Retroactive digitization of the printed corpus reveals patterns of social evolution and political manipulation. Prior to the introduction of online search, examining the etymology of a political term helped social theorists extrapolate the historical trajectory of a political concept. Now we have tools for quantitative examination of such hypotheses. Using four case studies, I demonstrate the utility of word search dynamics in shedding light on the evolution of long-debated political phenomena. A triad of etymological explorations by Richard Koebner motivates the first three cases.
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