January 17, 1706 â€“ April 17, 1790 Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, Benjamin Franklin was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass â€˜armonicaâ€™. He facilitated many civic organizations, including a fire department and a university. Franklin earned the title of â€œThe First Americanâ€ for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity; as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies, then as the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was 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 theEnlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, â€œIn a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat.â€ To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin â€œthe most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.â€ Franklin, always proud of his working class roots, became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies. He was also partners with William Goddard and Joseph Galloway the three of whom published thePennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the British monarchy in the American colonies. He became wealthy publishing Poor Richardâ€™s Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin gained international renown as a scientist for his famous experiments in electricity and for his many inventions, especially the lightning rod. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. Quotes Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants. Honesty is the best policy. Well done is better than well said. How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them. There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means â€“ either may do â€“ the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.