Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy birthday Dr. Franklin

A brief note of tribute in honor of the 300th birthday of the first American, Dr. Benjamin Franklin: We all know Franklin invented the lightning rod, discovered the currents of electricity, and negotiated the alliance with the French that helped secure American independence. He also helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris that ended the War of Independence. Before the war, he was the Colonial legate in London. After it, he was President of Pennsylvania and played host to the Constitutional Convention in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Perhaps Franklin’s greatest contribution to America was something that older cultures already had, the native proverb. Franklin published many witty sayings in Poor Richard’s Almanack that we take for granted today without thinking of where they came from. Proverbial statements like “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and “guests, like old food, sour after three days” are straight out of Franklin sans Poor Richard.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Franklin.


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