Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was a US statesman, author and scientist, and was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His life is of importance because of the part he played in securing the independence of the United States and in establishing it as a nation. Distinguish as a statesman, he was equally great as a Philosopher, thus uniting in himself a rare degree of excellence in both these pursuits, to excel in either or which is deemed the highest praise. He set up a printing house in Philadelphia, bought the Pennsylvania Gazette (1729), and built a reputation as a journalist. In 1736 he became clerk of the Assembly, in 1737 postmaster of Philadelphia, and in 1754 deputy postmaster-general for the colonies, and was sent on various diplomatic missions to England. In 1746, he began his research into electricity, proving that lightning and electricity are identical, and suggesting that buildings be protected by lightning conductors. In 1775, he was actively involved, in framing the Declaration of Independence. A skilled negotiator, he successfully won Britain's recognition of US independence (1783). He was US minister in Paris until 1785, then three times president of the State of Pennsylvania. In 1788, he retired from public life and died in Philadelphia. In Franklin's autobiography is offered not so much a ready-made formula for success, as the companionship of a real flesh and blood man of extraordinary mind and quality, whose daily walk and conversation will help us to meet our difficulties, much as does the example of a wise and strong friend. While we are fascinated by the story, we absorb the human experience through which a strong and helpful character is building.