Crèvecœur’s Letters seems to be written in direct opposition to the works of Thomas Paine, specifically Common Sense. In this work, Paine advocates and rationalizes a political awakening by the peoples of America, and a violent overthrow of the established order.
The basis of Crèvecœur’s utopian American society lies in a pastoral lifestyle. This agrarian society breeds tranquility among neighbors due to the lack of religious strife or governmental interference. This society is destroyed (at least in Crèvecœur’s view) by the American Revolution, and the new political and economic society that it ushers in.
The third letter in the collection, What is an American, goes into great detail about how national identity is derived in the New World as opposed to Europe. Crèvecœur contends that in Europe, the connection to one’s country is very weak because of the the lower class’ detachment from the land. However, in America, one can identify with their nation directly through cultivation of the land:
“What attachment can a poor European emigrant have for a country where he had nothing? The knowledge of the...