Google ngram: the word “liberty”

Achart 

For the pointer I thank Kevin Edwards.  The link here allows you to see the full graph.  In contrast, here is "freedom."

Comments

But then, check out the "liberation" bubble of the 1970s.

Some country comparisons are pretty interesting: France,Germany; Japan,China.

faith, hope, and especially charity

"supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" shows a blip in 1900, although it was coined in the 1960s. That one's hard to explain as an OCR error. Some of their source documents must have incorrect dates.

I was surprised to see that "reliable" seems to have been invented as late as 1840.

"groovy" is making a comeback.

You could play with this all day.

The liberty graph is probably more a function of the much smaller sample size than any decline in interest in liberty. Basically any concept that existed in the 18th century will show a similar pattern due to all of the ideas and concepts that exist today that didn't exist then. Justice shows almost exactly the same pattern with a slightly later peak.

LoneSnark,

Awesome pseudonymn. That is all.

As db said, we publish a lot more books now; I suspect there were more works of fiction alone published last year than the total of all works mass-published in English in 1778.

(Or any of the surrounding years.)

(I don't have any numbers for the latter; it wouldn't surprise me if individual genres exceeded both the publication count and word count of the total from 1778.)

Given the increased field and supposing, reasonably, that the increase was not evenly distributed (eg. there's a lot more popular fiction than political theory), it would be unsurprising simply on changing-composition grounds.

"terrorist" spiked a good year before the 9/11 attacks:

No it didn't, not even close. Look again.

If you change the scale you'll see there was a fairly steep rise between 1998 and 2004 followed by more gradual increases until the peak of 2007 (very slight dip in 2008 - last year with data).

<a href="http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=Rolling+Stones,Bob+Dylan&year_start=1720&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3">Rolling Stones vs. Bob Dylan

I just don't see why this should be true, unless in 90% of cases books only mention Dylan or the Stones as a shorthand for "popular late 60s rock n roll groups" and not as musicians in their own rights.

The Beatles and Elvis Costello also peak around 2002ish.

'Economics' is tanking. Peaked out in 1995.

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