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The Golden Age of Conservative Wit in America

When we think about humor in America usually Benjamin Franklin’s witty common-sense or Mark Twain and the comical frontiersman first come to mind. Americans—particularly white men—seem to relate most to Franklin’s ‘Poor Richard’ persona, or the tall-tale-telling comical frontiersmen, such as Davy Crockett or Mike Fink. Those less Anglophone minded, might also think about African American humor or Jewish humor. Few people, however, think of aristocratic Augustan wit[1] in association with America—we leave that to the Brits, for the most part. Nonetheless, during the first years of the early republic, elite gentlemen assumed that social hierarchies and cultural cues in Read more