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Benjamin Franklin texrip

B. 1706

Benjamin Franklin was a renowned inventor, diplomat, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Translation: he was a rock star of the age.

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston in 1706, the 10th son of a soap-maker. Ten sons! I guess his parents couldn't afford a television. And also, there was no television.

He began working for his brother in 1718, as an apprentice printer. However, their relationship was rocky, particularly after the elder Franklin found out that young Benjamin had been writing for the paper under a pseudonym—Silence Dogood—and writing an extremely popular column at that. (Human nature being what it is, the fact that the column was popular was probably the bigger problem.)

Benjamin ran away in 1723, and headed for Philadelphia, where he continued his career in printing and writing, eventually buying The Pennsylvania Gazette. The business, I mean—not just a copy. That would have been one of his lesser achievements. He stayed in Philadelphia for most of his life—that is, when he wasn't making extended trips to Europe.

Franklin had a talent for persuasion, and that made him an ideal diplomat. In 1757 he went to London to represent Pennsylvania in an ongoing legal battle with the Penn family. It was the first of several extended political trips to Britain, and he would act as the state representative for Massachusetts, Georgia, and New Jersey as well. In fact, Franklin was in Europe for most of the Revolution, though he was in the colonies to help with the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

Franklin was a vocal opponent of British impositions on the colonies (like the Stamp Act), and although he first fought for the rights of Colonists as British citizens he eventually became convinced (like many of the founding fathers) that independence was the only real solution. Unfortunately, Franklin's change of heart made him clash with his son, William—who served as the Royal Governor of New Jersey. William remained an active Loyalist—the father and son never spoke again.

When he wasn't founding a new nation (and destroying his family in the process) Franklin was a scientist, inventing things like bifocals and more efficient wood stoves when he wasn't mapping the Gulf Stream and discovering how electricity worked. (What have YOU done today? Made yourself a microwave meal and sat about in your underwear. Oh well done, you.)

He was also quite the ladykiller—Jesus. This guy—carrying on several 'friendships' with women while he was in Europe. The records don't say what exactly they saw in him—certainly not his looks. Maybe women like a man who's intelligent.

(If that was true I wouldn't be here. I'd be in Portugal surrounded by them, and you'd be looking at a blank screen.)