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Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was the most famous American in his day. Wherever he went, crowds formed. People worldwide pictured Franklin when anyone said, "American."

The diversity that is the Internet may be epitomized by few people in history — Benjamin Franklin is one such person, commercially successful, ever concerned and involved with the public good, a great communicator, and a remarkable man of science and technology, finding practical effective solutions to real problems.

Trying to comprehend Benjamin Franklin's life and legacy is like trying to grab a shadow. Each time one tries to get a fix on the reflection, it darts away and grows even larger.

By turns pamphleteer, apprentice, printer, balladeer, inventor, philosopher, politician, soldier, firefighter, ambassador, family man, sage, delegate, signer, shopkeeper, bookseller, cartoonist, grandfather, anti-slavery agitator, Mason, and deist — he was all of the above and none of the above.

His great biographer Carl Van Doren called Franklin "a harmonious human multitude." As Franklin was an "electrician" also, we kept looking for a common current that defined him. From the time he was a teenager thinking about ways of education to the time he was an 83-year-old man agitating for abolition, the mainspring of the "human multitude" may well have been public service.

The remarkable Benjamin Franklin, a printer by trade, a scientist by fame, and a man of action by all accounts, continues to shape American thinking and action. The Independence Hall Association, owners of ushistory.org, has commissioned and assembled resources for you to explore the diversity that was Benjamin Franklin.

Each generation produces people who reshape their world. Benjamin Franklin was one such man.

Tell us you were here — Tell us your thoughts about Franklin.
KEY: good for homeworkHomework friendly readingGood Reading funFun VideoStreaming video panoramas360° VRML
A Tale of Benjamin Franklin's Family in the Days Leading up to The American Revolution. By Claude-Anne Lopez.
good for homeworkQUICK BIOGRAPHY
If you don't have time to read through the entire biography and autobiography, take a few minutes to get a helpful introduction to the man. Great for school reports.
good for homeworkTIMELINE
The when and whats of Benjamin Franklin in an easy-to-read format.
good for homeworkINVENTIONS
Franklin invented, discovered, and improved many things! Bifocals, the stove, lightning rod, and many more.
Learn about Franklin's Kite Experiment and learn about Franklin's work in the field of electricity.
What does Ben Franklin think of the Internet? We asked him. Ralph Archbold, the foremost Franklin portrayer, has the answers in this streaming video.
Learn all about Franklin by taking an acrostical tour of Philadelphia.
He said so many wise and wonderful things — here is a small sampling of about 80 of them!
Visit Franklin's print shop, the museum, the Franklin post office, even his privy pit!
Read the classic online in its entirety. This is a primary source.
This biographical work, written by historian Jared Sparks in the 19th century, continues Franklin's Autobiography.
In Benjamin Franklin's youth, he worked for his brother's newspaper. Read the famous Silence Dogood pieces and the full text of the newspaper. This is a primary source.
Enjoy this collection of articles about Benjamin Franklin.
Experiments to do at home, games to play, and puzzles to solve. Franklin said, "After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser."
Who are the people behind this website?
good for homeworkPICTURE GALLERY
There are well over 100 pictures and illustrations on this website. Some of the best are gathered together on one page.
There are other Benjamin Franklin resources on the Internet worth your time to visit.

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