History: January 2006 Archives

Benjamin Franklin

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Born January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts (the grave of his parents is in the same cemetery as that of John Hancock--I think--Bostonians can advise. It is, nonetheless on the freedom trail) Benjamin Franklin self-educated scientist, philosopher, inventor, and statesman became, arguably, the single most famous non-presidential "political" figure in the nation's history. During his life he was well known throughout Europe and the United States. He supported causes such as abolition, religious freedom, and proper treatment of Native Americans long before they became popular culture. His vision was instrumental in the shaping of the New Republic, and his legacy is with us still in Poor Richard's Almanack and in the wording and framing of both the Declaration of Independence and to some extent the Constitution. Often typified as a Quaker, Franklin's actual religious convictions were closer to the Deism popular at his time.

Famous for his "air baths" and other therapeutic practices and for his invention of bifocals, the Franklin Stove, and the lightning rod, Franklin was a man of many gifts and of generous spirit--he was willing to share them. He developed one of the first lending libraries in the United States and was for a time Postmaster of Philadelphia.

If anyone deserved the title, "Father of his Country" it is probably Franklin who was well known for having some (perhaps many) children without benefit of marriage. Nevertheless, the man behind the name is immensely appealing, the kind of guest you would like to stay longer, although he advised us that "Fish and visitors stink after three days."

In case you can't tell, I really love Benjamin Franklin--indeed, almost as much as I admire George Washington and dislike the duplicity of Jefferson. Providence indeed graced our nation when it granted so great a man in an era of great men. This was one of the minds that forged a nation and a national consciousness--our debt to him is enormous--beyond reckoning.

So, Happy Birthday Mr. Franklin, and thank you for all you did for us. And though you might not have agreed in your time, praise God for the great gift He gave us in you. May you be enjoying His presence and continuing the good work you started here below.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the History category from January 2006.

History: September 2005 is the previous archive.

History: May 2006 is the next archive.

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