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A franklin is a freeman; a yeoman farmer. It means literally a »small-Frank«; that is, one of the common mass of the tribe of the Franks, of no particular distinction besides his hereditary superiority to all other men. Once their natural rulers, the long-haired Merovingians, had led them out of Taxandria against Thuringians, Alemanns, Visigoths, Burgundians and Lombards and smashed them all, a Frank alone, a German in the lands of Gaul, was a free man and able to own his own land; all others were serfs and bondmen. This order was of sufficiently lasting nature that it was imported into English without the Franks themselves, where it persisted long as a class and longer as a surname, even unto this day. The most famous franklin is Benjamin, the soul of America, who was worth any number of Gauls, of Merovingian princes, of Popes, emperors, armigers and serfs — and who was really, in a distinct social sense, a franklin.

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