The Works of Benjamin Franklin: Containing Several Political and Historical Tracts Not Included in Any Former Edition, and Many Letters, Official and
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About the Author
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was an American writer, printer, politician, postmaster, scientist, and diplomat. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin found success at a young age as editor and printer of the Pennsylvania Gazette, a prominent Philadelphia newspaper. From 1732 to 1758, Franklin published Poor Richard's Almanack, a popular yearly pamphlet that earned Franklin much of his wealth. An influential Philadelphian, Franklin founded the Academy and College of Philadelphia, which would become the University of Pennsylvania, in 1751. In addition, Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, as well as the city's first fire department. As revolutionary sentiment was on the rise in the thirteen colonies, Franklin traveled to London to advocate on behalf of Americans unhappy with British rule, earning a reputation as a skilled diplomat and shrewd negotiator. During the American Revolution, his relationships with French officials would prove essential for the war effort, the success of which depended upon munitions shipments from France. Over the next few decades, he would serve as the first postmaster general of the United States and as governor of Pennsylvania while maintaining his diplomatic duties. A dedicated and innovative scientist, Franklin is credited with important discoveries regarding the nature of electricity, as well as with inventing the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. A slaveowner for many years, Franklin eventually became an abolitionist. Although he failed to raise the issue during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he led the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society and wrote essays on the subject of slavery, which he deemed "an atrocious debasement of human nature."