Benjamin Franklin

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention
Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Siffred Duplessis (c.1785) National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, NPG.87.43.

State: Pennsylvania (Born in Massachusetts)

Age at Convention: 81

Date of Birth: January 17, 1706

Date of Death: April 17, 1790

Schooling: Self Taught, Honorary L.L.D. Edinburgh 1759

Occupation: Inventor, Real Estate and Land Speculation, Lending and Investments, Publisher, Retired

Prior Political Experience: Governor of Pennsylvania 1785-1787, Clerk of Colonial Legislature 1736-1751, Member of Colonial Legislature 1751-1764, Deputy Post Master of Philadelphia 1735-1753, Deputy Post Master General of Colonies 1753-1774, Represented Pennsylvania at Albany Congress 1754, Negotiated Treaty of Paris 1783, Commissioner to France 1776-1785, Continental Congress 1775-1776, Signer of the Declaration of Independence 1776

Committee Assignments: First Committee of Representation, Committee of Economy, Frugality, and Manufactures

Convention Contributions: Arrived May 28 and was present through the signing of the Constitution. On June 28, when the Convention was in disarray, he suggested that “hence forth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.” He is also known for his Rising Sun speech delivered on September 17. William Pierce stated that “the very heavens obey him, and the Clouds yield up their Lighting to be imprisoned in his rod. But what claim he has to the politician, posterity must determine. … He is, however, a most extraordinary Man, and tells a story in a style more engaging than anything I ever heard.”

New Government Participation: Died in the first year of the new government.