How did Ben Franklin get so smart

Benjamin Franklin - 300th birthday of the native American

The United States celebrated the 300th birthday of one of its greatest statesmen. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He later fought against slavery and for the independence of the United States of America. He also discovered the Gulf Stream "on the side" and invented the lightning rod. Today his cunning head adorns the 100 dollar banknote.


Benjamin Franklin is still considered a shining example for many Americans. The 15th child of a soap and candle maker, who only went to school until he was ten, has become a clever scientist, successful businessman and important politician.

Benjamin Franklin did not have an easy start in life. After his short schooling, he had to toil in the printing shop of his half-brother James at the age of twelve. But after work he studied hard and absorbed the knowledge from books. He was convinced that he could achieve a lot in his life.

When he was 17, Benjamin Franklin got such a big argument with his half-brother that he left Boston for Philadelphia. There he earned his living as a printer for a year. When he had saved enough, he traveled to London for two years to get into the newspaper business. After his return to America he had gained enough experience to take over the management of a rather small newspaper, the "Pennsylvania Gazette". The paper quickly became one of the most widely read newspapers in Philadelphia. Franklin also wrote poems and books, which he had also printed with great success. The son of a penniless candle maker had become an influential businessman.

Commitment to his fellow citizens

Benjamin Franklin wasn't just thinking about himself and his own career, however. He wanted other hardworking people to have the chance to make something of their lives. And so he wrote the book, Suggestions for Educating the Youth in Pennsylvania, and set up America's first public lending library. He took care of street cleaning and street lighting and worked to ensure that a voluntary fire brigade could be established and hospitals expanded. He organized the school system and founded a teaching academy that later became the University of Pennsylvania.

No wonder Franklin was very popular and was elected to the House of Representatives by the Pennsylvania people in 1751. At first he worked with the British, who were still the colonial rulers at the time. This means that the country in America was ruled from England. In 1775, however, there was a dispute with the English colonial rulers. Since then, Benjamin Franklin has campaigned for the independence of his country.

Franklin and US independence

On July 4, 1776, Benjamin Franklin and 54 other MPs signed the United States' Declaration of Independence. He was part of a group of four who helped draft this important document. The 13 former British colonies in North America declared that they were breaking away from England. Today, every year on July 4th, Americans still celebrate the day their country became independent.

At that time, of course, the English did not recognize that "their" country simply wanted to split off from them. That is why a violent war had broken out a few years earlier. Benjamin Franklin succeeded in gaining a powerful ally in France. The American-French military and trade alliance was so successful that Great Britain lost the war and had to recognize the independence of the United States in 1783.

Now the young state still needed a constitution. Benjamin Franklin was one of the people who drafted the liberal constitution. When the 13 federal states could not agree on how they could still enforce their own interests in the confederation, Franklin had the saving idea. The parliament was divided into two parts. Since then, the Senate has represented the interests of the individual states and the House of Representatives the interests of the entire state.

A universal genius

Benjamin Franklin, however, was not only a successful businessman and one of the most important politicians in the United States, he was also an eminent researcher. When he worked for the British Crown, he was responsible for delivering mail between England and America. It struck him that the mail ships on the way across the Atlantic Ocean were much faster in one direction than in the other. Franklin investigated the cause and discovered one of the strongest ocean currents on earth: the Gulf Stream. Of course, the ships that sail to Europe and are powered by electricity are significantly faster than ships that have to fight it.

Franklin was also fascinated by the forces of nature. Lightning struck again and again in houses, which at that time were mostly not made of stone, but of wood. As a result, bad fires often broke out, destroying entire districts. Benjamin Franklin discovered that lightning was a strong electrical discharge and invented the first lightning rod to protect homes in 1752.

Until shortly before his death, Franklin also fought as president of the "Society for the Abolition of Slavery" for the USA to become the land of freedom not only for whites, but for all people. Many Americans consider him - alongside George Washington - to be the most important founding father. In their eyes he is the first real American. There is a saying about him: "He snatched lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants." The torn lightning alludes to the lightning rod, of course, and the "tyrants" refer to the English colonial rulers who ruled America until its declaration of independence. Benjamin Franklin died in Pennsylvania on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84.