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Noah Webster

One of the more prominent Founding Fathers of the United States of America is Noah Webster. He’s only one of the Key Individuals that God used to form the freest nation on earth. Take some time to get to know about him and his legacy of shaping American culture for generations to come.

Founding Era Link on the Liberty History Timeline

Providential History

Take a listen. . .

His Family Life

Noah Webster was born to a Christian family on October 16, 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut. He went to rest May 28, 1843 at the age of 84 years old in New Haven, Connecticut.

His father was Noah Webster Sr. who lived from 1722–1813 and he was a descendant of Connecticut Governor John Webster. Noah Webster Sr. was primarily a farmer, but he was also a deacon of the local Congregational church, a captain of the town militia, and a founder of a local book society (a precursor to a public library). Additionally, he was a justice of the peace after America won her independence.

His mother was Mercy (Steele) Webster who lived from 1727–1794 and she was a descendant of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation.

He married Rebecca Green, and together they had a wonderful house full of seven children.

His Education

His mother, Mercy homeschooled Noah and his siblings. However, at the age of fourteen, Noah was tutored in Latin and Greek by his pastor. That was so he would be prepared to enter Yale at age sixteen. There are two things I’d like to note here: 1. The idea of homeschool freedom is historical in America; 2. Yale was a Christian college at its founding—the first college church in America. (Pssst: Homeschool Freedom Works today, too!)

According to Yale’s website:

Yale was a vital center for Christian life in New England for a century: producing some of the most-read theologians and church leaders, and was a center of the Great Awakening.”

Yale University

His Worldview

Noah Webster saw life through a Biblical worldview lens, void of a “sacred-secular” divide. He once stated:

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . no truth is more evident to my mind that than the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

-Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

He saw the wisdom of giving America a Christian form of government and was keenly aware the role of education would have on the formation and preservation of a Constitutional Federal Representative Republic. In fact, Noah Webster also stated:

“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.”

-Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Furthermore, it’s evident throughout his American Dictionary of the English Language that Webster had a Biblical worldview of God, man, and government and that’s because he used the Bible as the basis for the definitions of words. He kept language rooted in absolute truth.

His Contributions

After graduating Yale in 1779 he:

  • taught in schools
  • pursued a degree in law
  • opened a private school
  • was a Founding Father who helped define American culture
  • supported the abolition movement
  • wrote and published a speller book, a grammar book, and a reader for early elementary grades
  • is the Father of American Education
  • was America’s greatest lexicographer
  • compiled the Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
  • started America’s first daily newspaper (which predated Alexander Hamilton’s New York Post)
  • played a critical role in having copyright laws established in America

Noah Webster’s Character

Noah Webster was an imperfect individual like the rest of us, but throughout his lifetime his character shaped and proved to be a man of:

  • faith
  • vision
  • industry
  • diligence
  • perseverance
  • intelligence
  • integrity
  • family

Seeing God’s Providence in Noah Webster’s Life

There are many observations we can make about God’s Providence in Noah Webster’s life:

  • He was born to a family with lineage to our Forefathers. So, there was a sense of responsibility to propagate the Gospel in America which was passed down to the next generation.
  • Faithful and serious Christian parents and patriots, they taught Noah Webster well how to reason from the Bible in all spheres of life.
  • His father’s love of literature was inspirational and the exposure to excellent works via the local book society influenced Noah’s love for words and education for American children.
  • Homeschool freedom had an immense and wonderful impact on Noah Webster. It’s no surprise that God used him to help frame America which is founded upon Biblical principles.
  • He was born by God’s choosing on the History of Liberty Timeline during that pivotal time in history to help frame the freest nation on earth.
  • All of these components, and others I’m certain, equipped Noah Webster for the calling on his life.

In Conclusion

How does Noah Webster’s life influence you? What more will you take the time to learn about him and his contributions?

You can learn more about Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the the English language and his journey of compiling it in Episode 90 of the Principles in Practice Homeschool Podcast.

Take a listen. . .

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