The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XVII. Writers on American History, 1783–1850

§ 1. Historians of the Revolution

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR gave our historians new motives for writing. A glorious struggle was to be described; the states, just raised out of the rank of colonies, began to demand the preservation of their earliest history; and the nation, inspired by great hopes for the future, felt that it must have loyal men to prepare the record of common growth and common achievement. The men who responded to these impulses were, perhaps, less cultured than the best of the old historians. It was long before there appeared among them one who could be ranked with Hutchinson, though some of them wrote well and displayed great industry. The stream was wider than formerly, but it was not so deep.

Of those who wrote about the Revolution, in one phase or another, the best were the Rev. William Gordon, Dr. David Ramsay, William Henry Drayton, General William Moultrie, John Marshall, and William Wirt. Less scholarly but more widely influential were Mrs. Mercy Warren and “Parson” Weems.