What Is Benjamin Franklin Famous For?

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Benjamin Franklin is a historical figure that the average American student learns about more than once in school. Although he was never a President, he was a huge political player in America’s fight for independence, so he’s found his way into the history books. Although he is not to be confused with Thomas Edison, he invented quite a few things and made significant scientific discoveries. 

Benjamin Franklin lived a long life filled with a wide variety of accomplishments.  All of this begs the question: What exactly is Benjamin Franklin famous for? No, he was not a plumber. 

Benjamin Franklin Was a Founding Father

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Benjamin Franklin was very involved in the political movements that helped create the United States of America as we know it today. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention. This group of delegates eventually formed the Constitution, although the original purpose of the meeting was to edit the Articles of Confederation. 

Prior to helping establish how America would be governed, Benjamin Franklin is famous for his extensive involvement in establishing America’s independence from British colonial rule. He also signed the Declaration of Independence that helped start the Revolutionary War and the Treaty of Paris, which helped to put an end to it. During the War, Franklin also signed the Treaty of Alliance With France. This document made France’s military support for the American cause official, and it was pivotal in the fight for independence.

The Founding Fathers were a group of men who took a leading role in writing, fighting, and speaking to establish independence and build the necessary foundations for the new nation. It is a notable task to be a Founding Father, and Benjamin Franklin carries even greater notoriety than his counterparts. Franklin went down in history as the only founding father to sign the Declaration of Independence, both French treaties, and the U.S. Constitution. You could say he was an overachiever!

Benjamin Franklin Was a Diplomat

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After America gained independence, Benjamin Franklin became officially recognized as the First American Minister. At that time, he was serving the country in France, but his work as a diplomat began much earlier than that appointment.

Most of us remember the phrase “no taxation without representation” from American history class. Long before the colonists were ready to rebel against Britain, Benjamin Franklin was elected by the colonists of Pennsylvania to travel to London. Franklin was to skillfully express how upset the colonists were about the unfair taxes imposed upon them. Although Franklin, who was also an author, was known for having a way with words, those who know history know that even his skillful words did not cause change.

Franklin was pivotal in gaining French support for the American cause during the Revolutionary War. He spent much time in France building key relationships with influential members of the French government. He spent so much time in France that he eventually built a home of his own near Paris. These efforts did win support, and the resulting military alliance with France helped America win the Revolutionary War. 

After America became a nation of its own, Benjamin Franklin was officially appointed as an American Minister to France. He continued to serve as an ambassador to France until Thomas Jefferson, who would later go on to be President, took over the role for him. 

Benjamin Franklin Was an Author

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Outside of his political career, Benjamin Franklin owned a printing business. As an educated and creative man, he also had a knack for writing. After he wrote, published, and distributed an essay on the benefits of using paper money, Franklin’s business won contracts to be the official money printer for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. He also published a popular newspaper called the Pennsylvania Gazette, and he wrote some journalistic articles for the paper. 

As far as writing is concerned, Benjamin Franklin’s most famous work is Poor Richard’s Almanack. An almanac is an annual book that includes a calendar as well as predictions for the weather and tide patterns. These books would have been especially important to people in Franklin’s time because much of the population depended on farming to survive. There wasn’t exactly a morning weather show to tune into, so people relied on almanacs to plan their farming schedule. 

Poor Richard’s Almanack was written under the pen name of Richard Saunders. In Franklin’s day, many believed that he and Richard Saunders were the same person, and the secret is certainly out today. This annual book really shows Benjamin Franklin’s sillier side. It had the usual weather and dates that readers expected, but these facts were interspersed between jokes, poems, stories, and even fake obituaries that kept readers buying a new book each year.

Benjamin Franklin Was a Scientist

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Benjamin Franklin was also an accomplished scientist and inventor.  Homes worldwide were heated with his patented Franklin stove, which was able to provide heat with less wood. Franklin was centuries ahead of his time in developing energy-efficient appliances. He also created an instrument called the armonica that Mozart and Beethoven played. People who wear glasses can also thank Benjamin Franklin because he invented bifocals, an innovative solution for people with multiple vision problems. 

Using a key and a kite in a lightning storm, he precariously proved that lightning carries electricity. He created one of the first maps of the gulf stream, and he casually wrote a paper with mostly correct suggestions for kicking the common cold. 

Why is Benjamin Franklin famous? That’s one loaded question! The multi-hyphenate founding father excelled in both his political career and his contributions to the arts and sciences. His name is indelibly marked in the history books for many reasons. He is famous for being an artist, diplomat, politician, scientist, and author. Beyond his political and scientific contributions, his work as an author made him a tastemaker of his time.