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Note to: Benjamin Franklin, How I Became a Printer in Philadelphia

Although Benjamin Franklin's (1706-1790) autobiography breaks off in 1757, it is an invaluable document for understanding both colonial life and the eighteenth century American mind. In this excerpt Franklin gives an excellent picture of the important eighteenth-century institution of apprenticeship and offers some clues as to why in America it inevitably became a looser arrangement than it was in the old world. Franklin, one of the nation's founding fathers, exhibited a versatility that ranged from a capacity to conduct scientific experiment to service as a diplomat in the court at Paris. His self-made background, illustrated in this selection, fitted him for a range of activities almost unparalleled in the revolutionary period.

Text from : John Bigelow (editor), Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott and Company, 1868), pp. 85-86, 90-93, 103-107, 114.

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