I.Q. of Famous People

RANDOM QUOTE: "A skunk is better company than a person who prides himself on being ´frank.´ ? The Notebooks of Lazarus Long" --- Robert A. Heinlein

Benjamin Franklin

Born: 1706
Died: 1790
Nationality: USA
Description: Writer, scientist & politician
IQ: 160
Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790), scholar and American politician, who played a key role in the birth of the USA.

Born in Boston, he was the tenth son and the fifteenth child of a family of modest means. Printer worker, he made his education after work at the workshop. Self-taught, influenced by Joseph Addison and his newspaper the Spectator, he began to write in the New England Courant, newspaper launched by his brother James Franklin in 1721. His articles attracted the attention of the governor of Pennsylvania and was then sent to London where he wrote From freedom and the need for pleasure and punishment in 1724. Back in America, Franklin bought the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, founded a printing plant in Philadelphia in 1730 and began publishing under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders, Poor Richard's Almanack, to spread education amongst the people (1732). Affiliated with a Masonic lodge, Franklin multiplied humanists initiatives, created an association based on free discussion, the "junta", he also created the first public library of the settlements and the American Philosophical Society (1743).

Curious of all things, he was also passionately interested in science. In 1744, he invented the "chimney to the Franklin," a heating. Studying the electrical phenomena, he discovered the role of insulation and proved that lightning was electricity, using a kite, in 1752. Franklin was also the inventor of the lightning rod.

Elected to the Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1747, Franklin will be at the origin of numerous measures for public benefit that were adopted such as the foundation of colleges and hospitals, the creation of a militia and a fire-fighters group. In 1753, he was appointed General Master of British Posts in America. The following year, delegated to the Congress of Albany, he proposed a union of colonies, an idea that was then rejected. Chosen to defend the interests of Pennsylvania in London in 1757, he managed to revoke the Stamp Act, which prohibited the colonies to decide for themselves on their taxes (1763). During his stay, he became friend with many scientists and philosophers, including the chemist Joseph Priestley, the philosopher David Hume and the economist, Adam Smith.

Although initially favourable to King George III of England, he abandoned him when taxes on tea and sugar were imposed on the U.S. economy and therefore, he supported the draft independence of the colonies. His pamphlets from 1773, “Rules to make a great state a small one” and “Edict of King of Prussia”, had a tremendous impact.

Leaving London in 1775, he was greeted triumphantly in Philadelphia and was elected deputy for the Pennsylvania Continental Congress. After helping General George Washington during the War of Independence, he was one of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence (1776).

Assigned to seek the assistance of France, Franklin went to Paris where he met Louis XVI and Turgot, but also Robespierre and Danton. His simplicity and bonhomie conquered the Parisian salons. With Mirabeau, he wrote “The considerations on the order of Cincinnati”. Powered by La Fayette, he concluded in 1778 a treaty of friendship between France and the USA, then got the dispatch of an army, a fleet and considerable financial assistance. Franklin was then appointed by the Congress Plenipotentiary Minister of the USA in France.

In 1781, without consulting France, he signed the preliminaries of peace with England. The Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed at Versailles, officially ended the war.

Returning to America in 1785, Franklin was appointed chairman of the executive council of Pennsylvania and then elected delegate to the Convention tasked with drafting the Constitution of the USA (1787). The following year he retired from public life.

Skilled diplomat, Franklin was able to get, beyond a capital of sympathy, the material means that his country needed to exist. Active Humanist, he gave his political action a social orientation which resulted in the achievements of value. Inventive scientific, it also brought to humanity several useful discoveries.

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