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Connecticut Wits

Connecticut Wits or Hartford Wits, an informal association of Yale students and rectors formed in the late 18th cent. At first they were devoted to the modernization of the Yale curriculum and declaring the independence of American letters. Conservative Federalists, they attacked their more liberal opponents in jointly written satirical verses—The Anarchiad (in the New Haven Gazette, 1786–87), The Political Greenhouse (in the Connecticut Courant, 1799), and The Echo (in the American Mercury, 1791–1805). Members of the group at various times were Timothy Dwight, David Humphreys, John Trumbull, Lemuel Hopkins, Richard Alsop, and Theodore Dwight. Joel Barlow, once a member, was radicalized by the experience of the French Revolution; his later works are far from the spirit of his fellow wits.

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