A man who specialized in words, Noah Webster (1758-1843), the father of the American dictionary, was born on this day on a farm in West Hartford, Connecticut.
His dissatisfaction with British-made textbooks inspired his quest to produce his own. Believing that language brought freedom, he said he had, "too much pride to stand indebt to Great Britain for books to learn our children."
Webster worked with a passion to create a distinct American version of the English language. After over 27 years of work, he published the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). His definitions of 70,000 words helped standardize American pronunciation and shaped the emergin culture of the new Nation.
"America must be as independent in literature as she is in politics," he believed. "As famous for arts as for arms."
Like Benjamin Franklin, Webster was a brilliant polymath. A patriot with strong Christian views, Webster believed slavery should be abolished and campaigned for the first American copyright laws. He was also an active Federalist who wrote pamphlets which celebrated George Washington's administration.
"Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion." said the famous educator and lexicographer.
Celebrate the power of words.