An analysis of letter 9 in letters from an american farmer by st john de crevecoeur

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GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. It did not suffice merely to pay taxes and keep quiet at home. No wonder we should cherish its possession, no wonder that so many Europeans who have never been able to say that such portion of land was theirs, cross the Atlantic to realize that happiness … for this is what may be called the true and the only philosophy of an American farmer.

When this book first appeared in print, it was incredibly popular in Europe, but not in the then-new United States. We have slaves likewise in our northern provinces; I hope the time draws near when they will be all emancipated: but how different their lot, how different their situation, in every possible respect!

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Great events are not achieved for us, though it is by us that they are principally accomplished, by the arms, the sweat, [and] the lives of the people.

Many of them are taught to read and write, and are well instructed in the principles of religion; they are the companions of our labours, and treated as such; they enjoy many perquisites, many established holidays, and are not obliged to work more than white people.

An analysis of letter 9 in letters from an american farmer by st john de crevecoeur

Had I had a ball in my gun, I certainly should have despatched him ; but finding myself unable to perform so kind an office, I sought, though trembling, to relieve him as well as I could. The living spectre, though deprived of his eyes, could still distinctly hear, and in his uncouth dialect begged me to give him some water to allay his thirst. We can only wonder how a French newcomer and a recent military foe without evident property won his way into a prosperous and long-standing family in a rural county. This great contrast has often afforded me subjects of the most afflicting meditation. The reason why man has been thus created, is not the least astonishing! This unnatural state often occasions the most acute, the most pungent of their afflictions; they have no time, like us, tenderly to rear their helpless offspring, to nurse them on their knees, to enjoy the delight of being parents. The famous third letter defines the American as a freeholding farmer, made fit for civil freedom by self-sufficient rural labor, and unmenaced by the paraphernalia of a caste-bound, priest-ridden, crowded, and incorrigibly inegalitarian Europe: It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords who possess every thing and of a herd of people who have nothing. Carolina produces commodities, more valuable perhaps than gold, because they are gained by greater industry; it exhibits also on our northern stage, a display of riches and luxury, inferior indeed to the former, but far superior to what are to be seen in our northern towns.

Many of these West-Indians have I seen, at thirty, loaded with the infirmities of old age; for nothing is more common in those countries of wealth, than for persons to lose the abilities of enjoying the comforts of life, at a time when we northern men just begin to taste the fruits of our labour and prudence.

How many have I seen cursing the irresistible propensity, and regretting, that by having tasted of those harmless joys, they had become the authors of double misery to their wives.

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Far richer than Nantucket, Charles Town was an especially festive city of wealthy planters and merchants devoted to self-indulgence and self-illusion. They are fat, healthy, and hearty, and far from repining at their fate; they think themselves happier than many of the lower class whites: they share with their masters the wheat and meat provision they help to raise; many of those whom the good Quakers have emancipated, have received that great benefit with tears of regret, and have never quitted, though free, their former masters and benefactors. A man of sensibility devoted to peace, he doubted that any political dispute could justify rancor and violence by either side. He regarded social bonds as essential to sustained prosperity in the new land. The Nantucket whalers of the middle five chapters, like the Pennsylvania farmers of the opening three, are trained by their natural environment to become fit for American freedom: earnest in deportment, simple in religion, sedulous in labor. I shudder when I recollect that the birds had already picked out his eyes; his cheek-bones were bare; his arms had been attacked in several places; and his body seemed covered with a multitude of wounds. This organic notion of Americans, as beings created by their environment and their work, is expanded in the third letter: "Men are like plants; the goodness and flavour of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. This evaporation of religious boundaries, in his mind, would further solidify the nation.

These men are more properly law givers than interpreters of the law; and have united here, as well as in most other provinces, the skill and dexterity of the scribe with the power and ambition of the prince: who can tell where this may lead in a future day?

The reason why man has been thus created, is not the least astonishing!

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He plans to escape the Revolution by moving west into the wilderness with a group of Indians, isolating his family from the scars of war until the great events of his time pass.

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An Analysis of Letter 9 in Letters from an American Farmer by St. John de Crevecoeur