Benjamin Franklin, A Son Of Liberty (Literally)

The surname “Franklin” originally indicated a socioeconomic status rather than being a typical family lineage name. In medieval England, a franklin was a freeholder who owned his land outright, a step below the nobility but definitely a person of some substance and independence.

“Frankeleyn” means “Freeman” or in other words, a man who was not a serf.

A serf was a type of peasant in medieval Europe who worked the land owned by a lord and was bound to the estate.

This means they weren’t free to move or change jobs at will; they were essentially part of the property, tied to the land. In exchange for working the land, serfs had some rights to live on it, farm their own plots, and receive protection from the lord.

It was a step up from outright slavery because serfs had legal rights and personal belongings, but they still faced many restrictions and owed plenty of duties to the lord, like labor, rent, and obedience to various rules.

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