Benjamin Franklin

By: Mick Yates


Franklin made his mark in the printing industry and in 1733 began publishing the ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack, source of many famous phrases (such as “a penny saved is a penny earned”) that are still in use today.


In the 1720’s and 1730’s Franklin began his civic contributions, organising a group called the Junto Club, which was essentially a forum for the exchange of ideas.  He was responsible for the first library in America, the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia, and the first hospital in Pennsylvania.  He also worked hard towards ending slavery in America long before others took up the cause.


One of a small group of men known as the Founding Fathers of America, Franklin was intimately involved in the development of all four of the documents that helped create the United States that we know today.  Those documents were the Declaration of Independence; the Treaty of Alliance, Amity and Commerce with France; the Treaty of Peace between England, France and the United States; and the Constitution.  Franklin was the only person to have signed all four documents.


It was estimated that his funeral in 1790 was attended by around 20,000 people and many more mourned the death of the man they called ‘the harmonious human multitude’.


Renowned for his enterprising nature, his hard working attitude and his skills in both writing and negotiation, Franklin had a strong sense of how things should be and gained the cooperation of others by honouring them with the credit that they were due. 


By Melanie Smith