard’s Almanack. During his time in Philadelphia, Franklin was active in public affairs, where he helped to establish new institutions such as a lending library, a fire company, an academy, and a hospital.
As a prolific scientist and inventor, Franklin was a leading figure in the American Enlightenment for his work on electricity. Some of his most famous inventions were the lightning rod, Franklin stove, glass harmonica and bifocal glasses.
Benjamin Franklin is the only Founding Father who has signed all four of the key documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris (1783) and the United States Constitution (1787).
Today, more than 200 years after his death, Franklin’s image appears on coinage and the $100 bill, and many towns, educational institutions, counties and corporations across America are named after him.