Benjamin Franklin Biography ID 8

His is one of the most remarkable success stories in American history. The 18th child of a Boston candle maker and soap maker, his schooling ended at ten. At 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer who published the New England Courant.

When he was 17, he ran away to Philadelphia, seeking a new start. He went to London and worked there as a compositor in a printer's shop until he returned to Philadelphia with the help of a merchant named Thomas Denham, who gave him a position in his business. On Denham's death Franklin set up a printing house of his own from which he published The Pennsylvania Gazette, He was so successful that he was able to retire at age 42 and devote the rest of his life to science and politics.

As a printer, he had owned slaves. But in later life, he became president of the world's first anti-slavery society.

Up until the early 1770s, Franklin was loyal to Britain. Yet by 1776, when he was 70 years old, he had become an ardent patriot. At the time of the Constitutional Convention, he was 81 years old and had to be carried on a sedan chair. His speeches had to be read by other delegates.

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