Letters from an American Farmer. 1782. “Letters from an American Farmer”. Published in 1782 Crevecoeur creates a persona, James, the American farmer Corresponds with Mr. F.B., an English gentleman who wants to know more about America. “Letters from an American Farmer”.
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“Letters from an American Farmer” • Published in 1782 • Crevecoeur creates a persona, James, the American farmer • Corresponds with Mr. F.B., an English gentleman who wants to know more about America
“Letters from an American Farmer” • One of the first attempts to define the characteristics of an American • Tries to create an American identity for the entire country rather than separate colonies • Is credited with the idea of coining America as a melting pot
Born in France (son of a minor noble) • Moved to England to continue schooling • Fiancé died • Went to Canada at 19 to fight with the French during French and Indian War • Traveled for 10 years through the colonies as a surveyor and trader • Bought a farm in Orange County, New York, got married, and began farming • Had three children
During the American Revolution, tried to remain neutral (favored the British though) • Neither side trusted him • He was imprisoned as spy for three months • He sailed for Europe with his oldest son in 1780 & could not return until 1783 • His wife was killed and farmhouse destroyed in an Indian raid • His two children were missing – later found in Boston • He served as French consul to the United States from 1783 to 1790 & spent the rest of his life in France • Penname – J. Hector St. John