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10 Famous Accomplishments Made Late in Life


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Benjamin Franklin Signs the Declaration of Independence
Benjamin Franklin (standing center) was the oldest original signer of the Decalaration of Independence.
Benjamin Franklin (standing center) was the oldest original signer of the Decalaration of Independence.

Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin is known for many things -- including founding the first public library in the U.S. at age 25, and establishing the first official fire department at 29. But he's also known for a much later achievement: signing the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Franklin didn't put his John Hancock on that historic document until he was 70, which made him the oldest signer [source: Kindig].

Franklin only attended school until age 10, when he started an apprenticeship as a printmaker under his brother, where he first got interested in writing. He eventually began his own publishing company, where he published the influential "Poor Richard's Almanac" and was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 and to the Continental Congress in 1775. He had actually retired from publishing at the time he worked on and signed the Declaration of Independence [source: Kindig].

The Declaration of Independence wasn't the only founding document to which Franklin penned his name. He was the only person to sign all three of the major documents that founded the U.S.: The Declaration of Independence, The Treaty of Paris, and the U.S. Constitution. The Declaration of Independence officially announced that America was freeing itself from British rule, and Franklin not only signed the document but worked with the Continental Congress in 1776 to help write it [source: Twin Cities Public Television]


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