On April 14, 1828, Noah Webster completed his 26-year project and published his first dictionary. It had 30,000 new definitions and American spellings that gave a young nation a linguistic identity.
It was an unprofitable project. George and Charles Merriam later acquired rights to it.
The Webster Dictionary defined "Property" as:
- The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth ... It is one of the greatest blessings of civil society that the property of citizens is well secured.
In his original preface, Webster stated:
- In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed ... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. ... To that great and benevolent Being ... who has borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments.