"information is the currency of democracy"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Dec 22 16:05:20 UTC 2010

At 12/22/2010 01:27 AM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>Here is the weblink:
>(Begin excerpt)
>I have not run across that quotation in the Memorial Edition of
>Jefferson's Writings (ME), and doubt that it was written by Jefferson,
>since he did not, to my knowledge, speak of "currency" with reference
>to money or anything else.  The popular use of the term "currency"
>seems to have been of later occurrence.

Well, the last sentence is wrong.  "Currency" in the sense of money,
a medium of exchange, dates from at least the 1720s in the American
colonies, and the OED's earliest quotations are 1699 and 1722.

On the other hand, the following list of places searched without
success is nearly as inclusive as my list of places I search.  :-)
>    2. To establish the earliest appearance of this phrase in print,
>the following sources were searched for the phrase, "information is
>the currency of democracy": Google Books, Google Scholar, Amazon.com,
>Internet Archive, America's Historical Newspapers, American Broadsides
>and Ephemera Series I, Early American Imprints Series I and II, Early
>English Books Online, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, 19th
>Century U.S. Newspapers, American Periodicals Series Online, JSTOR.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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