By Tim Lambert

Benjamin Franklin was a writer and diplomat. He was also an inventor. Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 17 January 1706. His father Josiah Franklin was a soap maker. Benjamin went to school for only a very short time. When he was 10 when he started work in his father's shop. Later Benjamin was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. Benjamin soon argued with James and in 1723 he went to Philadelphia where he found a job in a print shop. In 1724 Franklin then went to London to buy print equipment. He returned to Philadelphia in 1726 and shortly afterwards he started his own printing business. Benjamin Franklin prospered and in 1730 he bought a newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1732 he began publishing Poor Richard's Almanac. Meanwhile in 1730 Benjamin married a woman named Deborah Read.

Franklin was clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1736 to 1751. He was a member of the assembly from 1751 to 1764. He was deputy postmaster for the colonies from 1753 to 1774. Franklin also invented a kind of metal stove in 1742. In 1752 he carried out a famous experiment with a kite in a thunderstorm which proved lightning is a form of electricity. In 1757 Franklin went to England as a diplomat as relations between Britain and the North American colonies deteriorated. Franklin spent the years 1757-1762 and 1764-1775 in England. He returned to America in 1775. Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress and he signed the Declaration of Independence. At the end of 1776 Franklin was sent to France as a diplomat. France declared war on Britain in support of the colonies in 1778. Franklin returned to France in 1785. Benjamin Franklin died on 17 April 1790. He was 84.

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