What was an American?
Western Europeans came to America to start new lives, with new laws, a new social system but all in all to become new men. In contrast African emigrants were brought to America to tend to the needs of the settlers from Europe. They were brought over to be slaves. Each of these views are views of St Jean de Crevecoeur and Fredrick Douglass.
St Jean de Crevecoeur, was an emigrant of Europe. Crevecoeur, had no desire to go back to the land in which his forefathers had lived. He was going to a more diverse way of living where all races melted into new race of man. (pg 308) He believed America was a place to go to be a free man, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, that he receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he hold.(pg 308) Crevecoeur knew that his life as a new man would entail new ideas and new opinions. Hoping that the new laws protect him, from involuntary idleness, servile dependence, penury and useless labor, he has passed to tolls of very different nature, rewarded by ample subsistence. (pg 308) Crevecoeur lived the life of a free man in which he was paid for his labors, he owned land and was a farmer. His view of an American, is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions. (pg 308)
Fredrick Douglass, was an African American and owned by an American. He was taken care of in his early years by his grandmother and grandfather. Slave children were children they could play and do what most children would do. The only fear as a child was being seperated from his grandmother. Throughout, Douglasss life he taught himself to read and to write. He became a knowledgeable man, which help him to succeed in being a free. However, Douglass did go through the trials and tribulations of being a slave. He went through the sleepless and hungry nights, and lashings. Make a man a slave, and you rob him of moral responsibility. (pg 191) When Douglass describes America he describes the beauties of nature and then the horrors of being a slave. When I remembeer that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery and wrong. (pg369) Douglasss hardships lead to the hatred of American laws. The entire absence of everything that looked like prejudice against me, on account of the color of my skin-contrasted so strongly with my long and bitter experience in the United States. After his escape from slavery he lived in the north until he moved to Europe where he found the ways were different and everyone was treated equally.
In both cases the America is viewed as two completely different worlds. St Jean de Crevecoeur viewed America as new life full of excitement and freedom.
However Fredrick Douglass viewed America as a beauty in nature but a cruel in nurture.