Benjamin Franklin | Biography, Printer, Conclusion, & Death

Benjamin Franklin Summary

Benjamin Franklin was an American Statesman, Printer, Scientist, Writer, and one of the United States Founding Fathers. Every American has been taught the stories of his accomplishments since elementary school, and it’s hard to go anywhere in the US without eventually being reminded of Ben Franklin.

In Philadelphia, there is the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Franklin Institute, and statues of his likeness all over the city. His face is also on the one-hundred-dollar bill. There was so much respect for him in the US that saying anything negative is practically treasonous. But in today’s Biographics, we aren’t going to hold back on all of the details of how Ben Franklin was more than a bit of a mad lad.

Benjamin Franklin Facts

Born17 January 1705, Boston, Massachusetts
Died17 April 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S
WifeDeborah Read
ParentsJosiah Franklin > Abiah Folger

Benjamin Franklin Early Life

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Josiah Franklin, came to the colonies in 1682 from Northamptonshire and made candles and soap for a living. Josiah Franklin fathered 16 children. He had 7 with his first wife, Anne Child, in England and 9 with his second wife, Abiah Folger, once he came to America.

As you can imagine, raising 17 children on a candlemaker’s salary wasn’t easy. Money was incredibly tight in their household. Ben Franklin went to grammar school for just two years before leaving to leave in work in his father’s candle business. Ben Franklin’s parents were so poor they sold him into indentured servitude to their oldest son James.

In case you weren’t aware of how indentured servitude works, Ben Franklin was an unpaid slave to his brother until his labor repaid the debt. James started his own printmaking business and published a New England Courant newspaper. Ben’s free room and board also counted against him. For most of his younger years, he was not allowed to earn an income.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (6th President of Pennsylvania & Founding Father of the U.S)

Franklin tried to earn money by starting a side hustle. He used the printers to self-publishing his writing. Then, they would stand in the middle of the streets and recite his ballads and poems out loud, trying to sell paper copies to people who passed by. However, he was a novice without proper education, so this was never enough income to support him.

Franklin tried to get married at age 19 to a woman named Deborah Read. At the time, when a man got married, they received a dowry from the woman’s father, which would have helped him pay off his debt.

At first, he thought they could live together with Read’s parents, but once her father discovered that Franklin was an indentured servant, he retracted his permission for the two of them to marry. After rejecting Ben Franklin, Deborah Read’s parents arranged a marriage for her to a man named John Rogers.

However, it turns out that Franklin wasn’t the only one who was eying Deborah’s dowry. Rogers lied about having a job and he was unemployed. He spent all of the money and got them into massive debt. One of John Roger’s friends from England came to visit and was shocked to see that he had a wife because he was already legally married back in the UK. After exposure, John Rogers jumped in the next boat back to England. This was a disaster, and Deborah Read could not get a Divorce because he didn’t have the paperwork to sign. Meanwhile, Ben Franklin was enjoying being a bachelor.

In his autobiography, he wrote about what sex addiction looks like; “The hard-to-be-governed passion of my youth had hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way.” By the time Ben Franklin and Deborah Read reunited, he had gotten another woman pregnant out of wedlock. He showed up with a baby named William.No one knows the identity of this mystery woman or why she abandoned their child. Deborah Read was just happy to have Franklin back, and she agreed to help raise William. Since Read never got a divorce, they could not legally get married.

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Benjamin Franklin, the Printer

Benjamin Franklin, the Printer

They went on to have two more children together and live as common-law husbands and wives. Moving on Up Once Benjamin Franklin completed his servitude sentence, it only made sense for him to take everything he learned from his brother James and open up his printing businesses. To accomplish that, he had to travel to England to purchase expensive printing equipment and sail back to Boston.

Franklin was still broke, but he was able to get an investor to help with the startup costs. However, once he was in London, his investor backed out, leaving him stranded. Franklin managed to return to the United States but decided to leave Boston in favor of Philadelphia. He began printing.

The Pennsylvania Gazette in 1728. He didn’t waste any time making friends and joined a group called The Junto Club. Together, they established a library similar to what was already available to the public back in England. Even though the Junto Club was already getting this project together, Franklin would often claim that he was the one to create the first library in the United States all by himself. That lie has been circulated so many times it has even found its way into history books. Another one of the achievements that Ben Franklin is mistakenly credited for is publishing the first Almanack in the United States.

His Poor Richard’s Almanack premiered in 1733, becoming the second most printed book besides the Bible. However, he stole this idea and took all the credit again. The Leeds Family of New Jersey had been publishing a Farmer’s Almanack since 1689, which was 17 years before Ben Franklin was even born. Franklin saw that their business was thriving, and he decided that he wanted to steal the business model. But the Leeds family was already far more established and famous than he was. Young Franklin didn’t stand a chance. That is, until he decided to destroy the entire family’s reputation.

Ben Franklin began a rumor that the family’s patriarch, Titan Leeds, was a satanist and published a prediction that he would die in 1733. Franklin also published more defamatory stories about the Leeds family in the Philadelphia Gazette. Two years later, in 1735, a story spread that “Mother Leeds” gave birth to a hideous demonic creature called The Jersey Devil.

This permanently ruined their reputations to the point where the family business could not recover. So you might be wondering, why didn’t the Leeds family sue the hell out of Ben Franklin? Around the same time, the US courts decided that newspapers and print publications should have “freedom of speech,” even if the words they printed could not be proven true.

This idea eventually developed into The First Amendment in the US Constitution. Journalists were put on a pedestal for having a high degree of ethics, and most people trusted that they would do their due diligence before printing a story. Just a few years later, in 1737, Ben Franklin got the job as Postmaster General of Philadelphia.

Benjamin Franklin in Paris

Benjamin Franklin in Paris

His Not-So-Original Inventions You’ve probably heard that Ben Franklin “discovered” electricity. As the story goes, he went outside with a key tied to a kite string during a lightning storm. Many modern-day historians now believe that this story was a work of fiction. Other scientists were already experimenting with electricity years before he did.

Peter Collinson was actually the man who showed Ben Franklin a functioning electricity tube, which sparked his interest in science. After this point, Franklin began his own experiments with electricity. However, keep in mind that he only had two years of elementary school education, and was self-taught through reading books. Unlike Peter Collinson, Franklin had no knowledge of physics.

He was so clueless, he published information that electricity was actually a “fluid”.Despite not really knowing what he was talking about, Ben Franklin made a huge public spectacle about “his” discovery of electricity. He decided to demonstrate how he could stop a turkey’s heart with an electric shock…Because that’s not creepy, or anything.

Then, he wanted to cook the entire turkey with electrocution as well. But in the midst of trying to demonstrate this, he actually electrocuted himself and passed out on the floor in front of a crowd of people. Instead of realizing that Ben Franklin was inexperienced, people were still very impressed. He earned a reputation for being a scientist. He went on to supposedly invent several other things like the Franklin Stove, which was actually a copy of the design of the fireplace at the Louvre in Paris, and the College of Optometrists has serious doubts that he actually invented the bifocal eyeglasses.

The list of examples goes on and on. The deeper you research, the more you realized that Ben Franklin may not have invented anything and that all of his ideas most likely came from books and people he met. He never filed a single patent or copyright. In his autobiography, he claimed that he chose not to do this because he was such a great guy, and wanted to share these brilliant ideas with the world without profiting from it.

In reality, if he filed a patent for something that wasn’t actually his, it was just asking to be sued. Even though he never made any money from these inventions, Benjamin Franklin was still a successful businessman. By the time he was in his 40s, his employees were running the newspaper without him, and he was able to focus on his position as the Postmaster General.

He would travel around the country for public speaking engagements with members of the British parliament. When he was 51 years old, Benjamin Franklin moved to England in order to negotiate on behalf of the colonists of Pennsylvania. Franklin spent the next several years living in London with his son William.

He began to make friends with members of the British aristocracy. This lead him to become a part of a group called The Hellfire Club, which was a secret society of an upper-class man who liked to discuss philosophy, politics, and the occult. Members met at empty monasteries and churches to hold black masses and orgies. According to records, the members wore robes similar to monks and tried to perform magic spells. There were 36 separate allegations that Ben Franklin was indeed apart of The HellfireClub under the code name “Brother Benjamin of Cookham”.

There is also a significant amount of evidence in the form of letters written by Franklin that proves he was very good friends with the founder, Sir Francis Dashwood. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence, many American historians have tried to make up excuses for him, and deny his involvement. Ben Franklin’s private life was even darker than we can ever imagine.

In 1998, a group was attempting to renovate his house in London, when they discovered the bones of at least 15 people buried in his basement- John Wayne Gacy style. Six of those bodies were young children. There was even one baby. The bones showed signs that they had been dissected, with their limbs chopped and drilled to make them easier to carry down to the crawlspace.

Historians were baffled by this scene which clearly looked like the work of a serial killer. They scrambled to find a rational explanation as to why their beloved Founding Father would have done this. They decided to blame it on William Hewson, who was a friend of Franklin’s. Hewson was studying blood, and he became known as the “father of hematology”.

At the time, it was illegal for doctors to dissect cadavers because it was considered to be disrespectful, and went against Christian beliefs in burial rites. But doctors and scientists continued to do so in the name of science. There is no documentation proving that this theory about an anatomy school is true, and it is simply speculation. If Hewson truly was responsible for this, it would still make Ben Franklin complicit in grave robbing.

Some historians are quick to jump to Franklin’s defense, saying that it’s possible that he had no idea that William Hewson had done this. But if we learned anything from the story of John Wayne Gacy, the smell of 15 bodies in the windowless basement would have been so overwhelming, there is no way Franklin could miss it.

Benjamin Franklin moved back to the colonies in 1775 during the breakout of the Revolutionary War. His son William Franklin publicly announced his loyalty to England and was banished from ever returning to the colonies again. So he continued living in London. Even though he publically supported the Americans, it would seem that Ben and his son were actually on the same page. Author and historian Richard Deacon wrote a book called A History of the British Secret Service, where he presents compelling evidence that Ben Franklin was working as a double agent “Number 72”.

When he returned to the colonies, the Americans believed that he was giving them vital information about England to help in the war effort. But Deacon discovered that The British Archives actually had copies of every single transmission. In reality, Franklin was only telling the Americans what the British wanted them to hear. In 1776, The American Revolutionary war was won, and the British colonies became the United States.

The Declaration of Independence was created by a committee of five men, with Thomas Jefferson being the main writer. According to the Franklin Institute, Ben Franklin’s only contribution was to check for spelling errors. Even though he was secretly spying for England, Franklin was happy to take some of the glory. He made his signature on the Declaration of Independence nearly as large and obnoxious as John Hancock’s. Just one month later, he wanted to move back to Europe.


He left the colonies to become the new American Ambassador of France. Partying Hard in France In 1777, Ben Franklin began his new life in Paris. At this point, he was a celebrity, and it was well-known that he was one of the American founding Fathers. The French had helped during the American Revolution, so the excitement of the victory was still in the air. People were also invested in reading the stories about everyone involved.

The French Revolution was only just a few years away, in 1789. French women thought these stories were exciting, and they imagined American men to be brave and heroic. Even at 71 years old, Ben Franklin had no problem impressing the ladies with his stories, and he started living his best life. At this point, he no longer had any filter. He began to earn a reputation for being gluttonous, lecherous and partying really hard. When John Adams went to visit Franklin in Paris, he came back disgusted by how he was wasting taxpayer dollars on his new extravagant lifestyle.

Thomas Jefferson also wrote about Franklin, ”I have marked him, particularly in the company of women where he loses all power over himself and becomes almost frenzied.”Even though the Founding Fathers were trying to get Franklin to check himself before he wrecked himself, he responded to all of his haters by writing this poem: “So thô I robb’d you of a Kiss, Sweeter than their ambrosial Dew; Why are you angry at my Bliss? Has it at all impoverished you?

”This wild lifestyle wasn’t just reserved for private parties, though. Franklin’s next-door neighbor was a wealthy businessman named Monsieur Brillon de Jouy, and his wife, Madame Brillon, was a famous harpsichord player. Just like many of the other French women, Madame Brillon thought that Franklin was very impressive, and they began to have an affair.

She was in her 30’s, and she didn’t seem to mind that Franklin was in his 70’s. For some strange reason, Franklin thought it was necessary to make Madame Brillon sign a contract on the terms of their affair. Apparently, Monsieur Brillon had absolutely no idea that Franklin was sleeping with his wife, because he was invited over to dinner at their house twice a week.

There were countless affairs with other women, including the widow of the famous philosopher Helvétius, Anne-Catherine de Ligniville. His common-law wife, Deborah Read, had already passed away. So, he proposed to Madame Helvétius.She declined, claiming that she was still in love with her late husband, and she felt that it would be disrespectful to his memory. Unfortunately, though, Ben Franklin probably didn’t restrain himself until after Debrah’sdeath to have affairs. When he was 39 years old, he wrote a letter to a young man who wanted advice on how to deal with sex addiction.

Franklin recommended that he should start having secret affairs with older women because they were more experienced, discrete, and willing to treat younger men very well. He also mentions that after menopause, “there is no hazard of children”.When you go through all of the very specific details he gives in that letter, it’s obvious that Franklin was speaking from experience. After the other Founding Fathers saw his true colors, word began to spread that Franklin was actually a lecherous old man. Most people felt that this was acceptable, considering all of his other accomplishments. And, of course, he came up with excuses for his poor behavior.

In one of his essays, he wrote that he developed a method of trying to see if it was possible for a human being to actually achieve perfection. His list of 13 virtues was as follows: Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, and chastity. Franklin claims that he would make attempts to improve his personality, only to realize that the harder he tried to be good at one thing, he would begin to lack in other aspects of his life.

He concluded that it’s not possible for someone to ever be “perfect”.So…if you can’t be perfect, why even try to become a good person, right? Death, and Legacy For the rest of Benjamin Franklin’s life, he continued to indulge in whatever he wanted. He eventually contracted a painful condition known as gout, which usually only happens from drinking too much alcohol and eating the wrong things.

During his recovery, he wrote a fake conversation about his disease. Through this, we find out that in his later years, the only exercise he got in a day was the walk from his carriage to the restaurant, and back again. The rest of his time was spent lounging around drinking tea, eating, reading books, and spending time with the ladies.

Benjamin Franklin Death

grave of Benjamin Franklin
Grave of Benjamin Franklin (Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia, PA)

Benjamin Franklin died at the ripe old age of 84. Contrary to popular belief, he did not have syphilis, which is a miracle, considering that he slept with nearly everything that moved. He had pleurisy when he died, which is a disease of the lung. For years after his death, the only evidence that people cared about Ben Franklin’s legacy came from his self-published autobiography. They believed everything he said, and took his word as gospel. The hero worship of Benjamin Franklin is now ingrained in American history.

People want to believe that this genius polymath was one of the masterminds behind the founding of the nation, and Americans became proud to have him represent their country. Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that he made an impact. Today, there are statues, museums, libraries, schools, and entire towns named after Benjamin Franklin in the United States. If he were alive to see all of this today, he would probably smile, because just like everything else in his life, he got exactly what he wanted.

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Peoples Also Ask?

Was Benjamin Franklin a President?

Benjamin Franklin was the president and founder of the United States of America.

What Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

Benjamin Franklin was an American Statesman, Printer, Scientist, Writer, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Where Benjamin Franklin was born?

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts

When did Benjamin Franklin die?

Benjamin Franklin died at the ripe old age of 84. Contrary to popular belief, he did not have syphilis, which is a miracle, considering that he slept with nearly everything that moved. He had pleurisy when he died, which is a disease of the lung.

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