Today is Independence Day here in the United States. It's a federal holiday, so the offices of Certification Magazine will be closed until Friday. Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. This event energized and crystallized American resistance to British rule, which had already erupted into war on April 18, 1775.
We'll return to our regular schedule of operations on Thursday. Until then, why not enjoy this Independence Day-themed quiz about Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, inventor, diplomat, and a member of the five-man commission charged with creating the Declaration of Independence?
1) How many siblings did Benjamin Franklin have?
2) True or False: Benjamin Franklin was the last child born to his parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin.
3) What was the connection between young Ben Franklin and the middle-aged widow and Boston resident Silence Dogood?
4) What is the name of the mutual improvement association that Benjamin Franklin established in 1727 at the age of 21?
5) At what age did Benjamin Franklin become a Freemason?
6) Benjamin Franklin's pioneering studies of electricity resulted, among other recognition, in the granting of honorary degrees by which two universities?
7) True or False: Benjamin Franklin was greatly assisted in his work on the Declaration of Independence by a talking pet mouse named Amos?
8) What legendary wisecrack attributed to Franklin was reportedly uttered at the signing of the Declaration of Independence?
9) Benjamin Franklin is well known for having served as the first United States Minister (ambassador) to France. While in France, he concurrently held the post of minister to what other European nation for a period of six months?
10) Was Benjamin Franklin a slave owner?
1) 16. His father, British-born chandler Josiah Franklin had seven children with his first wife, Anne Child. Following Anne's death, he married Abiah Folger and had 10 more, including Franklin.
2) False. Franklin was his parents eighth child. He was his father's 10th son and 15th child overall.
3) "Silence Dogood" was an alias invented by young Ben during to covertly submit letters for publication during his apprenticeship with elder brother James Franklin, a successful printer and publisher of The New-England Courant. Ben did not initially reveal Dogood's true identity, and her letters became popular with the paper's readers.
4) It was known in Franklin's day as both the Junto and the Leather Apron Club. Franklin formed the club, which initially had 12 members, to share knowledge, improve business prospects, and encourage discussion of morals, politics and philosophy.
5) Franklin was either 24 or 25 at the time that he joined a lodge in Philadelphia. He became a Grand Master in fewer than five years from the date (not concretely known) of his initiation.
6) Harvard University and Yale University. Both were bestowed in 1753. In later years, he was further awarded honorary degrees by William and Mary College; University of St. Andrews, Scotland; and Oxford University.
7) False. That, however, is the rather darling plot of the 1939 children's novel Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. A cartoon version was produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1953.
8) "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Franklin is reputed to have said these words in response to John Hancock's injunction to the signers that they all "hang together" in support of the cause of independence.
9) Sweden. Franklin never visited Sweden during his brief term, though he did negotiate a Swedish-American good-faith treaty signed in 1783.
10) Yes. Franklin owned a number of slaves as an adult, though his views on slavery gradually changes. He eventually freed his slave and wrote a number of essays in support of the abolition of slavery and the integration of blacks into American society. For a time he served a president of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society.