Conquering geographic isolation and foreign neighbors with foreign languages, America’s true linguistic identity was formed.
After enduring radical changes from its homeland and home language, the use of English in the colonies still remained close to that of the motherland, at least up to the bloody conflict of the American Revolution. Following that horrific chapter in American History, American English found itself no longer a colonial variety of British English. American English burst into its own national period. Political freedom and independence was soon followed by a flood of cultural freedom and independence. A notable Founding Father of this Cultural Revolution was Noah Webster. With his history as a school teacher, he perceived the need for this new nation to establish its own linguistic identity.
“Accordingly he set out to provide dictionaries and textbooks for recording and teaching American English with American models. The need Webster sought to fill was twofold: to help Americans realize they should no longer look to England for a standard of usage, and to foster a reasonable degree of uniformity in American English. To those ends, Webster’s dictionary, reader, grammar, and blue-backed speller were major forces for institutionalizing what he called Federal English.”1