A Mirror for Greatness: Six Great Americans

Many historians consider him the ablest and most successful diplomat that America has ever sent abroad.

Franklin was the leader of his day in the study of electricity. As an inventor, he was unequaled in the United States until the time of Thomas A. Edison. People still quote from Franklin's Sayings of Poor Richard and read his Autobiography. Franklin helped establish Pennsylvania's first university and America's first city hospital.

Franklin's fame extended to Europe as well as America. Thomas Jefferson hailed him as "the greatest man and ornament of the age and country in which he lived." A French statesman, Comte de Mira beau, referred to Franklin as "the sages whom two worlds claimed as their own.aE Franklin led all the people of his time in his lifelong concern for the happiness, well-being, and dignity of humanity. George Washington spoke for a whole generation of Americans in a letter to Franklin in 1789: "If to be venerated for benevolence, if to be admired for talents, if to be esteemed for patriotism, if to be beloved for philanthropy, can gratify the human mind, you must have the pleasing consolation to know that you have not lived in vain."

John Adams guided the young United States thro



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