During Ben’s time as a printer, our Nation was not yet independent with its own Government. It was made up of thirteen colonies that were ruled by Great Britain. His skills in leadership and negotiation allowed Ben to play a very important role in the founding of our Nation.

Trouble between England and the thirteen colonies started to unfold following the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The imposition of the Stamp, Townshend, and Intolerable Acts angered the colonists to rebel against Great Britain. The Stamp Act of 1765 was designed to gather taxes from the colonists by declaring that certain paper goods had to be purchased from Great Britain and include a tax on them. The taxes were meant to gather money for Great Britain, but the colonists had no representation in the British Parliament. ‘No Taxation Without Representation’ sprang up as a rallying cry for the colonists. On April 19, 1775, the colonists went to war for their independence. During the fight for independence, Ben went to Europe to act as a representative for the colonies. Upon his return, he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Ben lived in France for nine years, from 1776 to 1785. He acted as an ambassador and was a famous and popular individual. The French welcomed him into their social circles and sold trinkets with Ben’s image, including Ben in his fur cap, which he had acquired traveling in Canada. The French had fought in the past against the British, and Ben negotiated with the French for the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778. This helped the colonists prepare for their revolution by securing guns, ammunition, and other supplies for the army, including volunteer troops. His successful diplomacy established a strong and friendly relationship with France that continues to this day.

When the colonists won their independence in 1781, Ben traveled to Great Britain to negotiate the end of the American Revolutionary War and the peace with England; he signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Although he was the oldest delegate and his health was failing, he attended the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. He became the only Founding Father to have signed all five documents that established American independence: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with France, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution of the United States of America.