Colonial America Ben Franklin

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    Benjamin FranklinBy Cathy Pearl

    There are many people who havehelped the United States. One of thesepeople was Benjamin Franklin. BenFranklin helped the United States whenthey were at war. He also invented manythings. People still use some of thesethings today. He helped the United Statesbecome a great nation.

    Ben Franklin was born in 1706. Hisfather's name was Josiah. He made candles

    and soap. His mother was Abiah Folger.Josiah was married twice. He hadseventeen children. Ben was the fifteenth. He was the youngest boy.

    Ben was eight when he started school. He only went to school fortwo years. His father didn't have any money to pay for moreschooling. He stayed at home and read many books. This was howhe learned new things.

    Ben went to live with his brother when he was twelve. James wasa printer. Ben helped his brother with his newspaper. Ben would sellthe paper. This helped Ben learn how to be a printer. He worked hardeveryday. Ben stayed with his brother until he was 17.

    In 1729, Ben Franklin bought a newspaper. It was called ThePennsylvania Gazette. He was 23. He printed the paper. Soon, itbecame the most successful newspaper in the colonies.

    In 1732, he started an almanac. An almanac is printed every year.Almanacs have a lot of information. They tell about calendars andweather. Ben also included sayings that people liked. Ben Franklin'salmanac was very popular. Today, it would be called a best seller.He wrote it every year for 25 years.

    Ben Franklin was not just a writer. He was also an inventor. Oneday, Ben decided he was sick of putting his glasses on every time he

    needed to read. He invented the bifocal lens. He cut two lenses inhalf and put them in the same frame. Then he didn't have to worryabout putting on or taking off his glasses.

    It was dangerous to heat a house in Colonial America. Mostpeople used the fireplace. Fireplaces often made a house fill withsmoke. They also burned a lot of wood. He invented a stove that wassafer to use. It also used less wood. This invention is called theFranklin stove.

    This wasn't the only way that Ben Franklin made homes safer. Heinvented the lightning rod. It helped to keep houses from starting onfire. It is still used today. He organized a fire department inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the first fire department in the city.Ben Franklin also started an insurance company. This companyhelped people after a fire. The company is still in business today.

    Benjamin Franklin wanted America to be free. He didn't want thecolonies to be part of England. He signed the Declaration ofIndependence. In 1776, he went to France. America needed help

    from France to win the Revolutionary War. Ben Franklin talkedFrance into helping. They sent guns and supplies. France's help wasvery important. France helped America win the war.

    Benjamin Franklin died in 1790. He was 84 years old. He hasbeen remembered in many ways. His picture was on a postage stamp.He is also on the $100 bill. Over 200 years later, he is still animportant man. Without him, the United States would be verydifferent today.

    Benjamin Franklin

    Questions

    1. What did Ben Franklin's father do for a living?

    A. He made candles and soap.B. He made boots.C. He made wagon wheels.

    2. How many years did Ben Franklin go to school?

    A. Three years

    B. Four yearsC. Two years

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    3. How old was Ben Franklin when he bought The PennsylvaniaGazette?

    A. 17

    B. 23C. 25

    4. Where did Ben Franklin go to get help during theRevolutionary War?

    A. AmericaB. EnglandC. France

    5. Name three of Ben Franklin's inventions.

    6. What is one thing that Ben Franklin's picture has been on?

    Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals and the Franklin stove. He alsostarted an insurance company and a fire department. Which of theseinventions do you think is the most important? Why?

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    Benjamin Franklin has been on the $100 bill and a postage stamp.Think of another way the United States could honor him. Describe it.