Friday 19 January 2018
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This category houses blog entries about the definitions of words as they were used at the time of the Founding, The purpose is to familiarize users with what certain words meant during the time of the Founding.

One of the most difficult issues in all of philosophy is how meaningless notations, such as sounds or physical marks (letters) acquire meaning and thereby become words that appear in a dictionary. The purpose of this category is not to address that issue but rather a more mundane one - to simply present the meanings of selected terms as they existed at the time of the Founding. By doing this we can assist the reader to get closer to what Jefferson's admonition in our Welcome message - to get as close as possible to the meaning intended at the Founding thru the words used by the Founders.

To do this we'll provide the definitions of the selected terms in this category as they appeared in Noah Webster's 1828 First Edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language.

In 1828, at the age of 70, Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language in two volumes containing 70,000 entries, as against the 58,000 of any previous dictionary. There were 98,000 copies printed, at only $.15 for the two volumes. At first, the book sold in huge proportions, but after raising the dictionary price to $15 the book sold poorly and all copies were not bound up at the same time; the book also appeared in publisher's boards; other original bindings of a later date are not unknown.

It's importance is that it is the most significant dictionary closest in time to the Founding of the United States.

We believe that readers will be surprised and entertained by this exercise, but, most importantly, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the words of the Founding documents and what they meant at the time.

Note: There is a link on each definition to the same term as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition which provides the most comprehensive definition of the term. As the OED definitions are very extensive, including historical examples of the word as used, these PDF files tend to be large files.



Category: Definitions

Government as defined in Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.

GOV'ERNMENT, n. Direction; regulation. These precepts will serve for the government of our conduct.

1. Control; restraint. Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.

2. The exercise of authority; direction and restraint exercised over the actions of men in communities, societies or states; the administration of public affairs, according to established constitution, laws and usages, or by arbitrary edicts. Prussia rose to importance under the government of Frederick II.

3. The exercise of authority by a parent or householder. Children are often ruined by a neglect of government in parents.
Let family government be like that of our heavenly Father, mild, gentle and affectionate.

4. The system of polity in a state; that form of fundamental rules and principles by which a nation or state is governed, or by which individual members of a body politic are to regulate their social actions; a constitution, either written or unwritten, by which the rights and duties of citizens and public officers are prescribed and defined; as a monarchial government, or a republican government.
Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without the pretence of miracle or mystery, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

5. An empire, kingdom or state; any territory over which the right of sovereignty is extended.

6. The right of governing or administering the laws. The king of England vested the government of Ireland in the lord lieutenant.

7. The persons or council which administer the laws of a kingdom or state; executive power.

8. Manageableness; compliance; obsequiousness.

9. Regularity of behavior. [Not in use.]

10. Management of the limbs or body. [Not in use.]

11. In grammar, the influence of a word in regard to construction,as when established usage required that one word should cause another to be in a particular case or mode.

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Notable Quotes

There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress.

Mark Twain

Founder's Quotes

The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.

Zacharia Johnston, delegate to the Virginia Convention of 1788.

Did You Know?

Alexander Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey on July 1804. Hamilton’s son, Philip, had died in a duel three years earlier (1801) at the same location.

A Government of Laws...

Article V - Amendment Process - United States Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Term Limit Congress
Do you support a Constitutional amendment to term limit members of the Senate and House of Representatives?
Do you support a Constitutional amendment to term limit members of the Senate and House of Representatives?
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A Book You Should Read

Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and His Correspondence with the Most Distinguished Men in America and Europe: Illustrative of Their Characters and of the Events of the American Revolution, Richard Henry Lee (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2007)