Early American Literature


Examination of a Witch, Thompkins H. Matteson, Peabody Essex Museum
Examination of a Witch, Thompkins H. Matteson, Peabody Essex Museum



"The Star Spangled Banner" was composed by Francis Scott Key September 1814. Key was inspired to write it after watching the bombardment of Ft. McHenry in the War of 1812. It is set to John Stafford Smith's earlier tune "To Anacreon in Heaven."

Essential Questions

  • What does the literature of the Colonial and Revolutionary period reveal about the dreams and values of Americans living during that period?
  • How did early dictionaries and Noah Webster influence the development of American English as a separate entity from British English?
  • How do Native American myths compare to origin stories and histories in the Torah?
  • How did religion influence Puritan literature?
  • What is persuasive rhetoric, and how can it be used effectively?

Resources and Links