American Colonial & Federal Literature: Name three works from this period and discuss in depth the issue of racial, ethnic, and/or class identity in the works and within their historical contexts.

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This question is very difficult to answer in depth within the limitations of the word count guidelines we follow at eNotes. Going forward, I would suggest to post questions of this depth as a selection of individual questions, as this will enable educators to give you more detailed answers with regard to each specific point. In this response, I will broadly answer your question, in the hope that this will help you to develop the answer further if needed.

The first notable work from the very early colonial period would be the poem “Upon a Fit of Sickness, Anno. 1632" by Anne Bradford. Bradford is considered to be the first successful female American poet. In this poem, she describes the typical concerns of puritan life in this era. The poem deals with themes such as death and salvation. Religion was very important to the people of this era, which we can clearly see in Bradford’s work.

Another noteworthy literary work is The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles by John Smith. Whilst the original title is much longer, the book is usually referred to in this abbreviated form. The reason I suggest this book is because it is a very detailed account of the history of the very early colonial America. It gives some insight into the identity of the early Americans, which helps to understand their view of race and class.

Lastly, I would like to highlight the poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatly. This is a very important poem, as Phillis Wheatly was the first female African-American writer to achieve the publishing of a book. In this poem, Wheatly tries to make the point that black people are human and should be treated as such.

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