As much as I love history, it has been awhile since I read an American history book. Recently I read several interesting articles about one of my favorite American patriots — Benjamin Franklin. What an amazing person and incredible life he had. I loved re-learning about his life and achievements.
Born to a Boston family of modest means in 1706, Franklin had surprisingly little formal education. He loved to read, even as a young child, and was apprenticed to work for his older brother who owned a printing business.
Here are some more of Benjamin Franklin’s famous and wise (and often amusing) quotes:
• “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
• “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
• “Well done is better than well said.”
• “Half a truth is often a great lie.”
• “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
• “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom — and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”
• “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
• “Diligence is the mother of luck.”
• “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one’s self.”
• “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Eventually Franklin opened his own printing business and published the wildly popular “Poor Richard’s Almanac” in 1733. In this witty and entertaining journal, Franklin chronicled a poor farmer and his many struggles to support himself and his wife. In the almanac, Franklin coined numerous “sayings” most of us grew up hearing and still use today — one such saying is “early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Besides being a successful businessman, Franklin also believed strongly in helping improve his community. Partly due to his deep love and appreciation of books and reading, Franklin helped to launch a library — books were expensive and he wanted more people to have free access. Franklin also helped launch a hospital, a college and even a fire department. His achievements were endless.
Known for his science experiments, Franklin was always experimenting and inventing and sharing his findings with anybody who was in his circles. Franklin also invented numerous things — including a battery, swim fins and bifocals.
Franklin often traveled to England and France as a gentleman and a diplomat and loved his time overseas. He loved the sophistication of Europe and wanted America to have the same theaters, restaurants, etc. Known to be humorous, smart and entertaining, Franklin was also quite the lady’s man.
Franklin saw the corruption stemming from England’s “rule” in the American colonies and increasingly agreed the need for independence from British rule.
Did you know Franklin was the only founding father to have signed all four of the key documents which established the United States of America?
Franklin helped draft (with Thomas Jefferson) and sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He also signed the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778, the Treaty of Paris establishing peace with Great Britain in 1783, and the United States Constitution in 1787.
Benjamin Franklin certainly lived an amazing life. He died at the age of 84 on April 17, 1790. More than 20,000 people attended his funeral.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.