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In his many careers as a printer moralist essayist civic leader scientist inventor statesman diplomat and philosopher for later generations of Americans he became both a spokesman and a model for the national character He was born in Boston Massachusetts on Jan 17 1706 into a religious Puritan household His father Josiah was a candlemaker and a skillful mechanic His mother Abiah Bens parents raised thirteen children--the survivors of Josiahs seventeen children by two wives 1Franklin left school at ten years old when he was pressed into his fathers trade At twelve Ben was apprenticed to his half brother James a printer of The New England Courant He generally absorbed the values and philosophy of the English Enlightenment At the age of 16 Franklin wrote some pieces for the Courant signed Silence Dogood in which he parodied the Boston authorities and society 3 At one point James Franklin was imprisoned for his liberal statements and Benjamin carried on the paper himself Having thus learned to resist oppression Benjamin refused to suffer his brothers own domineering qualities and in 1723 ran away to Philadelphia 1Soon Franklin found a job as a printer After a year he went to England where he became a master printer sowed some wild oats amazed the locals with his swimming feats and lived among inspiring writers of London By 1726 Franklin was tiring of London 1 He considered becoming an itinerant teacher of swimming but when a Quaker merchant by the name of Thomas Denham offered him a clerkship in his store in Philadelphia he decided to return home 5 Returning to Philadelphia in 1726 he soon owned a newspaper the Pennsylvania Gazette and began to print Poor Richards Almanac In the Pennsylvania Gazette a citizen asked editor Franklin the following question If A found out that his neighbor B was sleeping with his wife was he justified in telling Bs wife and persuading her to seek a little revenge with
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