American Experience Notes

Topics: Democracy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Jackson Turner Pages: 8 (1583 words) Published: March 4, 2013
He believes it must have been great to be the first ones to come the this new land (american) clean slate
“we are the most perfect society now existing in the world” p 41

how did crevecoeur understand the role of the natural world in human society? Location of where people lived determined their different lifestyles as well as personality shore:boisterous, travel, commerce, trafficking, fish

people living inland: civilized because they indulge in some (“mild”) government, knowledge and religion; comfotable; farming-purifying; come from different places; farming: believes it makes you pure, follows laws, moral, frontier (woods): loners, dont like neighbors, hunting, lawless, lose interest in religion, brutal, uncivilized, frontier in Virginia and carolinas is bad, but new england is good because he felt that the people there kept their religious values so it was not as harsh and savage. hunters: savage, uneducated, wild, crev. Very harsh about frontier people, people resort to using guns to solve all prolems people from different places; prt of what makes america great; talks about scotts, irish, english, germans, sweds, french In crevecoeurs understanding, was america european or not? no

What was the source of national loyalty for crevecoeur? How was this relevant to his understanding of america “ubi panis ibi patria” - where there is bread there is my country. Believes americans are motivated by own self interest

national loyalty comes from the place you are given the most opportunity, so if the place you came from did not give that to you then you are not loyal to that previous nation. Doesnt believe you're national loyalty lies where you come from but where you given liberty, protection. what did crevecoeur make of american religion?

Calvinists, catholics, quakers, Lutherans...
all seem to get along fine
as long as they are upstanding members of the shared community, no one cares about your religion different religions are intermarrying-causing religious difference to dwindle away as well

supreme being
Thomas Payne=atheist
strongly against religion
crevecoeur believes

Discussion Questions
What did de Tocqueville think about democracy? Did he think it was good, bad, neither? Was it an improvement? A degradation? “savage instincts of democracy”
war? Revolution? Not clean?
Differing views
become educated on democracy; it's dangers
How did de Tocqueville feel about the on-going democratic revolution? How did e understand it? Why did de Tocqueville decide to study American democracy? How did de Tocqueville understand the nature of modernity?

What, in de Tocqueville's formulation, was the American character? Do you think he was right?

Egoism: people who are completely self-absorbed
individualism: cut off from everyone EXCEPT for family and friendship no interest in larger society
de tocqueville worried it will eventually cause tyranny (overly powerful gov't) because of the people's lack of care he believes to overcome problem of individualism: administration; people should be involved in their own local gov't makes them aware of the impact they have on other people; coorporation is equality an american value? Then v. now?

born in Paris 1805
Norman aristocrat
grew up in Normandy
by 18 y/o began to study law
20 y/o becomes a local magistrate (judge) 1825
interested in current events (right after French Revolution) politics
given his social class he was concerned about it
his family was royalists
interest in American democracy
political science

him and his friend, gustave de beaumont travel to America set off for...
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