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THE GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY

Study Guide for The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

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Meet Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin thought that his older brother James was too hard on him, and they often fought. When his apprenticeship ended, Franklin went to Philadelphia. This city, far more than his birthplace of Boston, became Franklin’s home. In Philadelphia he established his own business and raised his family. After Franklin retired from business in 1748, he embarked on a new career as a civil servant. He served in the Pennsylvania Assembly and became deputy postmaster-general. Sent to England as a representative of the Assembly, he spent five years there. During that time, he made the acquaintance of
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Constitution was drafted. Three years later, in 1790, he died. Franklin’s long list of diplomatic and political accomplishments is impressive. However, he also contributed to the well-being of the colonists on an everyday level. His inventions include a stove that burned better than most, bifocals, and the lightning rod.
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If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.
—Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738

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enjamin Franklin was a true Renaissance man. He was a diplomat, philosopher, inventor, scientist, and businessman. He wrote letters, articles, pamphlets, scientific papers, and an autobiography. Despite his later prominence, Franklin had humble beginnings. Franklin’s father, Josiah, had seventeen children from two marriages. Benjamin was the fifteenth child, born in 1706, and the youngest son. Josiah was a candlemaker and soapmaker in Boston, and he had to struggle to support his large family. At first, Josiah Franklin planned to have Benjamin become a minister. But, after considering the expense of educating his son and the poor financial prospects in that profession, he decided that Benjamin should learn a trade instead. Because Benjamin showed an interest in reading and writing, Josiah apprenticed him to another of his sons, James, a printer. Franklin identified himself with this trade to his last days, even

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