Here’s Why Benjamin Franklin Dropped Out Of School

History is full of famous dropouts — Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are just two of many people that decided that school was just not for them (they both dropped out of Harvard, according to NDTV). They were adults, though, when they decided to walk away from educational institutions. Can you imagine dropping out of school when at the age of 10? The legendary Benjamin Franklin did just that. His dad, a father of 17 children, needed him to come work at his candle and soap store, since he needed the money.

Families can struggle today with one child, so it’s not hard to imagine how much more difficult it would be to care for 17 children. This was also during a time where ideas about child labor were quite different than they are now. So Franklin was pressed into service at an age where kids are often still needing parents to walk them to school. According to the Benjamin Franklin Historical Society, he was doing a lot for his dad by performing tasks like trimming candle wicks, pouring molds, looking after the shop, and also doing whatever errands were needed.

Benjamin Franklin is still revered

When it came to hardships, Gates and Zuckerberg might have had to tighten their belts a bit as they worked toward their dreams. Some of these successful examples of businesses initially were based out of their founder’s garages … but they had it fairly easy when it came to things like having heat, hot water, and electricity. Franklin had it just a bit rougher, living in a time where getting heat and hot water was a chore and electric-powered homes were more than a century away. His quote in Poor Richard’s Almanack, “No gains without pain,” would seem to show that perhaps he didn’t mind — after he was grown up, anyway.

Franklin didn’t let his being sent into the workforce at a young age keep him down. His keen intellect (he was excelling in school before dropping out) and his personality helped him do everything from doing scientific marvels like showing how lightning was related to electricity (via Franklin Institute), inventing bifocal glasses, and creating a stove that was used by multitudes to helping form the independent country of America with both his writing ability and his diplomacy skills (via Benjamin Franklin Historical Society). The former 10-year-old candle-and-soap worker became wealthy and left an indelible imprint in American history (via History).

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