A Is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States Jill Lepore

ISBN: 9780375404498

Published:

Hardcover

256 pages


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A Is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States  by  Jill Lepore

A Is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States by Jill Lepore
| Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 256 pages | ISBN: 9780375404498 | 6.61 Mb

Nativist, xenophobe, and anti-immigration pamphleteer, Samuel Morse was known in his day for more than the telegraphic code that bears his name--one of the many things we learn from the prizewinning historian Jill Lepore in this vivid study ofMoreNativist, xenophobe, and anti-immigration pamphleteer, Samuel Morse was known in his day for more than the telegraphic code that bears his name--one of the many things we learn from the prizewinning historian Jill Lepore in this vivid study of language and linguistic politics in the early American republic.

Morse never gave up his hatred of immigrants, Lepore writes, but all the same nursed hopes that his dot-and-dash alphabet would somehow contribute to world peace. Just so, Noah Webster, of dictionary fame and also anti-immigration, sought to lay down rules for a language that would build Americans fragile sense of national belonging, while Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet sought to provide a language for the deaf, and Sequoyah a syllabary for the Cherokee people that would enable them to participate as citizens in the larger society.

Language is power, these reformers and inventors knew. Lepores highly readable study of language and its political uses in 18th and 19th century America gives us a new context in which to consider language-reform movements today as well as a window into the American past. --Gregory McNamee



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