Critical Summary of “What is an American?
This historical perspective relates an important theme of the way that Americans are defined in
"What is an America" by Jean De Crevecoeur. By using European cultural integration within the theme
of being "American", Crevecoeur essentially reveals how opportunity has made America a nation of
many cultures and ethnicities. In being a new nation that could welcome the destitute of Europe to
begin new lives, early America becomes the `dream' of wealth and prosperity for those that have the
courage and industriousness to be pioneers. This historical perspective is worth reading due to the
information gathering techniques used by Crevecoeur in relation to the American Dream."
Upon reading Crevecoeur's “ What is an American”, one will notice that the
Frenchman's opinion of the United States is quite high, to say the least. In explaining his love for
America, and what he feels it means to be "an American", Crevecoeur draws comparisons between
Europeans and Americans. One of the first points he brings up is the diversity of your typical
American. "They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes." (page
301). Crevecoeur believes that this melting pot, and the "strange mixture of blood" among colonists, is
partially responsible for what makes America such a progressive and diverse nation. In addition,
Crevecoeur praises those that live in the middle settlements for their "indulgences in government"
(page 304), knowledge of religion, and desire to be citizens involved with the government. Europe, on
the other hand, is lacking in these types. "What do I say? Europe has no such class of men; the early
knowledge they acquire, the early bargains they make, give them a great degree of sagacity." (Page
304). Crevecouer also believes that America offers to even the misfortunate a...