Before I get going, fun fact! I’m from Saint Johnsbury, Vermont just like the author. crazy!
Letters from an American Farmer, by J. Hector and St. John de Crevecoeur, is a story based off of an ideal American farmer character who is figuring out his values within the lands he calls home. These letters bring great truth to the subject of what it means to be an American at this time.
Farmer James finds himself in the mess of what is known as life within the story, he questions everything to do with how people in his society live their lives. While doing this he gives his own perception of America and how it influences its people. He starts out by stating “we have no princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed; we are the most perfect society now existing in the world.” He sees his country as “perfect” as if he is trying to sell it to you like a soup commercial. It’s like he is advertising for the garden of Eve, where America is the dream land full of vegetation and rainbows, a place where people seem at peace and where there are no hands to kiss or knees to bow down for. He boasts about how his country has come so far and that it has gained a reputation of being a country full of promise and potential.
But really how perfect is it? Because there is a big stain on this real estate pitch and that is slavery. Although America was flourishing and creating a secure place for many people to call home, it still was a place full of slavery. This land that they eventually will give the nickname “free” too, still will not become fully free until years later. Farmer James describes slavery as “horror” as if he’s giving it its own book genre in the American identity section. He speaks about how inequality is the norm in his society and how he does not know why. He expresses this when he says “The chosen race eat, drink, and live happy, while the unfortunate one grubs up the ground.” He finds this way of life to be disturbing and great crack in the definition of Americans.
These letters do form a sense of foundation for American Literature as a whole because of the contextual evidence of the beginning stages of America. These letters have a distinct connection to the history of the United States as well as becoming a stepping stone for other future authors to write off of.