Besides keeping busy as a true Renaissance Man, Benjamin Franklin found time to help found The United States of America. He was born on this day in 1706.
Franklin was one of 10 children, born to a poor soap- and candle-maker in Boston. Ben was smart and industrious; alas, his father could only afford two years of schooling at Boston Latin for his son. Benjamin dropped out of school at ten and began working—first for his father, then as a printer’s apprentice with his brother. All the while, Franklin read voraciously, continuing his education independently.
Besides making a living as a printer, Benjamin Franklin was a political writer, inventor, abolitionist, diplomat, philosopher, postmaster, state governor, educational pioneer and serious student of the sciences.
Franklin’s contributions to the establishment of the U.S. are numerous. He is the only founding father to have signed all four of the country’s original founding documents.
While Franklin is known for encouraging temperance in food and drink, he struggled with his weight for years. He suffered from gout, a condition which (at that time) affected the wealthy who could afford plentiful, rich foods.
Benjamin Franklin died on 17 April 1790. He is buried in Philadelphia.
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