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Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (January 17 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. Franklin was noted for his curiosity, writings, ingenuity and diversity of interests. His wise and scintillating writings are proverbial to this day. He shaped the American Revolution; a leader of the Enlightenment, he gained the recognition of scientists and intellectuals across Europe and the United States.

As an agent in London before the Revolution, and Minister to France during, he more than anyone defined the new nation in the minds of Europe. His success in securing French military and financial aid was the turning point for American victory over Britain. He invented the lightning rod; he was an early proponent of colonial unity; historians hail him as the "First American". The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania marked Franklin's 300th birthday in January 2006 with a wide array of exhibitions, and events citing Franklin's extraordinary accomplishments throughout his illustrious career.

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