Approximately fifty historical novels dealing with the American Revolution were published in the United States from 1896 to 1906. Benjamin S. Lawson critically examines the narrative strategies employed in these works and the ways in which fiction is made to serve the purpose of vivifying national history.
Writing within the conventions of the historical romance, these authors created plots that reflect the enveloping concerns of the War for Independence, such as the young American woman who often must choose between suitors on opposite sides in the wider conflict.
Lawson concludes that these works reassured readers of the worth of an Anglo-American heritage. They were escapist fantasies to the degree that they failed to confront contemporary realities of crisis and change: the New Immigration, urbanization and industrialization, labor strife, the plight of the poor, and agitation on behalf of women and ethnic minorities.