Jess McHugh

  • culture June 22, 2021

    Supreme Authority

    Noah Webster’s influence reached far beyond the pages of the dictionary or the speller. Even those Americans who have never read his work or heard his name are still bearers of his legacy. He shaped the underpinnings not only of American education and language standardization but also of the nation as a whole. The idea that America was a new experiment capable of surpassing Europe, the notion of a nationalism based on uniformity, the belief that the United States was a sort of country on a hill—Webster cemented and spread these ideas through the building blocks of language itself. The lexicographer