What does "tear the lightning from the skies and harness it to do the bidding of men" mean?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Benjamin Franklin was one of the first scientists to experiment with electricity. In a famous experiment he flew a kite with a key attached to the tail into a thunderstorm in order to prove his theory that the metal key would attract lightning. From such early investigations of natural electricity came man's ability to generate it and use it for all the purposes for which it is used today, including lighting of entire cities.

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