The dominance of the English language was not inevitable.
Spanish and French had two of the strongest colonial literary traditions in the areas that now comprise the United States, and discussions of early American literature commonly include texts by Samuel de Champlain alongside English language texts by Thomas Harriot and John Smith.
American literature is literature written or produced in the United States of America and its preceding colonies (for specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States).
Before the founding of the United States, the British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States were heavily influenced by English literature.
Towns older than Boston include the Spanish settlements at Saint Augustine and Santa Fe, the Dutch settlements at Albany and New Amsterdam, as well as the English colony of Jamestown in present-day Virginia.
American Authors Thesis
During the colonial period, the printing press was active in many areas, from Cambridge and Boston to New York, Philadelphia, and Annapolis.For instance, when the English conquered New Amsterdam in 1664, they renamed it New York and changed the administrative language from Dutch to English.From 1696 to 1700, only about 250 separate items were issued from the major printing presses in the American colonies.Inspired by that movement, Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, which celebrates individualism and nature and urges resistance to the dictates of organized society.The political conflict surrounding abolitionism inspired the writings of William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe in her famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.An early example is William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy published in 1791.Brown's novel depicts a tragic love story between siblings who fall in love without knowing they are related.However, printing was established in the American colonies before it was allowed in most of England.In England, restrictive laws had long confined printing to four locations, where the government could monitor what was published: London, York, Oxford, and Cambridge.Because of the large immigration to New England in the 1630s, the articulation of Puritan ideals, and the early establishment of a college and a printing press in Cambridge, the British colonies have often been regarded as the center of early American literature.However, the first European settlements in North America had been founded elsewhere many years earlier.