Franklin, Benjamin (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
As the only person to have signed the three most significant founding documents of the United Stateshe DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (1776), the TREATY OF PARIS (1783), and the U.S. Constitution (1787)enjamin Franklin holds a revered place in the history of U.S. law. Through his great success as a newspaper publisher, journalist, writer, civic leader, scientist, politician, and diplomat, and as an inventor, Franklin became an international celebrity in his day and an icon of the American character to later generations.
Franklin's varied career had a lasting effect on U.S. law and politics. As a leading local figure, he established and shaped many of the fundamental institutions of Philadelphia and colonial Pennsylvania. Before the Revolutionary War (17753), Franklin served as envoy to Great Britain for several colonies. Though he first advocated reconciliation with Britain, he eventually supported the cause of American independence. He was assigned the task of securing an alliance with France during the war, and his political skill and prestige helped gain vital support for his young country as it fought the world's greatest military power. After the war, Franklin used his diplomatic ingenuity to negotiate a successful peace treaty with Britain. Franklin also helped persuade the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to reach important compromises...
(The entire section is 1848 words.)
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