What is America?

Whatis America?

Whatis America?

Theessay, “” (1782) by Jean de Crevecoeur is one ofthe most published writing in the 18th century. The essaywas an immigrant from Europe who moved into the United States andsettled in New York in 1765. Due to the popularity of the essay,“” among the European immigrants and potentialimmigrants, Jean de Crevecoeur is one of the most important figuresin the history of American literature. Historians have argued thathis definition and description of America to the Europeans before thenation was established had a huge influence on what is America today.He played an important role in creating an ideal myth about America,which motivate more Europeans to move into the United States. Jean deCrevecoeur begins the essay by introducing the new land, America, inwhich people from Europe and other parts of the world have moved intowithout adequate knowledge about the land. He outlines the differencebetween America and Europe where he informs his audience about theemployment opportunities, freedom and how people relate with natureand the environment. According to Jean de Crevecoeur, in America,there was a relatively smaller gap between the poor and the rich.This was not the case in Europe where the disparity between the poorand the rich was very huge. For example, in America, there were noclasses and honor such as the royal class in England. Additionally,Jean de Crevecoeur (1782) described America as a great country tolive in due to the comfortable farming and civil freedom.

Jeande Crevecoeur (1782) describes the way of life in America. He alsocompared the American economy with the European economy, highlightingthe differences despite the fact that America is ruled by Europeans.This brings out the new land as a land of economic opportunities.Jean de Crevecoeur also described America as a land of diversepeople, a land where people from all cultures have settled. Heportrays America has the melting point of different cultures. Thewriter observes that there are people from almost all the countriesin Europe, English, Germans, Dutch and Swedish among others. Thus,Jean de Crevecoeur proposed that American society will form the “raceof men” in the future world. The poor of Europe, from all cornersof Europe, have met in America are struggling to make a living inAmerica. The greatest motivation of these poor of Europe is thesearch for better opportunities and a society where they will betreated fairly and equally as equal citizens. Jean de Crevecoeurnotes that the Europeans who have moved into the new land are asylumseekers and therefore have lost links and attachments in Europe. Thismeans they had found a new home in a new nation. These Europeansconsidered themselves members of the new nation, American. Thus, Jeande Crevecoeur describes an American as a “descendant of aEuropean”. Thus, an American is an individual who have his or herancestors, parents or grandparents, from a different part of theworld. Jean de Crevecoeur (1782) also describes the new American asan individual is ready to shed his old self and adopt a new being ina new nation with new culture and way of life. This change inpersonality is motivated by the need to improve life and seek newopportunities.


Crevecoeur,H. J. (1782). What is an American? Retrieved from DigitalHistory,http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=3&amppsid=3644