Although the present day American is a totally a different person, at the close of the Revolutionary War the same individual was a European immigrant impacted by the nature of the American continent. In St. Jean de Crevecoeur’s perspective, an American is a race that results from a mixture of Swedes, Dutch, French, Irish, Scotch, and Englishmen (48). This race consists of unique type of people who are not governed by laws as strict as they experienced in Europe. They are a breed of people who had no home and no country in Europe. This paper discusses what the American was thought to be, in view of St. Jean de Crevecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer.
Crèvecoeur depicts Americans as though they are a new race or sub-set of people formed from European descent. He mentions, “they are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race now called Americans have arisen” (310-311). Although the American character is founded on liberty, industry, independence, and happiness, Crèvecoeur mentions how extraordinary the diversity is among Americans. Although many Americans came from different customs, traditions, and governments, Crèvecoeur suggests their ability to unite on relatively new ideologies distinguishes them as a nation. Also, adopting the customs of America and rendering an individual's previous traditions, seems to be the product of the high-risk, high-hope behavior distinctive to Americans. He defines, “he is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds” (312). Incorporating new doctrines, governments, and hierarchies the American character develops with the growth of the nation. This becomes exclusive to American identity because it is relatively new as is the American nation and culture. While Americans are unified by similar ideas, and those ideas
Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur was a French born citizen who moved to New York and became a naturalized citizen of Great Britain. After living in America as a citizen for a while, Crevecoeur decided to write an essay titled “Letters from an American Farmer”. During this time, tensions in America between the colonists and loyalists were increasing, and because of this the idea of America as a sovereign nation and territory was becoming popular. Crevecoeur wrote this essay in order to discuss what it means to be an American, and why people should be honored to be called an American. Crevecoeur believes that America is a melting pot of the world, and is full of opportunities for anyone who lives there. In order to back up his claim, Crevecoeur uses rhetorical devices, especially pathos, while he does also use ethos and logos as well.
By 1763, although some colonies still maintained established churches, other colonies had accomplished a virtual revolution for religious toleration and separation of church and state. The Anglican Church was the only established denomination in England. In contrast, the colonies supported a great variety of churches. The largest were the Congregationalist, Anglican, and German churches, but many smaller denominations could be found through the colonies. In addition to this, a high percentage of Americans didn’t belong to any church. These differences could be attributed to the fact that many of the Europeans who immigrated to America didn’t fit in to or agree with the churches in their homelands.
We’ll start with the Puritans, who paved the way for religion in America considering they were some of the first British settlers in America. They moved here because they wanted to develop the church their way, and what better way to do that than to move to a new country. Their population was made up of English reformed protestants who wanted a different way of religion, this
Religion is the name given to a “relationship with God, and different groups of people have different Gods and belief systems” (Terhart & Schulze, 2008). Today there are 313 religions and denominations in the United States; from monotheists who believe in one God, to polytheists who believe in many Gods, to others who believe in no God, or a God as represented by animal spirits, alien groups, or psychoactive substances (ProCon.org, 2008). Christianity was the first religion that was brought to the world by European settlers and it became dominant religion of the United States throughout its history. Although Puritan practices was accepted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, both James I and Charles I believed that their authority had full power to enforce religious standards among their subjects and so they authorized the persecution of Puritans, who were challenging many of the most important rules of the English church. As a result, in the 1620s and 1630s a number of English Puritans decided to move to America, where they hoped to put their religious beliefs into practice unaffected by the Stuarts or the Church hierarchy. (Norton et al., 1986)
In Crevecouer’s, “What is an American” speech he defines America as a democracy where every man has a say in the government; “We have no princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed.” It is clear, through his speech, that Crevecouer feels as if the American Dream has not changed. He stills views America as the land of equality and freedom. He sees America as the land where the rich, the poor, homosexuals, bisexuals, blacks, whites, and Hispanics all live in harmony. But today, it is obvious to see that the “glimmer” of the utopian American society is not what it seems.
Throughout the entire development of colonial British North America, Religion played an important role. Spiritual beliefs became the most popular reason for emigration from England to America, a deciding factor on a colony’s triumph, and, more importantly, it became a source of stability and strength for the communities. Without the presence of religion, North America would probably be less populated and cultured and could possibly fail to contain the values that are so important, even in the society of today.
This supports Lipset’s claim of egalitarianism being one of the key components of American ideology as he gives a specific historical example of how the United States differed from the majority of other powerful nations at the time because these nations had very established social structures going back hundreds of years. While the United States was a new nation isolated from these other monarchial cultures, and that allowed America to mold its own unique independent path. This supports Lipset’s point of view concerning America being an exceptional nation as the country’s birth
Going farther back in time to when the country was founded the future Americans were not satisfied with the life that they were living in and wanted more then they had. Crevecoeur wrote, “here he sees the industry of his native country displayed in a new matter.” Here he is saying that with the same type of people they are conquering a new nation. They want a new place to live and a new place to call home. Crevecoeur demonstrates the reason that people wanted to break away from the mother country that they lived in and go on a journey of their own. “We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself.” In the old government the people did not work for themselves. They worked for the king and nothing was given to them. Being the bold Americans that we are we rebelled against the way of the old and went for the new. It turns out that whatever we are doing we have to be the best.
The New England colonies (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) were very religious. John Winthrop was a very wealthy puritan man and he made a speech called “A Model of Christian Charity” that discussed how they are looked up to and should live by the word of God. The New England colonies were very unified. They wanted everyone to be near each other and be a tight knit
Crèvecœur describes the conditions of America where a person’s home reflected their work ethic, and even then the houses did not contrast in their appearance or reflection of wealth. If Crèvecœur were to stroll down the streets of America today he might be appalled by what he sees. If he walked down in the right area he might see a large mansion, and then just a few paces later see tiny apartments in pitiful condition, or perhaps he would see a small bakery being demolished to give way to a corporate manufacturing plant. Crèvecœur would certainly be disappointed in Americans. Crèvecœur also raved about how being American is being diverse and embracing diversity. Separate and Unequal a documentary by Frontline describes a situation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the city plans to break into two smaller cities, the proponents of this break off are white middle class people, claiming the lower class and African American families are ruining their schools and area. This new city would be 70% white and middle class. This is not diversity. Crevecoeur a man who struggled to describe his joy
The church and Christian beliefs had a very large impact on the Puritan religion and lifestyle. According to discovery education, “Church was the cornerstone of the mainly Puritan society of the 17th century.”( Douglas 4). Puritan laws were intensively rigid and people in society were expected to follow a moral strict code. And because of Puritans and their strict moral codes, any act that was considered to go against this code was considered a sin and deserved to be punished. In Puritan theology, God h...
When the colonists came to America they brought with them their culture and the way they educated their children reflected that. The first colonists were very religious people and their curriculum was very faith-based. It complimented the instruction they received at church and home. As immigrants flooded into the country, life changed dramatically. As the population spread west, the typical family and social dynamics rapidly changed. People became widely dispersed, and the church’s authority and influence was no longer as important. People soon realized the way they were used to educating their children needed to adapt to their new way of life.
Not knowing all of the details of the speech “What is an American” by Harold Ickes, it was hard to understand what was going on. To fully comprehend the speech more information would be needed. Only knowing the general time period tells the reader that it was during World War II but that is it. If an exact date was given then I could have been able to figure out what else was going on and connected the speech with that.