Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words...

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Sections: Introduction - A Cause For Revolution - Break With Britain - Continental Congress
Treaty of Paris - The New Republic - Scientist and Inventor - Printer and Writer - Epitaph

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Benjamin Franklin Selected Chronology

1706 Born in Boston on January 17

1718 Apprenticed as a printer to brother James

1723 Leaves Boston for Philadelphia

1729 Acquires Philadelphia newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette; son William born

1730 Marries Deborah Read

1731 Founds Library Company of Philadelphia, first subscription library

1732 Publishes first issue of Poor Richard's Almanack; son Francis is born

1736 Organizes Philadelphia's first volunteer fire company; Francis dies

1743 Daughter Sarah is born

1744 Markets Franklin fireplace or "stove"

1750 Helps establish the Academy of Philadelphia, later the University of Pennsylvania

1751 Elected to Pennsylvania Assembly

1752 Pennsylvania Hospital opens with Franklin's support

1753 Appointed deputy British postmaster of North America

1757 Goes to London as agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly

1762 Returns to Philadelphia; son William is appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey

1764 Goes to London with petition for Royal Government for Pennsylvania

1766 Supports repeal of Stamp Act before the British House of Commons

1774 Denounced by British government and dismissed as postmaster; Deborah Franklin dies

1775 Returns to Philadelphia; elected delegate to Second Continental Congress; drafts Articles of Confederation for the United States

1776 Helps write Declaration of Independence; sails to France as United States minister

1778 Signs treaties of alliance and friendship with France

1782 Helps negotiate Treaty of Paris with Great Britain to end American Revolution

1784 Invents bifocals

1785 Returns to Philadelphia; chosen president of Pennsylvania

1787 Serves as delegate to Federal Constitutional Convention

1790 Petitions Congress for end to slavery; dies on April 17

Read More About It

Brands, H.W. The First American: the Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Doubleday, 2000.

Dray, Philip. Stealing God's Thunder. Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America. New York: Random House, 2005.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Second Edition. Foreword by Edmund S. Morgan. New Haven: Yale Nota Bene/Yale University Press, 2003.

Humes, James C. The Wit & Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. A Treasury of More Than 900 Quotations and Entertaining Anecdotes. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.

Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Lemay, J.A. Leo, ed. Franklin: Writings. New York: Library of America, 1987.

Middlekauff, Robert. Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Morgan, Edmund. Benjamin Franklin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.

Shiff, Stacy. A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2005.

Talbott, Page, ed. Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004.

For younger readers:

Fradin, Dennis Brindell and John O'Brien (illustrator). Who Was Benjamin Franklin? New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2002

Fritz, Jean and Margot Tomes (illustrator). What's The Big Idea, Ben Franklin? New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 1996.

Giblin, James Cross and Michael Dooling (illustrator). The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin. Scholastic, Inc., 2006.

Lawson Robert. Ben and Me: A New and Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin As Written by His Good Mouse Amos. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1939 [Reprinted, 1988].

Satterfield Kathryn Hoffman. Benjamin Franklin (Time for Kids Series). New York: Harpers Collins Children's Books, 2005.

Schanzer, Rosalyn. How Ben Franklin Stole Lightning. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 2003.

Stevenson, Augusta and Ray Quigley (illustrator). Benjamin Franklin: Young Printer (Childhood of Famous Americans Series). Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1983.

On the Web:

Benjamin Franklin: A Documentary History, by J.A. Leo Lemay. University of Delaware: 1997. www.english.udel.edu/lemay/franklin/

The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary. Administered by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission. The site includes "Ben Across the Curriculum," a set of interdisciplinary lesson plans, keyed to appropriate national standards, that expand upon and interpret the five central themes highlighted in the official tercentenary exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. Philadelphia: 2005. www.benfranklin300.org

Franklin Institute, Philadelphia -- dedicated to science and technology education. Franklin Institute is also the national memorial to Benjamin Franklin. www.fi.edu

Benjamin Franklin. A PBS companion website to a program produced by Twin Cities Public Television in cooperation with Middlemarch Films, 2002. www.pbs.org/benfranklin

Teacher Institutes on Benjamin Franklin