By turns irreverent, sympathetic and amusing, America Writes Its History, 1650-1850 adds to the public discourse on national identity as advanced through the written word. Highlighting the contributions of American writers who focused on history, the author shows that for nearly 200 years writers struggled to reflect, or influence, the public perception of America by Americans. This book is an introduction to the development of history as a written art form, and an academic discipline, during America's most crucial and impressionable period. America Writes Its History, 1650-1850 takes the reader on a historical tour of written histories-whether narrative history, novels, memoirs or plays-from the Jamestown Colony to the edge of the Civil War. The thread of history running through these two centuries from Jamestown to Fort Sumter is encapsulated by this question: What exactly did we, as Americans, think of ourselves? And more importantly; What did we want non-Americans to think of us? In other words, what was (and is) history, and who, if anyone, owns it?