Identity of an American

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American Identity
Michael Spencer
HIS110/CA
Oct. 08, 2012
Prof. Elise Shelton

Outline:
* According to Crévecoeur, what distinguishes an American from a European? * Explain how life in the British North American colonies contributed to the creation of a unique American identity.

One of the main things that establishes America as such a great nation is the fact that this is a nation that formed by a group of ideas, cultivated by a group of people, both native and foreign. These groups, after much warring and obvious conflicts of interests, discovered that they are in fact similar in many ways. One account given of this was from J. Hector St. John. Based on his letter to an unnamed friend he displays a clear difference between American and European. On top of this, he also presents an interesting point as to how the colonies had such a unique diversity. An American, according to St. John appeared as a polar opposite of the European people. For instance St. John refers to the American people as “all tillers of the earth, from Nova Scotia to West Florida (St. John, n.d., What Is An American, 49-51).” This meaning, unlike the Europeans where the peasants and common man worked for the lords and kings, the Americans worked for themselves and all worked, both rich and poor. Another opposite, in Europe it was addressed that the lords of people ruled everything and the commoner owned nothing. St. John again presents a clear contrast by stating that “It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords that possess everything, and a herd of people that possess nothing (St. John, n.d., What Is An American, 49-51).” He continues to refer to the rich and poor as “not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe (St. John, n.d., What Is An American, 49-51),” In continuing his observance of the American culture, St. John observes that the control of government is very limited, that people who are part of these colonies observe the law, not out of...
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