American Identity

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Date Submitted: 11/19/2012 01:15 PM

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Matthew J Thuman

History 110

American Identity

April 22, 2010

Priscilla MacDonald

American Identity

From the writings of J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur’s 1782 letter, What is an American, he stated several distinctions that separated an American from a European. Some distinctions that he stated were cruel and harsh. I think St. John de Crevecoeur was trying to make the European people look as badly as possible to the American people. Statements of the American people were calming and soothing. This made me think that the author wanted the American people to look simple.

Cruel Statements

Crevecoeur stated that there is not a large separation between the rich and the poor unlike the Europeans. Americans do not have any kings, bishops or religious stipulations that tell them how to live their lives. The author also made mention that the American people do not riot of labor of others (St. John). These statements in Crevecoeur’s letter put a depressing look on how the European people lived and survived. In return, this made the American people view their way of life as uplifting, even though the original colonies had their hardships as well.

Calming Statements

As for the American people, Crevecoeur stated that, the American colonies and its people were cultivators and tillers of the earth. They each work for themselves rather than being told what to do or what to grow in their fields. The people were also respectful of the laws over them because the laws were fair and were not dishonest. Not being told how to practice their religious beliefs, each farmer was a church going participant.

Unique America/Conclusion

The good and bad distinctions of an American, from a European, lead the American people to create a unique identity for him or herself. Without the Europeans knowing about freedom of religion and only practicing Catholicism, I think this...