one point early on in his career the young Ben Franklin wrote out a list of
character attributes that he thought would be wise to refine during his
lifetime. He was very willing to admit his personal issues involving sexual
promiscuity. Therefore he felt if he were to write these desirable traits out
on paper and spend a few weeks developing their strengths within his own
personality, he would mature to be a very socially acceptable and exceptionally
popular gentleman in the Philadelphian community.
his master list were such points as diplomacy, industry, honesty and frugality.
The twelfth of his virtues was chastity. He showed them to a Quaker friend in
Philadelphia who told him that he had omitted one very important virtue –namely
officially fathered three children. A son named William (who was born out of
wedlock), and two daughters Sally and Francis both with his common law wife
Deborah Read. Francis died at the age of 6. His son William became integral to
the political world of the British King George III, and remained loyal
throughout the Revolutionary War. Sally remained vibrant in Franklin’s life
until his death in April 1790.
Franklin regularly formatted his opinions and philosophies in the writing of
his own original publication titled Poor
Richard’s Almanac. Many of his contemporaries falsely assumed that his
middle name was “Richard”. But his uncanny ability to make money at just about
every venture he went into proved that he was not very poor either. Many of the
homes throughout the New England colonies had just two primary reading sources;
the Bible and Poor Richard’s almanac. His publications including a newspaper
called The Gazette were often known
for their pithy quotes that were regularly
included in it. A few of these famous quotes were:
“Industry pays debts while despair
“God helps those that help
“There are no gains without pains”
reputation and businesses continued to grow over the years prior to 1776 as he
became more of an influence in moving the colonies toward revolution and
independence. Benjamin Franklin’s Gazette was not quite 50 years old when the
Declaration of Independence was printed on the front page. This, the first
concrete sign of a free American government, set the stage for over 200 years
of history writing by the free exchange of ideas.
Franklin had a unique ability to bring others into his ideas and then mentor
then in his civil and scientific projects, leaving them to carry on without
him. He initiated many civil developments within the city of Philadelphia. Many
were “firsts” in the nation. Many of these established institutions continue to
this day as normal and necessary aspects and integral parts of the American
lifestyle at large.
He helped initiate a public library system
books could be borrowed by the common people of the city. He also help to
establish the first metropolitan style police department and fire department.
He founded the first fire insurance company in 1752 as well as the first higher
learning academy which we now know as the University of Pennsylvania. His work
as a statesman probably had the most immediate impact on the events of the 18th
 Litz, Robert
Franklin: Citizen of the World (A&E Networks 1994 DVD) quote by
Whitfield J. Bell Jr.
American Revolution–The Conflict Ignites (History Channel Documentary,1994
Jacquelyn S. The Presidents (Indianapolis,
Indiana. Curtis Publishing Company,
Who Changed the World (Australia, Igloo Books Ltd, 2010) p.63