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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 4 lessons on The founding fathers of the United States of America.
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Voiceover: So where we had left off, Benjamin Franklin had pretty much established himself as a successful printer and, I guess, content producer, writer if you will. Voiceover: Media mogul. Voiceover: Media mogul in Philadelphia. We're in the 1730s, we're starting to enter the kind of the late 1730s now. At what point does he make the transition from, I guess, media mogul to statesman or leader? Voiceover: Well it starts off when he was just a young assistant printer. When he was only 21, he starts little club, sort of a civic club, almost like a Rotary or Kiwanis club, for middle-class tradesmen and artisans and the shopkeepers of Philadelphia. He calls it the Leather Apron Club, sometimes known as the Junto. The Leather Apron Club because it was not for the rich or elite or he famous business owners, nor for the poor working man. It was for the people who put on leather aprons every morning and opened up a shop and stood there behind the counter. That Leather Apron Club becomes a foundation, as he becomes a successful businessman, for all of his civic endeavors. He was sort of, the club trained people in a way, to be civic leaders. They made a list of the virtues you needed to have to be a good civic leader, such as industry and honesty and frugality. Franklin was so geeky he put it on a chart and every week he would mark how well he did on each of those virtues. At one point he had mastered all 12 of the virtues. He showed it to the other people in the Leather Apron Club and one of them said, "Hey Franklin, you're missing a virtue "you might want to try." Franklin says, "What's that?" and the friend says, "Humility, "you might want to try that one for a change." Franklin said, "I was never very good "at the virtue of humility, "but I was good at the pretense of it. "I could fake it very well." Here is the important thing by Franklin. This is what he writes, he says, "I learned that the pretense of humility "was just as useful as the reality of it "because it made you listen to the person next to you, "try to find the common ground, "and that was the essence of the middle-class democracy "we were trying to create." Voiceover: Fascinating. So how does this gravitate into, I mean I'm sure they're meeting, they're making lists of traits Voiceover: Yeah, sort of every Friday they meet, and besides making traits they make a list of things that can improve the community until they come up with plans. There's the first library, the first, sort of, lending library of Philadelphia. I think that was like in 1731. He does a lending library. That's even before the first Poor Richard's. So that was the first thing they'd do, because he believed that the young tradesmen, the rich people had their own private libraries, but there should be a free library, one that people could borrow the books. Then they'd do a street sweeping corps and they'd do a militia. They'd do an academy for the education of youth that becomes the University of Pennsylvania. They'd do an insurance company for widows and orphans. You know his mother is somewhat baffled because she's an old-fashioned Puritan and says, "You can only get to heaven through God's grace alone, "not through good works." and Franklin says, "Well I'd rather have it said of me "that he lived usefully than that he died rich, "and I believe that the best way to be in favor "of the good Lord is to do things "for all of his fellow creatures that he created." So that was Franklin's credo, which is "Lets do good civic works," they created a hospital even, "in order to help our fellow man, because that's what the good Lord wanted us to do." Voiceover: Fascinating.