The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture

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The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture

Author: Joshua Kendall
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 355
Cover Price: $ 26.95

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Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but although there is much more to his story than that singular achievement, his rightful place in American history has been forgotten over time. Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, among others. He started New York City's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post.

His blue-backed speller for schoolchildren, his first literary effort, sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. He helped found Amherst College and served as a state representative for both Connecticut and Massachusetts. But perhaps most important, Webster was an ardent supporter of a unified, definitively American culture, distinct from the British, at a time when the United States of America were anything but unified-and his dictionary of American English is a testament to that.

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Background Information

Noah Webster was an advocate of American education and the author of the first dictionary of American English. Benjamin Franklin was America's most famous scientist, a successful businessman, and its chief diplomat during the Revolution. Connecticut is a New England state first settled in the 1600's, bounded on the north by Massachusetts and on the south by Long Island Sound. Massachusetts had some of the earliest English colonies in America and was central to the American Revolution. New York City at the mouth of the Hudson River is the largest city in America.