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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 4: 1800-1945$
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Stuart Macintyre, Juan Maiguashca, and Attila Pók

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199533091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199533091.001.0001

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Writing American History, 1789–1945

Writing American History, 1789–1945

(p.369) Chapter 18 Writing American History, 1789–1945
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Thomas Bender

Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights that the histories of the United States and the making of the American nation were partners from the beginning. The year 1789 not only marked the inauguration of the national government established by the Constitution, but also the moment when the first history of national scope was published. This chapter further emphasizes that David Ramsay held off publication of his ‘History of the American Revolution’, until the approval of the Constitution was complete. Ramsay's history began the work of establishing an historical consciousness for the nation, contributing to larger, national identities among its citizens. He observes that the new nation was an experiment, in which if it failed, as the Articles of Confederation did, another form of government would have had to have been revised.

Keywords:   United States, American nation, David Ramsay, History of the American Revolution, historical consciousness, Articles of Confederation

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