Crevecoeur, Bradford, and the New Americans
Early European settlers faced many struggles and hardships on their journey to the new world. They faced many more once they reached their destination. A new breed of man was born from this adversity. As Crevecoeur said “The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles”. (Crevecoeur, 2007, 599) These convictions are brought about by the environment and the courage to leave the old world behind. One might say Crevecoeur defines the new American, while Bradford gives us detailed examples into the lives of the early Americans. The European settlers were molded by their new environment, as well as the journey they endured to this new land. The seed or the stepping stone for these settlers transformation actually begins before they even leave their homeland. These Pilgrims sought religious freedom and liberties that could not be afforded in England. Under scrutiny and pressure from the church, these separatists or pilgrims travelled to the Netherlands to avoid persecution. Only those that were strong in their convictions would travel with the group; “some preferred and chose the prisons in England rather then this liberty in Holland “. (Bradford, 2007, 107) This shows that only the people with a strong will, and faith could eventually become Americans. This is the beginning of the new “American” transformation process. If an individual could not live in Holland, then surely they could not survive an oversea journey and a new world. It was quickly determined that the Netherlands was not the place that the pilgrims had sought. Their faith and religious zeal propelled them to seek out a new world to truly be free in all aspects of life. “The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled
Countries of America, which are fruitful and fit for habitation”. (Bradford, 2007, 108) And thus the pilgrim’s journey to America would be born, and their transformation into Americans would be underway. The settler’s religious convictions were so strong,
References: Baym, N. (2007). The Norton Anthology of American Literature. (7th Ed.).
New York, New York: WW Norton & Company.