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Benjamin Franklin. (“Ben Franklin Duplessis ”). Biography. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706 (“ Benjamin Franklin”) Pious Calvinist family Puritans who fled religious persecution in England Only formally educated to the age of 10

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benjamin franklin
Benjamin Franklin

(“Ben Franklin Duplessis”)

  • Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706 (“Benjamin Franklin”)
  • Pious Calvinist family
    • Puritans who fled religious persecution in England
  • Only formally educated to the age of 10
    • Began working for his candle-making business
  • Learned printing while apprenticing with his brother for 5 years starting at age 12
  • At 17, he left Boston for Philadelphia in order to start printing on his own
  • 1725 – published and printed the Pennsylvania Gazette
  • 1731 – started the first public library
  • 1732 – began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack
    • Collection of advice and sayings that act as a record of early American culture
  • Franklin became one of the largest and most wealthy printers in Pennsylvania (“Benjamin Franklin”)
    • This wealth enabled him to explore other interests:
      • Enlightenment Thinking
      • Science
      • Politics/Civil Service
  • 1743 – founds the American Philosophical Society to explore the “Nature of Things,…Power of Man over Matter,…and multiply the Conveniences or Pleasures of Life” (“American Philosophical Society”)
    • Establishes a distinct, American view of the world and science
  • 1751 – establishes an academy that becomes the University of Pennsylvania (“Benjamin Franklin”)
  • Applied his knowledge through over 200 inventions
    • Franklin Stove, bifocal glasses, lightening rods
  • 1751 – elected to the Pennsylvania Colonial Legislature (“Benjamin Franklin”)
  • 1753-1774 – served as Deputy Postmaster General
  • Served as London’s Agent to Pennsylvania; as well as, Agent to England for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts {an Ambassador}
  • Although originally loyal to England, he became convinced of cause of independence
  • Served in the Second Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence
  • Served as a Commissioner to France during the Revolution and was key in obtaining French financial and military support
  • After the Revolution, he returned to Philadelphia and was a member of the Constitutional Convention
    • one of only 6 men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
main philosophies
Main Philosophies
  • Enlightened Thinker (“Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many”)
    • Supported the ideals of the European Enlightenment
    • Opposed strict religious teachings and interpretations
    • Believed in Religious Freedom
    • Felt Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech were vital

("Coexist Bumpersticker")

("Pennsylvania Chronicle 1769")

main philosophies1
Main Philosophies

("Franklin Stove Cross-Sectional Diagram")

  • Scientist (“Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many”)
    • Known for his experiments with electricity
      • Developed a unified Theory of Electricity
    • Tried to apply science into everyday life
      • Lightening rods to protect houses from fire
      • Franklin Stove
      • Bifocal glasses

("Bifocals by Benjamin Franklin")

main philosophies2
Main Philosophies
  • Politics and Civil Service (“Benjamin Franklin”)
    • Believed in the tenants of democracy and the duty to serve his fellow citizens
    • His wealth enabled him to serve in many diverse public roles
      • Postmaster General
      • Delegate to the Albany Congress during the French and Indian War
      • Representative in the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly
      • Represented Pennsylvania in Second Continental Congress, and the Constitutional Convention
      • Commissioner to France during the Revolutionary War
      • President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania

("Declaration of Independence")

main works
Main Works
  • Pennsylvania Gazette ("The Pennsylvania Gazette“ Accessible Archives)
    • Newspaper printed in Philadelphia
    • Covered daily life, culture, social, and political issues of the Revolutionary times and early years of the country
    • Printed many of the most important writings of the time:
      • Common Sense – Thomas Payne
      • Letters from a Farmer – John Dickenson
      • The Federalist Papers

("The Pennsylvania Gazette“ Wikimedia Commons)

main works1
Main Works
  • Franklin used the Pennsylvania Gazette to help gain support for the revolution ("The Pennsylvania Gazette“ Accessible Archives).
  • Besides printing important writings, Franklin also printed the first political cartoons
  • “Join, or Die” was created by Franklin himself and became one of the iconic images of the American Revolution

("Benjamin Franklin Join or Die")

main works2
Main Works
  • Poor Richard's Almanack ("Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard's “)
  • Published from 1733-1738
  • Contained stories and sayings that came to represent the culture and times of the colonial period.
  • Published under the pseudonym Richard Saunders but it was widely known to be the work of Franklin
  • Many of the sayings attributed to Franklin were published in Poor Richard’s Almanack

("Poor Richard's Almanack Title “)

primary source quotes
Primary Source Quotes
  • Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanackcontained many iconic phases and expressions. ("Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard's“)
  • These expressions act as a reflection of the ideals of the American Revolution and of the times in general.
  • Although many are simple, witty quotes, when looked at as a whole they help to paint a picture of the practical genius and observant nature of Benjamin Franklin.
  • They also represent the basics of the Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy
primary source quotes1
Primary Source Quotes
  • He is no clown that drives the plow, but he that doth clownish things.
  • If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the Philosophers-Stone.
  • Fish & Visitors stink in 3 days.
  • Diligence is the Mother of Good-Luck.
  • Do not do that which you would not have known.
  • Never praise your Cyder, Horse, or Bedfellow.
  • Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
  • Tis easy to see, hard to foresee.
  • He that scatters Thorns, let him not go barefoot.
  • There's none deceived but he that trusts.
  • God heals, and the Doctor takes the Fees.
  • If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.
  • Creditors have better memories than debtors.
  • Don't throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass.
  • The rotten Apple spoils his Companion.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned.
  • Admiration is the Daughter of Ignorance.

("Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard's“)

obstacles adversaries
  • Franklin faced many obstacles in his early life. His brother was quite autocratic while he was apprenticing with him. Although he learned the printing trade, he came into heavy conflict with his brother. In ran-away in 1723 – which was illegal ("A Quick Biography of Benjamin").
  • After eventually finding his way to Philadelphia and becoming an apprentice again, he was sent to London to acquire equipment for the Governor of Pennsylvania. However, once there the Governor cut off all support and Franklin had to struggle to get enough money to survive and get back to Philadelphia.
  • These early struggles helped to shape the determination and practicality that Franklin became known for.
obstacles adversaries1
  • Franklin had very few personal adversaries, but his first actions towards American independence came in what was known as the "Hutchinson Affair" ("A Quick Biography of Benjamin").
  • Thomas Hutchinson, the appointed Governor of Massachusetts, publicly supported colonists complaints against England
  • While in London acting as an loyal agent for Pennsylvania, Franklin got ahold of some of Hutchinson’s letters where he called for "an abridgment of what are called English Liberties" in America.
  • Franklin had the letters printed in the colonies…the people were outraged.
  • Franklin was publicly condemned by the English Foreign Ministry and forced to leave London
impact influence
Impact & Influence
  • Franklin’s impact on history can be seen in many different ways: (“Benjamin Franklin")
    • Science and Technology
      • Unified Theory of Electricity
      • American Philosophical Society
    • Inventions
      • The Franklin Stove
      • Bifocals
      • Swim fins
      • Glass Armonica (musical Instrument)


impact influence1
Impact & Influence
  • Publishing (“Benjamin Franklin”)
    • Poor Richard’s Almanack
    • Pennsylvania Gazette
  • Education
    • Founded an academy that eventually became the University of Pennsylvania

("Penn Campus")

impact influence2
Impact & Influence
  • However, Franklin’s greatest impact lies in his support and guidance of the process of American Independence. (“Benjamin Franklin”)
  • Although originally opposed to independence, Franklin became one of the driving forces behind the American Revolution.
  • Along with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, he skillfully helped craft and get approved the Declaration of Independence.
  • Additionally, his work in securing French military and monetary support for the colonists’ cause may have been the most important factor leading to the success of the American Revolution.
  • Benjamin Franklin and his kite are iconic images of American history
  • The story of Franklin flying his kite with a key hanging on a string is one that all school children learn.

("A Statue of Young")

  • The Declaration of Independence is another symbol of this unique individual.
  • His core beliefs and ideals are expressed in this document and his tireless work to secure the independence of the nation that was founded by it represent the essence of Benjamin Franklin.

("US Declaration of Independence")

  • "American Philosophical Society." ABC-CLIO American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Ben Franklin Duplessis." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Benjamin Franklin." ABC-CLIO American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many Talents." ABC-CLIO American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.
  • "Benjamin Franklin Join or Die." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 11 June 2010. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard's Almanack (1736)." ABC-CLIO American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Bifocals by Benjamin Franklin." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 26 Oct. 2011. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Coexist Bumpersticker." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 9 Mar. 2007. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Declaration of Independence." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 1 June 2013. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Franklin Stove Cross-Sectional Diagram." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 30 June 2012. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Glassarmonica." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 12 July 2008. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Penn Campus." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 16 Mar. 2007. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Pennsylvania Chronicle 1769." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 24 Oct. 2010. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "The Pennsylvania Gazette." Accessible Archives. Accessible Archives, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "The Pennsylvania Gazette." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 17 Apr. 2007. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "Poor Richard's Almanack Title Page." ABC-CLIO American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014.  
  • "A Quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin." US Independence Hall Association, 1999-2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "A Statue of Young Benjamin Franklin with Kite by Carl Rohl Smith 1893." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 23 Nov. 2012. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.  
  • "US Declaration of Independence." Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons, 18 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <>.