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American Identity, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 849

Research Paper

What is an American? This is the pivotal question that the Letters from an American Farmer tried to determine. As Crevecoeur puts it, an American is the embodiment of a new person who embraces a new set of principles, ideas and opinions. Clearly, the letter pertains to people who immigrated in the United States of America in search for a good life and a greener pasture. In the Letters from an American Farmer presented an idea that immigrants in the country will embrace a nationality that is founded on freedom and equality that is an established part of the American Dream. More particularly, Crevecoeur pointed the difference between America and Europe at the time of the author’s immigration to the land of opportunity. For the author, to immigrate in America meant a great improvement and is almost the same as undergoing metamorphosis. The description is rooted from the fact that back in the day, prejudice is prevalent in Europe. There was social subordination, slavery and rampant poverty. The society was ruled by the rich. It was a culture of the rich getting richer while the poor people get poorer. The manner of immigrating in the United States gave a sense of asylum to the Europeans who wanted to flee from the exploitative actions of the rich and the aristocrats. Immigrating to America meant freedom from oppression and a chance to better their lives. It meant freedom to own their own land rather than work for the rich aristocrats. It meant embracing independence.

Americans, as Crevecoeur sees it, are men who work for themselves. The famers toil the land for themselves and not for princes or kings or queens. It is the land of free. People work and get rich. In other countries, people work hard and they still starve. In America, for as long as the people work, no one will starve. It is this scenario that Crevecoeur liked about America. The democracy, the justice system and the equality for all men make it enticing for settlers to find their own sweet spot in the country.

Crevecoeur made it clear, however, that the immigration to America also means establishing a new identity. Gone are the rules and principles that immigrants grew up with. Immigrating to the United States entails not just the embracing the land and the opportunities it has to offer. Rather, it is embracing the nation for what it is and for who it stands for long before the Constitution was established. It is not just about embracing the idea of acquiring a land, owning various properties, enjoying the fruits of labor and independence. It is a matter of accepting the laws, respecting the social system, incorporating one’s self into the idea that the United States of America is a different country with its own culture and that it should be embraced.

It is the culture of people that Crevecoeur thought contributed to the success and growth of America. It has to be remembered that America is a land of opportunities. With such opportunities come different cultures and people with varying political and religious affiliations. Yet, despite such differences, the people have accepted the moral foundations, temperance and idealism of America. It is in this culture of acceptance that the people of the nation have worked hand in hand to maintain its freedom, equality and democracy- all of which allows an immigrant to flourish beautifully.

It is true that America is a melting pot of a set of people, a new race. But despite the diversified people, they are brought together by a government and social system that everybody embraced. It does not matter whether or not someone came from Europe or Asia. Everybody is equal. There is no oppression and injustice is not tolerated.

So what, then, is an American? To say the least, an American is someone who is either a Southerner or European or a descendant of someone who immigrated to America to flee from oppression, poverty and injustice. An American is someone who left his own country and all his manners to embrace a new one, a new government to obey and a new social system to hold. An American is someone who has been accepted into a nation who believe that everyone has to work for himself; and a nation where people have faith in the idea of progress where everyone is given the opportunity to become rich and successful by virtue of working hard.  Crevecoeur further defined an American as someone who does not treat a person based on their social class as there is no social class. An American is a person who immigrated who lovingly and willingly accepts and acts upon new principles set forth and forms new opinions different to that of where he was born or where his forefathers were born. From being groomed based on the culture of one’s motherland to being stripped of that and entertaining new ideas, new way of living, new culture- this is what an American is.

Work Cited

De Crèvecoeur, Hector St. John. Letters from an American Farmer. London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd, 1782. Multiple reprints.

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