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Happy Birthday, Ben!

Happy Birthday, Ben!

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Happy Birthday, Ben!

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  1. Happy Birthday, Ben! The Man and the Cult: Benjamin Franklin at 300

  2. His Life • Born in Boston to Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger, January 6, 1706 (old style) • Attends school from 1714-16 • 1716: he becomes his father’s assistant in his tallow-chandlery • 1718: BF is indentured to his brother James(publisher of the New England Courant) as a printing apprentice

  3. His Life-2 • 1722—BF publishes “Silence Dogood Letters” anonymously in his brother’s newspaper (modeled on Cotton Mather’s Essay Upon Doing Good) • 1723—BF breaks his indenture and “escapes” to Philadelphia; his work for Samuel Keimer (printer) • 1724—BF sails to London to buy type for printing press with worthless letter of recommendation from Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith

  4. His Life-3 • 1724—BF returns to Phila. and returns to work with Keimer • 1727—BF founds the Junto Club (which continues until 1765) • 1728—BF starts printing house with Hugh Meredith • 1729—BF becomes owner and publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette; he buys out Meredith in 1730 • Circa 1729: he becomes father of son William (see Autobiography!) out of wedlock; identity of mother unknown

  5. His Life-4 • 1730—BF enters common law marriage with Deborah (Read) Rogers • 1731—BF founds the Library Company; he sets up printing partners in South Carolina • 1732—BF first child with Deborah Franklin, Francis Folger Franklin; first edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack published • 1736—BF becomes clerk of PA assembly and founds the Phila. Fire Company

  6. His Life-5 • 1740s—BF designs and advertises the “Pennsylvania fireplace” (aka Franklin stove) • 1743—BF founds the American Philosophical Society • 1745—his friend Peter Collinson in London sends BF a glass tube and descriptions of electrical experiments in Germany; BF begins his electrical experiments • 1747—BF organizes a “Voluntary Association” (militia) for the defense of Pennsylvania from French and Spanish privateers • 1749—BF and others organize the Philadelphia Academy (later the University of Pennsylvania)

  7. His Life-6 • 1750—Franklin begins having problems with gout; describes lightening rod in a letter to Peter Collinson; later that year, BF is severely shocked while electrocuting a turkey • 1751—BF and others found Pennsylvania Hospital; BF designs first fire insurance company (becomes member of PA Assembly; til 1764) • 1752—In June, BF conducts his famous kite flying experiments, proving that lightening is electrical • 1753—BF appointed deputy postmaster general for North America

  8. His Life-7 • 1754—with rising fears of an attack on PA during French and Indian War, Franklin becomes more active in politics; publishes what is considered the first American political cartoon, “Join or Die:” (supporting the “Albany Plan”

  9. His Life-8 • 1757—BF appointed agent for the PA Assembly and begins long struggle with the Penn Family (PA proprietors); he later wanted to turn PA in to a Crown Colony under direct supervision of the English king • BF goes to England as PA agent, where he remains until 1762 • 1764—BF defeated in election for PA Assembly; vicious attacks on BF • 1769—BF becomes President of American Philosophical Society • 1771—BF begins writing the Autobiography • 1772—BF writes first anti-slavery treatise (after having freed his own slaves)

  10. His Life-9 • 1772—BF beginning anti-British political course • 1774—BF’s wife Deborah dies of a stroke • 1775—BF unsuccessfully trying to reconcile conflict with the British; he becomes a delegate to the Second Continental Congress • 1776—BF’s son William (former governor of New Jersey) imprisoned as loyalist; BF refusing to intercede for him; BF travels to France to negotiate for an alliance with the colonies in Revolutionary War • 1783—With John Adams and John Jay, BF signs Treaty of Paris, which formally ends the Revolutionary War • 1785—BF returns to Philadelphia; greeted with great celebration

  11. His Life-10 • 1785—BF becomes president of the Supreme Executive Council (of the United States) • 1787—member of the Constitutional Convention • 1789—BF composed and submitted to Congress the first Congressional protest against slavery • April 17, 1790—BF dies at age 84, and is buried in Christ Church burial ground (only a few feet from where he first landed in Philadelphia!)

  12. The Autobiography • Stages of composition: • Part 1: 1771 (in England) • Part 2: 1784 (in France) • Part 3: 1788 (in Pennsylvania) • Part 4: 1789-1790 (in Pennsylvania) Scope: Ancestry-Birth-Upbringing in Boston-Philadelphia-London-Philadelphia (to circa 1754)

  13. The Ben Franklin “Cult” • Images of Benjamin Franklin during his lifetime

  14. The March of the Paxton Men, 1764

  15. Charles Nicholas Cochin, “Benjamin Franklin” (1777-1780). American Philosophical Society, Portrait Collection. http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/gallery/

  16. Charles Van Loo, “Benjamin Franklin” (before 1790). American Philosophical Society, Portrait Collection. http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/gallery/

  17. Charles Willson Peale, after David Martin, “Benjamin Franklin” (1772, after portrait of 1767). American Philosophical Society, Portrait Collection. http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/gallery/

  18. Circa. 1805. Benjamin West (American, 1738-1820)Oil on paper on canvas, 13-1/4 x 10"

  19. Anton Hohenstein (ca. 1823-?)Franklin's Reception at the Court of France, 1778.Philadelphia: John Smith, n.d.Hand-colored lithographPrints & Photographs Division (14)

  20. The Ben Franklin “Cult” • The recent vogue for Franklin biographies (to name but a few…) • Edmund S. Morgan, Benjamin Franklin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. • Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. • Gordon S. Wood, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Penguin, 2004. • David Waldstreicher, Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004. • J. A. Leo Lemay, The Life of Benjamin Franklin. Vols. 1 and 2. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. • Stacy Schiff, A great improvisation: Franklin, France, and the birth of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2005.

  21. The Ben Franklin “Cult” • The birthday party • The Franklin Tercentenary • http://www.benfranklin300.org/ • Exhibition: “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” • ATLANTAJuly 4, 2007 –October 14, 2007Atlanta History Center