Making an American Mind

Apotheosis of Franklin and Washington

After the war, Americans began to examine and express themselves in unprecedented ways, from education to literature to painting. The first medical school was founded at Harvard in 1782, the first daily newspaper was established in Philadelphia in 1783, and the same year saw Noah Webster begin work on the American Dictionary (1828) that drew distinct divisions between British and American spelling and pronunciation. Printing presses began to churn out works such as Benjamin Rush's Thoughts Upon Female Education, which argued for a greater political role for women, and Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia. The first histories of the Revolution and the war also appear as early as 1784, in something of a rush to put an intellectual stamp on what these events meant and to define the people they had created.

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