The History Channel | Ben Franklin

Last night I watched The History Channel’s Ben Franklin. I thought it was very well done and I very much enjoyed watching it.

I did read his autobiography a number of years ago, so some of this information I knew already. Nonetheless, it was an informative and very human interpretation of a very remarkable man.

A few notes I took:

Franklin helped establish Philadelphia’s first Volunteer Fire Dept.
He started the nation’s first non-religious college.
He created the idea of a public lending library.
He mapped the Gulf Stream during his many trips from the Colonies to Europe.
Invented the home heating stove.
Invented bifocals.
Invented the glass harmonica.
Invented the lightening rod.
He wrote several songs and he loved singing.
Credited with creating the first political cartoon ever.
Helped makes sure the Constitution provided for a separation between church and state.

Also learned a new quote, which is now my favorite Franklin quote: Force shits on Reason’s back.

I recommend it (though he makes me feel like a total loser and layabout).

Tags: USA, american colonies, american revolution, benjamin franklin, history, inventions, the history channel

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Replies to This Discussion

You are so right. As Americans, we do not express the gratitude to him that he deserves. He was a remarkable man--very successful, and yet surprisngly unselfish. So unlike the men of today.
Complete and uneducated bullshit!

Totally agree. I think that is true, except for John Adams, though I can't be certain. I was watching a doc on Jefferson (which I haven't posted here yet), and I seem to vaguely remember that religion was a big source of contention between Jefferson and Adams, because Adams wanted religion to take a greater role.

Neeless to say, our FF didn't intend a lot of things, but that is why they left so much room for future adaptation in the Constitution, I think.
I know, that's amazing. They mentioned that in the DVD I mentioned above. If you've not seen it, I do recommend it: Thomas Jefferson: A film by Ken Burns.

However, I wonder sometimes if that info wasn't fudged a little. I mean if TJ died on the 3rd or 5th, you can completely understand why relatives would fudge the date a little, considering his role in in the DoI.

That kind of stuff happens. Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, died just a few days before Halloween, and that is when it was announced. Later, the CoS revised that to say he died on Halloween. I know this is way off topic here, but it is just an example to show how people can manipulate these things to create propaganda or legends.
I recently read "John Paul Jones" by Samuel Morison. Although the book is about John P Jones, there was some interaction between Jones and Franklin in Paris. Franklin was the ambassador and Jones was trying to get a new ship to go raid the English countryside. I am not sure how long Franklin stayed in France but that is a part of his work and life that we do not hear much about, if at all. On a side note, Jones' famous ship "Bonhomme Richard" translates as "poor richard".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bonhomme_Richard_%281765%29
I think Franklin was in Paris about 7 years. Thanks for the info, I was not familiar with JPJ at all.

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