Benjamin Franklin: America's Crazy Uncle

benfThere is no doubt that Benjamin Franklin is one of America's treasures. He was a founding father who loved this country, everything that it was and everything that it could be. He was willing to give over his entire life to make sure that the infant nation became the strongest and most free in all the world. He also loved the drink and the ladies and at times seemed a bit off in the head. We love him anyway. Benjamin Franklin has always walked the thin line between amazing genius and lucky crackpot.

Forget the wacky tabacky and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" if you really want to blow your mind read his autobiography. The man will astonish, confuse, embarrass and confound you all at once.

His accomplishments are unbelievable and overwhelming:

  • US Minister to France during the Revolution. He secured an alliance with France which was crucial to winning the war and allowing the country a chance to even exist.

  • Drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence

  • Signed the Constitution of the United Sates

  • Invented bifocals

  • US Minister to Sweden

  • First US Postmaster General

  • Invented the lightning rod

  • Invented the Odometer

  • Formed the first public lending library in the US

  • Founded the first fire department

  • Abolitionist

  • Writer- Poor Richard's Almanack

  • There is so much more.  He did not however, discover electricity. He did prove that lightning was electrical but not likely with the kite and key experiment as believed. Franklin also refused to have any of his inventions patented because he believed that it was important for scientists to be able to work off of each other's ideas.

    Franklin was not a Christian but was a self described Deist. Believing that "God's truth can be found entirely through nature and reason."

    He is believed to have suffered from syphilis and publicly acknowledged an illegitimate son named William who was a loyalist that later settled in England for fear of execution. Franklin was one of the most outspoken supporters of  the execution of Loyalists after the war.

    In his autobiography he spelled out his 13 Virtues but insisted that you need only focus on one at a time and "leave all others to ordinary chance."

    He is also known for the following sayings:

    "Beware the young doctor and the old barber."

    "Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

    "Fish and visitors smell in three days."

    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

    Benjamin Franklin has to be one of the most influential American's ever. It's sad that while Christopher Columbus (a man who never set foot on this continent) is given a National Holiday a man who has had such an important impact on the entire world is overlooked.

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