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Letters from an American Farmer

J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . misery, when viewed in others, should become to us a sort of real good, though I am far from rejoicing to hear that there are in the world men so thoroughly wretched; they are no doubt as harmless, industrious, and willing to work as we are. Hard is their fate to be thus condemned to a slavery worse than that of our negroes. Yet when young I entertained some thoughts of selling my farm. I thought it afforded but a dull repetition of the same labours and pleasures. I thought the former tedious and heavy, the latter few and insipid; but when I came to consider myself as divested of my farm, I then found the world so wide, and every place so full, that I began to fear lest there would be no room for me. My farm, my house, my barn, presented to my imagination objects from which I adduced quite new ideas; they were more forcible than before. Why should not I find myself happy, said I, where my father was before? He left me no good books it is true, he gave me no other education than the ar. . . Read More

Community Reviews

No, I would never have read Letters From An American Farmer had it not been assigned reading for an English class. No, I never plan on reading it again. But I might as well be pleased that I did read it. I just need a few minutes to figure out why.

The historical significance of this book is much gre

A priceless book on how people lived and thought during the colonial and revolutionary periods of the United States. Learned about this book from author Victor Davis Hanson.

Addressing his letters to a British correspondent Crevecoeur, in the person of 'Farmer James', writes glowingly of the conditions of American agrarian life and if the virtue, independence, industry, and prosperity of American farmer.

I must be reading too many early american English texts, because I'm starting to understand them too easily. Ha ha!

Though written mostly from the imagination of Crevecoeur, it is based upon his experience and understanding of various aspects of life in the colonies in the years preceding the Americ

It might sound odd to call such a ubiquitous text underrated, but I think Letters from an American Farmer is just that. While most people who have taken a course in American literature or possibly even history have probably encountered this 1782 book's third chapter, which provides a utopian answer

"Men are like plants. The goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment

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