submitted by Arline Helms
Noah Webster, the Father of American Education, was a revolutionary soldier, judge, legislator, American Founder, and the creator of Webster’s Dictionary. He served served nine terms in the Connecticut General Assembly, three terms in the Massachusetts Legislature, and four years as a judge.
One of the first Founding Fathers to call for a Constitutional Convention, he was also one of the most active in the ratification of the Constitution. He was responsible for the copyright and patent protection clause of the Constitution and wrote textbooks.
He strongly believed that all Americans should speak the same language, and he was quite concerned about spelling and pronunciation. Hence, he compiled the first American dictionary. His first edition was published in 1806 with 37,000 words. He published two more the following year.
He spent the rest of his life cataloguing words. In 1828, he completed his final dictionary, one with 70,000 words. He used words like “color” instead of “colour,” and “magic” instead of “magick” and added uniquely American words such as “skunk,” “hickory,” and “chowder.”
In December, 1808, he wrote in a letter to Thomas Dawes:
“About a year ago, an unusual revival of religion took place in New Haven…and I was led by a spontaneous impulse of repentance, prayer, and entire submission of myself to my Maker and Redeemer. In the month of April last, I made a profession of faith.”. This unusual revival was a part of the Great Awakening that shook America in the early 19th Century.”
As evidenced in his textbook, “History of the United States, published in 1832, he believed that Christianity and government could not and should not be separated:
“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person, a brother or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”
“Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation. In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries. Our liberty, growth, and prosperity was the result of a Biblical philosophy of life. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating the youth of America in the principles of Christianity.”
Whether or not you believe in Noah’s philosophy of government, one thing can’t be argued; he was man of deep, abiding faith in God and appeared to be a Christian.