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Hi, I'm Christina Hartman for about.com and in this video we're taking a look at scientist, inventor and diplomat Benjamin Franklin. Featured on America's largest U.S. bank note, the 100 dollar bill, Franklin is one of the founding fathers of the United States, signing the Declaration of Independence.Benjamin Franklin was born in January of 1706 in Boston as the tenth son to soap maker, Josiah Franklin. His father could not afford a proper education for Franklin. However Benjamin loved to read and so he was sent to work as an apprentice with his brother James, who was a printer. While there he composed pamphlets and would sell their work in the streets. When Franklin was 15 years old, his brother started the first newspaper in Boston, The New England Courant. His brother would not let Franklin write for the paper so Ben began writing secret letters to publish in the newspaper. When he was 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia and found work in a printing house and later as a clerk and shopkeeper. In 1729, Franklin bought the newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette. As Franklin wrote for and printed the publication, it became one of the most widely-read in the colonies. Franklin later also published the ben. The almanac contained weather forecasts, household tips, and puzzles. It was immensely popular, printing around 10,000 copies per year.Throughout his life, Benjamin Franklin also took to science and inventions. Among his inventions — bifocal glasses and the iron furnace stove, a heat efficient stove for cooking and to help keep houses warm. He also invented swim fins, a glass armonica and an odometer.But perhaps his best known area of investigation — electricity. In order to test his hypothesis that lightning bolts are powerful electrical currents, he conducted his famous key and kite experiment during a thunderstorm. That paved the way for the invention of the lightning rod.Through his publications Franklin covered politics and philosophy, and his 1754 "Join, or Die," is widely considered the first American political cartoon. A November 1765 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette protested the Stamp Act provisions. Together with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, he helped craft a model of representational democracy. As a member of the Continental Congress, Franklin helped craft the Articles of Confederation and helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.In 1785 Franklin was elected President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. One of his last public acts was signing a memorial to Congress as president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.Franklin died in April of 1790 at the age of 84. It's reported some 20,000 people attended his funeral.That's a look at Ben Franklin. Thanks for watching. For more information, visit About.com. 
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