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Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire$
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Carla J. Mulford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384198.001.0001

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“This obscure Family of ours was early in the Reformation”

“This obscure Family of ours was early in the Reformation”

On Family Memory

(p.18) One “This obscure Family of ours was early in the Reformation”
Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire

Carla J. Mulford

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Franklin’s family history, especially the family’s background in England. Franklin’s grandparents were trying to develop their family in England’s Midlands during the era of the civil wars, and several major battles took place in their midst. Family stories about those times came down to Benjamin Franklin through his father and his favorite uncle, also named Benjamin. These were stories Franklin reflected upon all his life, including in his autobiography written when he was a mature man. The family always embraced the ideals of liberty of conscience in matters of faith, and they admired leaders (such as John Rogers and Samuel Wells) who challenged government authority. Franklin would go on to use the story of John Rogers as an exemplary model of martyrdom for freedom of conscience when he published the New England Primer.

Keywords:   English civil wars, Church of England, John Rogers, New England Primer, Samuel Wells, liberty of conscience

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