American's own The Professor and the Madman: a story of Noah Webster, author of American English.
Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so ubiquitous. Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started America's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post. His "blue-backed speller" for schoolchildren sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. But perhaps most important, Webster was an ardent supporter of a unified, definitively American culture, distinct from the British, at a time when the United States of America were anything but unified - and his dictionary of American English is a testament to that.
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