Immediately after the American Revolution, the founders set about the task of ensuring the continued existence of the fledgling republic. Facing a host of problems—economic, social, and governmental—some founders promoted a concept of schooling that would inculcate patriotism and forge a uniquely American identity. Noah Webster wanted to create an American language, and Benjamin Rush wanted schools to “convert men into republican machines.” Webster, Rush, Thomas Jefferson, and others all wanted to use some version of common schooling to instill in children a sense of nationalism. Textbooks used in these common schools would be a likely way to further promote a sense of American identity. What that identity should be, though, and what the “good citizen” of the new republic should look like, was sharply contested, and textbooks of this period reflect many of the fissures in the work of nation building.