On APRIL 17, 1790, the son of a poor candle-maker died. The 15th of 17 children, he apprenticed as a printer and published a popular almanac. He retired at age 42, then taught himself five languages, invented the rocking chair, bifocal glasses and the lighting rod, which earned him degrees from Harvard and Yale. He helped found the University of Pennsylvania, a hospital, America’s first postal system and fire department. He became the governor of Pennsylvania, signed the Declaration of Independence and called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention. He was president of America’s first anti-slavery society.
His name was Ben Franklin.
In his Poor Richard’s Almanac, May 1757, Ben Franklin wrote:
Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow.
In a pamphlet for Europeans titled Information to Those Who Would Remove to America, 1754, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems…pleased to favor the whole country.
Self-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.