When Franklin became a leader in the movement to dump the Penns as proprietors and switch to a royal government, he touched off a political storm. The pro-Penn faction unleashed a steady stream of accusations and rumors about Franklin. They called him an Indian-lover and anti-German, they claimed he opposed religious freedom and had embezzled money while in England, and they even accused him of burying his illegitimate son's mother in an unmarked grave.

Franklin withstood these accusations as he had in the past and would in the future. Yet he was not afraid to play hardball, either. Though he never directly responded to such attacks, he did everything in his power to defeat the Penns. He manipulated members of the Pennsylvania assembly and used his newspaper to fight his cause. His struggle with the Penns could easily have ended his political and ruined his reputation, had it not been overshadowed by a much bigger battle looming on the horizon–Britain against the colonies.

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