Although Ben Franklin was born in Boston, the city of Philadelphia was known as his home. Benjamins father wanted him to go into the clergy. Clergymen require years of school and Bens father could only afford to send him for one year. During his youth, Ben worked as an apprentice in his brothers printing and newspaper businesses.
Even though Ben had kept the newspaper going while his brother was in prison, his brother harassed and beat him when he was released. For his own safety, Ben ran away to Philadelphia. Getting started in his own business was difficult, but Ben managed to open his own print shop. He married his childhood sweetheart and together they ran the print shop, a general store, and a book store.
In 1729, Benjamin bought a newspaper, The Pennslyvania Gazette. He contributed articles under aliases and created the first political cartoon. Just a few years later, in 1733, Ben began to write and publish Poor Richards Almanac. Keeping to his strong civic convictions, Ben launched projects to pave, clean, and light Philadelphias streets. Later, he started the first fire department in the city, and founded an insurance company for those who lost homes in fires.
Making a decision to retire from business in 1749, Ben started concentrating on science, experiments, and inventions. Never one to give up, Ben invented swim fins, bifocals, the Franklin stove, and other things. Observations, such as his kite experiment, led to the discovery of electricity. Politics became an active interest for Franklin and he spent the next 18 years in England as a colonial representative.
Quitting his London position, Franklin returned to America where he worked on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Right after his wife died, Franklin moved to France where he served as an ambassador. Speaking a little French, Franklin became with the ladies and was a notorious flirt. The Treaty of France was signed by Franklin in 1783, after the Americans had won the Revolution.
Until his late seventies, Franklin stayed in France. Finally he returned to America. Voters elected Franklin to the Executive council of Pennsylvania. While serving as a delegate, Franklin signed the Constitution. eXactly why he died is not known, but Franklin passed away in 1790 at the age of 84.
Years of public service had made Franklin very popular. Over 20,000 people attended his funeral. Zealous supporters say that Franklins electric personality still lights the world. Information and images in this presentation are from: http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/