Smithsonian

Letter from an American Farmer

What then is the American, this new man? He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman. . . . He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced. . . . He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. . . . This great metamorphosis has a double effect, it extinguishes all his European prejudices, he forgets that mechanism of subordination, that servility of disposition which poverty had taught him.

From: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/repository/ushist_99.pdf

Source: Hector St. John CrA-vecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer, composed in the 1770s, published in 1781.