#onthisday in 1706, Benjamin Franklin (17 January 1706 – 17 April 1790) was born in Boston, Ma.
Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Benjamin Franklin helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and he negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the American War of Independence.
His scientific pursuits included investigations into electricity, mathematics and mapmaking. A printer and writer known for his wit and wisdom, Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanack, invented bifocal glasses, facilitated the first fire department, and organized the first successful American lending library.
Franklin’s ties to Saratoga focus on his diplomatic efforts. Historian John Brandon writes Saratoga: “was also especially honored by the presence of three distinguished men sent by Congress in 1776 as special Commissioners to conciliate Canada and attach its people to the cause of America. They passed through here earl}^ in April of that year and returned from their fruitless mission in time for each of them to affix his signature to the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July following. These men were first : Samuel Chase, delegate to Congress from Maryland, a most zealous patriot, and afterward a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The second was Charles Carroll, another delegate from Maryland. Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration, Charles Carroll of Carrollton is noted as having been the wealthiest man, the only Roman Catholic, and the last survivor of the immortal band who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, for the support of the cause of liberty in America. The third was Benjamin Franklin, one whose memory the world yet delights to honor as a statesman, as a journalist, as a diplomatist, as an inventor, and a philosopher for in each of these spheres he achieved undoubted greatness. We should especially remember that it was through his skillful diplomacy at the court of Louis XVI. and the use he was enabled to make of the victory over Burgoyne and the capture of the British army here at Saratoga that the French alliance was consummated and through which we were enabled to carry that war to a successful issue.”
The first American victory of the American War of Independence took just to our North in the Champlain Valley when the hero of Saratoga, Benedict Arnold along with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, seized Fort Ticonderoga from the British on May 10, 1775. Henry Knox hauled cannon taken from Ticonderoga and Crown Point through Saratoga to Dorchester heights to drive the British from Boston. Arnold built a fleet of war ships just to the north of Saratoga and went on fight the British at Valcour Island in the fall of 1776, which kept the British at bay for another winter. Britain retaliated by sending General John Burgoyne to quell the feisty rebels in New York, New England and the Hampshire Grants (Vermont). Burgoyne’s Campaign of 1777 moved south along the waterway, pausing to drive the Americans from Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, fight battles at Hubbarton and Bennington and finally to meet defeat here at Saratoga, the turning point of the American Revolution. Troops were actively serving in Saratoga until the end of the war in December, 1783.
Saratoga was very active in the War of Independence. It is this rich history, that help define America. That is why studying Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of America.