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When Benjamin Franklin died on April 12, 1790, he made a final bet on the future of the United States — a gift of 2,000 pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jump start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the accrued final payout in 1991 would be a windfall.

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Today’s guest is Michael Meyer, author of Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet. He traces the evolution of these twin funds as they age alongside America itself, bankrolling woodworkers and silversmiths, trade schools and space races. Over time, Franklin’s wager was misused, neglected, and contested—but never wholly extinguished. Franklin’s stake in the “leather-apron” class remains in play to this day, and offers an inspiring blueprint for prosperity in our modern era of growing wealth disparity and social divisions.

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"Benjamin Franklin – In the 200 Years After His Death – Funded New Businesses, Supported Boston and Philadelphia, and Play Pranks" History on the Net
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July 13, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/benjamin-franklin-in-the-200-years-after-his-death-funded-new-businesses-supported-boston-and-philadelphia-and-play-pranks>
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