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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

§ 6. General Histories of the United States

A third group of historians was those who undertook to write general histories of the United States. They were inspired with the spirit of nationality, whatever their views of the new Union. They wished to depict the relations of the colonies to one another and their struggle against Britain’s policy of strict control. The first histories presenting a general account of the colonies came from England, where as early as 1708 John Oldmixon, in his British Empire in America, made a sorry attempt to treat English America as a whole. In 1780 George Chalmers published his Political Annals of the Present United Colonies, followed in 1782 by another work called Introduction to the History of the Revolt of the American Colonies. Chalmers was an able writer and gave at least continuity to his subject. He was, however, strongly British in sympathy, and his work was not esteemed in the United States. It stimulated more than one American to write what he considered a true history of the rise and progress of the Revolutionary struggle.