What Jobs Did Ben Franklin Have?

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Benjamin Franklin held an extremely diverse set of jobs throughout his life, including printer, writer, inventor and civil servant. During the Revolutionary era, Franklin further served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and then as one of the aspiring republic’s most important diplomats abroad. He also aided in the drafting of the Constitution towards the end of his life.

Franklin’s first job was as an assistant to his father’s candle-making business, a task which seems to have bored him. Franklin then moved into the printing business, first working under his brother and then plying the trade in Philadelphia. Franklin’s work as an inventor rested mainly in electrical theory, a passion perhaps best exemplified by his famous kite experiment. Additionally, Franklin tried his hand at entrepreneurship with the development of the Franklin stove. Throughout his adult life, Franklin was busy writing letters, pamphlets and other literature, some of the most notable being his infamous “Silence Dogood” letters and the financially lucrative “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

In the 1730’s, Franklin’s wealth and prestige increased due to the addition of several real estate ventures and his appointment to the Pennsylvania state assembly and the position of postmaster general of Philadelphia. At the outset of the Revolution, Franklin was a key figure in the Continental Congress, pushing for the independence agenda and helping to draft the Declaration of Independence itself. During the war, Franklin was the fledgling United States’ key ambassador to France and was instrumental in securing its financial and military intervention in support of the American cause. After the war, Franklin was also a leading delegate to the Constitutional Convention, the entity that ultimately produced the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Franklin was busy to the end of his life writing, seeing former colleagues and serving the abolitionist cause in Philadelphia. He died in 1790, aged 84.