When one thinks of Benjamin Franklin it is difficult to think of him outside the political spectrum. One of the founding fathers of the United States, he contributed much to the Americas in a variety of ways.
What some people may not know is that Franklin was more than just a diplomat; he was an author and printer as well. Outside of organizing the first successful American lending library, he and Hugh Meredith purchased the Pennsylvania Gazette from a former boss in 1729.
Under the new ownership of Franklin and Meredith, the Pennsylvania Gazette quickly went from a struggling newspaper to the most read and successful among the colonies. The newspaper itself contained many stories revolving around lifestyle and issues of the colonial times.
The newspaper would also publish full texts of important political documents of the time such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Letters from a Farmer, Thomas Payne’s Common Sense, The Federalist Papers and many more.
Outside of ownership, Franklin would regularly contribute to the paper under aliases. One big contribution the Pennsylvania Gazette provided to journalism was the birth of the first American political cartoon. Entitled “Join or Die”, the political cartoon highlighted Franklin’s view of the fragmented state of the colonies and pushed the idea of unity among the colonies.