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National Standards for Civics and Government

II. What are the Foundations of the American Political System?
IIA. What is the American idea of constitutional government?

III. How Does The Government Established By The Constitution Embody The
Purposes, Values, And Principles Of American Democracy?

A. How are power and responsibility distributed, shared, and limited in the
government established by the United States Constitution?

National Standards in Civics and Government from the Center for Civic Education:

V. What Are the Roles of the Citizen in American Democracy?


The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

Benjamin Franklin

What do you think Benjamin Franklin is saying about the U.S. Constitution?

Benjamin Franklin Treasure Hunts

Benjamin Franklin pursued many interests. Some of them include:


Explain how Ben Franklin learned the art of printing.

Why do you think Poor Richard’s Almanac was the best selling book in the colonies?

Explain Benjamin Franklin’s relationship to Silence Dogood? Why was she writing letters to be published?

Ben Franklin and his wife were quite enterprising. Describe why this is so.

First Century of the Republic.
[Harper's new monthly magazine. /Volume 50, Issue 298, March 1875]
Nineteenth Century Periodicals
Cornell University Library

Courtesy of Public Broadcasting Service


Was it easy to borrow books from the public library in 1725? Explain.

What items besides books might be found in Philadelphia’s early library?

What evidence is there that Ben Franklin wanted an educated populace?


Why did Ben invent the bifocal lens?

How did Ben Franklin use his odometer?

Some feel that Ben Franklin’s invention of the lightening rod was his most important. Why is this such an important invention?

Why did Ben Franklin not patent his inventions?

Can you name the following inventions of Ben Franklin?

Courtesy of the National Park Service

Method of Drawing Electricity from the Clouds suggested by Franklin
The Early History of Electricity in America.
[The New England magazine. / Volume 10, Issue 1, March 1891]
Nineteenth Century Periodicals
Cornell University Library


Name two ideas that Ben Franklin had regarding a kite.

Benjamin Franklin's experiment with the kite "..when the string was thoroughly wet, abundance of electricity was procured..." In: "The Thunder-storm" by Charles Thomlinson, F.R.S., 1877, p. 30.
NOAA Photo Library


Ben Franklin helped shape the United States through is writing and diplomacy skills. How did his diplomacy skills assist the colonies in their fight for independence?

At 81 Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He became the only founding father to have signed all five documents that established American Independence. Name the documents.

Franklin's reception at the court of France, 1778
Courtesy of The Library of Congress

Ben Franklin Museum

Find images, models and artifacts depicting the contributions to mankind by Dr. Franklin that are still in use today. Create a museum depicting Ben Franklin’s many contributions.


Benjamin Franklin lived to be 84 years old. Create a timeline of Dr. Franklin’s life. Include the events leading to the signing of the Constitution. Use photos and images to depict events.

George Washington’s Chair

There was a sun on the back of George Washington’s chair at the Constitutional Convention. This is what Ben Franklin said about the sun on the back of the chair?

Franklin said that during the convention he had often looked at the painted sun and wondered "...whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun."

What do you think he meant? Draw an illustration to depict the meaning of Ben Franklin’s statement.

Washington's Chair
Courtesy of the National Park Service

The Great Compromise

Ben Franklin was a man of many talents but on this Constitution Day we remember him for his contribution to the U.S. Constitution. How was his “great compromise” important to the passage of the document?

Franklin's Speech

For the last day of the constitutional convention, Benjamin Franklin wrote a persuasive speech to present to the delegates encouraging all of the delegates to sign the document. Due to ill health he was unable to present his powerful speech. Present the speech for Doctor Franklin to encouraging unanimous approval and signing of the Constitution document.

Constitution Lessons on the Web for all ages:

Making Friends With Franklin Grades 3-8
Teaching With Documents: Observing Constitution Day
National Constitution Center Grades K-12
Constitution Day Lessons

Back to We The People Behind the Scenes with Benjamin Franklin

Updated March 11, 2015
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