Ohio History Journal

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The rise of historiography in the trans-Alleghany states in

the first half of the nineteenth century follows the order of

development so familiar in every national experience, European

as well as American, in which annalists, antiquarian compilers,

and composers of didactic narrative successively emerge. This

conventional order of succession is observable, moreover, in the

American colonies and later in all the states. In the latter, in-

deed, particularly in the newer western states of the early na-

tional period, historical writing is strikingly similar to that of the

Atlantic region in the colonial age. Little, if any, improvement

is noted, in either content or technique, in these types of com-

position. In fact, historical writing in general, during the early

national era, reveals but slight advance over that of the previous

age. The character of the wide hiatus which divided the colonial

and revolutionary and the national periods suggests a probable

explanation for this apparent retardation. The long period of

stress from the opening of the revolutionary age to the end of

the first quarter of the nineteenth century afforded small op-

portunity for the development of any field of literature. More-

over, the trend of thought was almost wholly political and theo-

logical. But in the western states this situation was further

complicated by the preoccupation of most of the people in con-

quering their primitive environment, a fact which obviously

affected the historical writing of the few who found time to at-

tempt it. One detects little in these years of institutional be-

ginnings that goes beyond the narrative and antiquarian stage.

But following these years of growth along material lines, and

somewhat after the middle of the century, we observe the

gradual emergence in the states, though not quite so early as in


1The following paper appeared, in substance, in "The Ohio History

Teachers' Journal" for November, 1916, and November, 1917.