Benjamin Franklin

Amelia Law and Hannah Fleming

Background Information

Born January 17, 1706 in Boston Massachusetts - Died April 17, 1790

Education: Self-taught, apprenticed as a printer. Honorary Doctor of Laws, Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. Franklin had no formal education beyond the age of 10, yet later he was worshipped wherever his name was known. Young Benjamin was an avid reader, inquisitive and skeptical. He established one of the first newspapers in the American colonies. Franklin also founded the Philadelphia Academy, a secondary school that opened in 1751. This school followed Franklin's instructional curriculum that emphasized the more practical subjects such as modern languages, agriculture, accounting, etc. rather than the more traditional classical education such as employed by the Latin grammar schools.

Ben & the Age of Enlightenment

Ben Franklin was a key leader during the Age of Enlightenment. He invented many things, including the lightning rod, Franklin Stove, bifocal glasses, the odometer, and the flexible urinary catheter. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and the first president of the American Philosophical Society.

The University of Pennsylvania & The Impact On Education

A young Ben Franklin helped launch the Library Company, America's first subscription library, in 1731, and organized Philadelphia's Union Fire Company, modeled after Boston's, in 1736. The Philadelphia Fire Department traces its roots to Franklin's company.


Perhaps Franklin's greatest and most enduring creation is America's first university, the University of Pennsylvania. His 1749 pamphlet, "Proposals Relatiing to the Educationof Youth in Pensilvania," proposed a charter "with Power to erect an ACADEMY for the Education of Youth, to govern the same, provide Masters, make Rules, receive Donations, purchase Lands, and to add to their Number, from Time to Time such other Persons as they shall judge suitable."


His proposals became the basis for the Academy, College and Charitable School of Philadelphia, the forbearer to Penn. Franklin, president of the Academy, College and Charitable School from 1749 to 1755, hired the University's first provost, William Smith, and served on the Board of Trustees from 1749 until his death in 1790. Twenty thousand people are said to have attended his funeral.

MLA Citations

Ushistory.org. "Benjamin Franklin." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/franklin.htm.


Gelbrich, Judy. "American Education." American Education. OSU - School of Education, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. <http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/ed416/ae2.html>.


Wikipedia. "Benjamin Franklin." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin.


"Our Founder." Upenn.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2014. http://www.upenn.edu/about/founder.php.