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An American as a melting pot

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Brittany C.
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  1. Introduction
  2. An American
  3. Benjamin Franklin
  4. American lifestyle
  5. The two types of Americans
  6. American hero's
  7. William Apess
  8. The hypocritical lifestyle
  9. Conclusion

A definition such as this is rare, especially among early American literature. To clearly state an exact concept so simply is difficult, however defining what is an American is near impossible. J. Hector St John de Crevecoeur was one of the exceptions. In his book, Letters From an American Farmer, Crevecoeur dedicated an entire letter, entitled ?What Is an American,? to this quandary. He was very positive and optimistic regarding what the American was/could be: ?The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions. From involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury, and useless labor, he has passed to toils of a very different nature, rewarded by ample subsistence.

[...] Although his definition of an American was not presented as straightforward as Crevecoeur, he left little need for interpretation and made it very clear what his opinion was of the inhabitants and an American. He described, me for a few moments turn your attention to the reservations in the different states of New England, and, with but few exceptions, we shall find them as follows: the most mean, abject miserable race of beings in the world a complete place of prodigality and prostitution? (Norton 484). [...]


[...] As old plowmen and new men of the woods, as Europeans and new-made Indians, they contract the vices of both; they adopt moroseness and ferocity of a native, without his mildness, or even his industry at home. (Norton 318) The which he referenced as collapsing fully into the hunting state is very similar to Franklin's ?savages.? They work the land and are outside the norms of society. Both see the two types of Americans and look down upon one of them. [...]

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