Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat, and signatory to the Declaration of Independence, earning the title of "The First American.” He was also foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment.
As a scientist, Franklin was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity, proposing that "vitreous" and "resinous"electricity were not different types of "electrical fluid,” but the same electrical fluid under different pressures. He was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively, and the first to discover the principle of conservation of charge, constructing the first ever electrical battery. He also invented lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove.
Franklin collected medical data to determine clinical trends and outcomes, attempting to understand how a healthy body and mind could best be maintained by diet, exercise and improved air quality, and printed self-help medical books. He also helped establish America's first medical school.
Franklin played the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He also composed music, and improved the glass harmonica.
Franklin was an avid chess player, the first chess player known by name in the American colonies. His essay on "The Morals of Chess" is the second known writing on chess in America.
Franklin was a statesman, going to London to plead for the rights of the American provinces, and a fair taxation scheme for them, and was the first United States Ambassador to France.
Franklin facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.
Franklin became wealthy publishing "Poor Richard's Almanack."
Married with children