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There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.

This is a quote by Andrew Carnegie. But I don't understand the structure of this sentence, especially as.

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Remembering an idiomatic phrase such as There is no such thing as a free lunch could help you parse the such ... as structure (such as the one in your example).

As for your sentence, I parse it like this:

There is not such (a cradle of democracy upon the earth) as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, (where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration).

Also note that the this republic of letters part refers to the Free Public Library. (But I suspect that you might already know this.)

Hope this helps.

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    Side note: the "free lunch" phrase usually (but not always) has ain't rather than is, hence TANSTAAFL.
    – user230
    Nov 26, 2013 at 5:51
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    So it means, "There is nothing like a free public library when it comes to bringing about democracy?"
    – user2492
    Nov 26, 2013 at 6:11
  • Basically, yes. Nov 26, 2013 at 6:14

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