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Benjamin Franklin

1706-1790. Inventor, author, and diplomat. Born in Boston, he left school at the age of ten to help with his father's candle and soap business. Two years later he was apprenticed to a printer, his half-brother. He achieved great success in several fields-as publisher, author, businessman, philanthropist, moralist, inventor, scientist, civil servant, and statesman. He influenced American religious thought and popular morality through his writings, especially through the widely read Poor Richard's Almanac (1732- 57) which extolled the virtues of hard work, thrift, moderation, and common sense in a humorously homespun way.