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“Benjamin Franklin was a president! My grandma said so”

Picture this: One day, as a seasoned law professor, I was dissecting the nuances of the Constitution with my lively band of students in a classroom at our Port St Lucie campus. Suddenly, a hand shot up like a firework in the back of the room. George, known for his comic interludes, had a puzzled expression.

“Professor, was Benjamin Franklin ever a president?” he asked.

The room was suddenly shrouded in silence, akin to the hush that descends over Florida’s beaches at the break of dawn. It was broken by a spontaneous burst of laughter as I quickly replied, “No, George, Benjamin Franklin was never a president.”

As if on cue, Karen, our class contrarian, retorted, “But I’m sure Benjamin Franklin was a president. I remember my grandma mentioning it.”

What ensued could be best described as an impromptu moot court, with everyone passionately arguing their stance on the question of is Benjamin Franklin a president. Even the janitor, overhearing the heated debate while cleaning the hallway, couldn’t resist joining in. He swung the classroom door open and announced, “I’ve mopped these halls for decades, and I can tell you, Ben Franklin president…nope, never, no how!” This unexpected intervention sent the room into fits of laughter.

Did Benjamin Franklin Serve Any Public Office?

Just as the dust was settling and the class consensus was veering towards accepting Franklin as a non-president, up shot the hand of Rosie, a history enthusiast with a twinkle in her eye.

“But wasn’t Ben Franklin a public officeholder?” she ventured, eyes gleaming with the anticipation of further muddying the waters. “He surely was a key player in shaping our nation, right?”

The classroom was silent, a sea of faces turned in my direction. I could hear the proverbial penny drop. I chuckled and nodded. Rosie had opened a door to Franklin’s world that was too compelling to resist.

“Well, Rosie,” I started, my tone tinged with admiration, “you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head. Franklin was indeed heavily involved in public office. Let’s begin our journey in Philadelphia…”

As I walked them through his tenure as the clerk of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and then as postmaster of Philadelphia, I gestured as if sorting invisible letters to dramatize his groundbreaking work in improving the postal service.

“…and then his adventures took him to the national and international stage,” I continued, extending my arms wide to convey the breadth of his influence. I described his pivotal role in drafting the Declaration of Independence, and acting it out, I mimed signing a large document with a flourish. Laughter erupted as I performed a one-man reenactment of Franklin winning over the French as the United States Minister to France.

“And did you know,” I asked, a conspiratorial whisper in my voice, “he was also a writer and journalist, engaging in fiery debates that shaped public discourse? Plus, he founded public institutions, like libraries and hospitals! The man was a veritable civic Superman!”

What Are Benjamin Franklin’s Accomplishments

Just as I attempted to steer the ship back to the course of the syllabus, a hand shot up in the back of the room. It was Mark, a usually quiet student with a knack for capturing the class’s attention with his well-timed and insightful queries.

“Sir, what is Benjamin Franklin famous for? What did he accomplish?” Mark inquired, prompting a chorus of nods around the room. It was clear; we were on a full-blown detour through the life and times of Franklin.

A broad grin spread across my face. It was like Mark had thrown me a fastball, and I was all too eager to swing.

“Well, Mark,” I began, clapping my hands together, “To list all of Franklin’s accomplishments would take us well into next semester. But to give you an idea, let’s start with the lightning rod.”

I quickly sketched a crude diagram on the chalkboard, my hand mimicking a lightning strike hitting the rod. “See, before Franklin’s invention, lightning was a significant cause of fires. But he gave us a way to control it!”

Next, I grabbed my glasses from the desk and held them up, adding, “Ever wonder where bifocals came from? Our man Franklin, again! He was tired of switching between two pairs of glasses, so he combined them.”

I gave the chalkboard a quick wipe, and drew a rough sketch of the Gulf Stream. “He charted the Gulf Stream’s course as well – which revolutionized maritime navigation.”

And so, I continued, listing out Franklin’s innovations – from the Franklin stove to the library system, and even his efforts to improve street lamps. His range of accomplishments painted a picture of a man as complex as the world he helped shape.

“Now,” I said, turning back to Mark, “I hope that gives you a glimpse into the extraordinary life of Benjamin Franklin, but remember, we’ve only just scratched the surface!”

I took a step towards my lesson plan, thinking that maybe, just maybe, we could get back to it. But then, another hand rose from the sea of students, ready with a new query about the ever-fascinating Benjamin Franklin. The syllabus could wait. Today, we were living history.

Where Was Benjamin Franklin From?

Just as another question began to form on the lips of my students, my phone began to ring. I hastily snatched it from my desk, silencing the room. A chorus of “oohs” echoed around the room. Cell phones were strictly prohibited in class – mine included – but this was different. The caller ID showed my wife’s number, and she was eight months pregnant. Everyone in class knew I was on ‘baby watch.’

I answered the call, placing it on speakerphone for the class to hear. “Honey, is it time?” I asked, trying to hide the excitement in my voice.

“Not yet, dear,” came her voice, clear as a bell, “I just wanted to see what you were up to.” A chuckle echoed through the room, some of the tension easing away.

“Well,” I explained, “We’ve been sidetracked by an impromptu discussion on was Ben Franklin a president.”

“Interesting! Where was Benjamin Franklin from?” she asked.

Of course. My wife, the history buff.

“Ah, an excellent question, darling!” I exclaimed, much to the class’s amusement. A few of the students even took out their notebooks, ready to write down the answer. “Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706.”

I then went on to elaborate, “Despite being a Boston native, Franklin is often associated with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he spent much of his life. He moved there at the age of 17 and became one of its most prominent citizens. It’s also where he carried out many of his famous experiments and contributions to society. So, while he hailed from Boston, he truly made his mark in Philadelphia.”

As I hung up, promising my wife I’d be home as soon as class was dismissed, the room was buzzing. Even with a baby on the way, my wife had managed to fuel the class’s interest in Franklin. And with that, we continued our unexpected journey through the life of Benjamin Franklin.

Ben Franklin Death Cause

With the interruption of my wife’s call winding down, the class had fallen back into its usual rhythm – or at least as usual as a spirited debate about Benjamin Franklin could be. That’s when we heard the buzz of hedge trimmers near our window. Moments later, a sunburned face appeared, framed by a raggedy old baseball cap and a cloud of clippings.

“Hey, Professor!” The head called out, causing my students to burst into laughter, “What did ol’ Benny boy die of anyway?”

Not one to discriminate based on job title or the amount of dirt under one’s fingernails, I turned to address our new contributor. I pointed a mock-serious finger at him, “Excellent question, Gary,” I responded, knowing our resident landscaper had a knack for eavesdropping on my classes.

Taking a deep breath, I put on my most professorial voice. “Franklin passed away on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, where he’d spent much of his adult life. His cause of death was attributed to complications from pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs, often brought on by an infection. This was further complicated by his battles with obesity and gout, which had plagued him in his later years.”

Gary scratched his head, “Sounds painful,” he replied before withdrawing his head from the window, the drone of his trimmer receding into the background.

The laughter that filled the room after Gary’s departure seemed to breathe new life into the discussion. And though my lecture plan had been thoroughly uprooted for the day, I couldn’t deny the joy I felt in seeing the class so engaged and eager to learn.

If Ben Franklin Was Not A President, Why Is He on the One-Hundred-Dollar?

As I settled back in front of the whiteboard, planning to regain control of this runaway class, I noticed a flutter of movement outside the door. The next moment, our elderly school librarian shuffled into the room, clutching something tightly in her hand.

“Professor,” she said in her soft, quavering voice, “I couldn’t help but overhear your discussion on Franklin. This got me thinking, if Franklin was never a president, why then is he on our one-hundred-dollar bill?”

A wave of chuckles rippled through the classroom. The librarian, an unexpected participant? My lesson plan had flown out the window long ago.

“Well, Ms. Patricia,” I began, fighting back my own laughter, “it’s a common misconception that only presidents grace our currency. But the reality is, our money honors a range of influential figures. Franklin, with his laundry list of accomplishments – inventor, diplomat, author, and Founding Father, to name just a few – certainly qualifies as influential.”

I then went on, “His image is a testament to his immense contribution to the foundation and shaping of our nation. So even though Franklin never held the presidential title, his influence is undeniable and forever immortalized on every crisp hundred-dollar bill.”

“Ah, I see,” she murmured, a satisfied smile on her face. She then toddled back towards the library, leaving us in a renewed round of laughter.

My class had turned into a veritable revolving door of unexpected guests and wild questions. It was, by far, the most offbeat, hilarious lecture I’d ever given – and we were all thoroughly enjoying it.

Benjamin Franklin Political Achievements

Just as I was starting to regain my composure and steer the lecture back on track, a sudden blare of music filled the room. The door burst open, and there, to everyone’s stunned amazement, stood our campus mascot, the Port St. Lucie Panther, boogying to a funky beat blaring from a boombox resting on its shoulder.

The sight was so absurd that I just stood there, my mouth agape, as the class erupted in laughter. As the song faded out, the panther’s head bobbed toward me, and a muffled voice came out from the costume’s mouthpiece, “Hey, Prof, what are Benjamin Franklin’s political achievements?”

The absurdity of the situation sent everyone into fits of laughter once again. But, amidst the laughter, I composed myself and began.

“Great question, Panther!” I chuckled, “In terms of politics, Franklin was no less than a giant. From being a delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congresses to having an instrumental role in drafting both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Franklin left an indelible mark.”

“Furthermore,” I continued, “he served as the United States’ ambassador to France during the American Revolutionary War, charming the French court and persuading them to lend military and financial support to the revolutionary cause. In fact, his diplomatic efforts significantly contributed to America’s victory against the British.”

With that, the Panther nodded its massive head, gave a thumbs-up, and moonwalked out of the room to the beat of a new song, leaving the room echoing with raucous laughter and applause. I shook my head in disbelief. This was turning into one class I would never forget!

Ben Franklin’s Routine

Just as the Panther’s laughter-inducing exit receded, the door swung open again, and in pranced a man in a whistle, headband, and short shorts that would have given the 1980s a run for their money. He was cradling a basketball under one arm, and a badminton racket under the other.

“Well,” I mused, “this is a day of many firsts. I didn’t even know we had a Physical Education department here at the law school!”

Ignoring the collective gasp of surprise, the man bounced up to the front of the room, took a knee, and blew the whistle around his neck. “Alright, team!” he bellowed, “What can you tell me about Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine? The man was as fit as a fiddle, and I need some inspiration!”

The absurdity level in the room just ratcheted up another notch. Suppressing a grin, I cleared my throat and began.

“Right you are, coach!” I played along, “Franklin was a keen proponent of daily routine and discipline. His day started at 5 AM with what he called ‘The Morning Question’: ‘What good shall I do this day?’ followed by three hours of work.”

I continued, “He’d read or overlook his accounts from 8 AM to noon, then took a two-hour lunch break, which he sometimes spent playing the violin to refresh his mind. He’d return to work from 2 PM to 6 PM, then spend the evening dining, examining the day, and relaxing.”

“His day ended at 10 PM,” I finished, “with ‘The Evening Question’: ‘What good have I done today?’ Thus, through a rigorous schedule, he achieved a remarkable balance of work, self-improvement, and leisure.”

With a nod and a blow of his whistle, the man jogged out of the classroom, leaving us in a stunned silence. But not for long. The room quickly erupted in laughter once more, with someone in the back quipping, “Maybe we should add a PE requirement to our curriculum!”

This was certainly not the kind of class I’d had in mind when I woke up that morning.

What Did Ben Franklin Die?

Just as the laughter began to subside, a noise at the window drew our attention. A man in overalls and a straw hat, holding a pair of hedge clippers, peered through the glass, cheeks flushed and eyes wide with curiosity. In an accent as thick as the Florida humidity, he drawled, “Ya mind if I pose a question, professor? Just takin’ a break from trimmin’ them hedges out yonder. You answered my other question about which president was Benjamin Franklin, What’d that ol’ Ben Franklin die of?”

A cacophony of laughter echoed through the room, some students doubled over, others clapping their hands in delight. This class had spiraled into a delightful absurdity.

“Well,” I said, chuckling, “it’s certainly a popular topic among historians and medical experts. Mr. Franklin was 84 when he passed away in 1790. His health had been declining, suffering from a number of maladies like gout and kidney stones. And his love for a puff or two didn’t help his case either.”

I continued, “He had respiratory problems, likely due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. His fondness for smoking, his long hours by the fireside, and the curious fumes from his electrical experiments all could have exacerbated this condition.”

“But, it’s hard to say exactly what caused his death. Medical knowledge wasn’t quite what it is today,” I shrugged. “Regardless, his death was a huge loss. Thousands flocked to his funeral procession in Philadelphia to pay their respects to the statesman, the inventor, the man.”

The landscaper tipped his hat, a wide grin spreading across his face. “Appreciate it, professor. Now, I better get back to them hedges before they get any wilder.”

As the window closed behind him, the room burst into another round of laughter, with someone shouting from the back, “Is there anyone left in Port St Lucie who hasn’t dropped in?” Today’s law class was shaping up to be the most memorable yet.

A Recap of Benjamin Franklin Career

As the final bell rang, the law students, janitors, maintenance workers, physical education teachers, pregnant wives, and hedge trimmers alike all stood, gathering their belongings and murmuring with delight about the bizarre, educational roller coaster of a class. With more than a touch of warmth in my heart, I looked around the room, soaking in the jovial atmosphere, the glow of newfound understanding in their eyes.

In just one law class, we had traipsed through the life of Benjamin Franklin, the man who wore so many hats, yet never the presidential one. His journey from Bostonian candle-maker’s son to Philadelphia’s famous polymath; his invaluable contributions to society and the establishment of our nation; his daily routines and final moments.

“Remember,” I said, standing at the front of the room, “while Ben Franklin may not have been President, he was an inspiration. A beacon of intellect, inventiveness, and public service. He should be an example to us all, regardless of the fields we find ourselves in.”

The room echoed with nods and murmurs of agreement, and with one final round of laughter and applause, they filed out of the room. With a sigh of contentment, I turned to gather my things… when suddenly, my eyes flickered open.

I was in my bed, sheets twisted around my legs. The digital clock on the nightstand blinked at me – 6:00 AM. A dream? It had all been a dream?

I shook my head, chuckling to myself. A dream about lecturing on was Ben Franklin a president to an audience of every profession in Port St. Lucie. As the dawn light streamed through the windows, I couldn’t help but smile. After all, as Ben Franklin himself once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” And, apparently, my subconscious agreed.

Rising from my bed, I looked forward to the day. To real students, real law cases, and maybe, just maybe, a sprinkle of Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom. This was going to be a good day. After all, it had already started with a good laugh.