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Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Brackenridge, Hugh Henry, 1748–1816, American author and jurist, b. Scotland, grad. Princeton, 1771. He studied theology and served in the American Revolution as chaplain, but later turned to law. His early writings include two patriotic plays and some verse. In 1781 he moved to Pittsburgh, where he founded (1786) the Pittsburgh Gazette, the city's first newspaper, and helped to establish the Pittsburgh Academy (now the Univ. of Pittsburgh). A leading Pennsylvania supporter of the federal Constitution, Brackenridge later acted (1794) as a peacemaker in the Whiskey Rebellion. He was also a justice of the Pennsylvania supreme court from 1799 to his death. He is, however, best known as an author. His satirical and picaresque novel, Modern Chivalry (6 vol., 1792–1805; rev. ed., 4 vol., 1804–7), written in a vigorous style, pictures backwoods life in America. In it, the moderate democrat Brackenridge ridicules the excesses of a raw democracy. He also wrote an account of the Whiskey Rebellion and several political tracts.

See C. M. Newlin, Life and Writings of Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1932, repr. 1971); biography by D. Marder (1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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