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Letters%20from%20an%20American%20Farmer%20(1782)

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Wrote under pseudonym J. Hector St. John ... Written by Michel St. John De Crevecoeur. Main Points ... Michel St. John de Crevecoeur: Some Ideas, Questions and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Letters%20from%20an%20American%20Farmer%20(1782)


1
Letters from an American Farmer (1782)
Michel St. John de Crevecoeur
2
Biography
  • Born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur
  • In 1735 around Caen, France
  • Came to North America by way of England in 1755
  • Served with Montcalms forces during the assault
    on For William Henry
  • Settled in upstate New York in 1759
  • Became a British subject in 1764
  • Married in 1770 to Mehitable Tippet
  • Returned to France during the Revolution in 1780
  • Letters from an American Farmer published in 1782
  • Wrote under pseudonym J. Hector St. John
  • Returned to North America and learned his wife
    had died and children were living with neighbors
  • Crevecoeur was French consul in New York City
    from 1783 to 1790
  • Returned to France in 1790 and remained there
    until his death in 1813

3
Some Historical Context
  • Crevecoeur lauded the American Farmer
  • we are a people of cultivators
  • The American Revolution
  • Crevecoeur was targeting Europeans as his
    audience
  • What attachment can a poor European emigrant
    have for a country where he had nothing? his
    country is now that which gives him land, bread,
    protection, and consequence.

4
Letters from an American FarmerWritten by Michel
St. John De Crevecoeur Main Points
  • Once in the New World, the European metamorphoses
    into an America, and America is transformed into
    a melting pot
  • Crevecoeur likens poor Europeans to useless
    plants that are transplanted and have take root
    and flourished in America
  • Here individuals of all nations are melted into a
    new race of men, whose labours and posterity will
    one day cause great changes in the world.
  • The freedom and opportunities in North America
    (social, religious, etc.)
  • The chance to be a freeman and there are no
    princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed we
    are the most perfect society now existing In the
    world. Here man is free as he ought to be
  • To describe and define what it meant to be an
    American
  • The American is a new man, who acts upon new
    principles he must therefore entertain new
    ideas, and form new opinions.

5
Michel St. John de CrevecoeurSome Ideas,
Questions and Quotations
  • Are Crevecoeurs Letters a work of fiction or
    non-fiction?
  • Development of the wilderness
  • No system of vassalage It is not composed, as
    in Europe, of great lords who possess everything,
    and of a herd of people who have nothing.
  • More equality
  • People of cultivators
  • Here the rewards of his industry follow with
    equal steps the progress of his labour
  • As freemen they will be litigious pride and
    obstinacy are often the cause of law suits.
  • Here religion demand but little of him a small
    voluntary salary to the minister, and gratitude
    to God can he refuse these?
  • the laws inspect our actions, our thoughts are
    left to God.
  • how religious indifference becomes prevalent.
  • On the frontier they are often in a perfect
    state of war.
  • Who is Crevecoeurs main intended audience?
  • The melting pot.
  • He does not find, as in Europe, a crowded
    society, where every place is over-stocked.
  • The rich stay in Europe, it is only the middling
    and the poor that emigrate.
  • he now feels himself a man, because he is
    treated as such.
  • He feel an ardour to labour he never felt
    before.

6
Historical Significance
  • The document gave an idealized view on the way of
    life for an American
  • Attempts to define what is an American?
  • The document was important to the poor European
    giving him hope that he will succeed and
    encourage him to work hard in America to be a
    success
  • It praises the idea of a melting pot and the
    making of a new society individuals of all
    nations are melted into a new race of men and
    that strange mixture of blood, which you will
    find in no other country.
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