ben_franklinIt really is all about the Benjamins today, or at least one of them on


We know him, we love him, we learned all about him in school, and we covet his portrait on the hundred dollar bill.

The oldest Founding Founder was the one with the youngest mind. In his long life, Ben Franklin was a printer, publisher, writer, scientist, inventor, activist, politician, postmaster and diplomat who became an international celebrity as one of the main players in the biggest story ever, The American Revolution.

When he wasn’t busy making scientific, literary and political history, he founded fire departments, libraries and universities. He was also a former slaveholder who freed his slaves and became an outspoken abolitionist. Not only that, but by many reports old Ben was a world class womanizer too, who openly acknowledged and raised his illegitimate son, whose mother was never named, with his family. When did the man sleep?

Born in Boston on January 17, 1706, one of 10 children, Franklin’s family could only afford two years of school for the boy, and he learned the rest by insatiable reading, studying and experimentation. He let his curiosity take his mind where it would, and it took him to Philadelphia, London, Paris, revolution and the history books. This lifelong British subject lived his last few years as a free citizen in perhaps his greatest invention, The United States of America.

•Suggested Activities: Mailing letters, putting on your bifocals, switching on the electric light and reading Poor Richard’s Almanac by the heat of your Franklin Stove.

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