If you were an eighteenth-century European, would this essay motivate you to move to the United States?

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On the whole, I'd have to say no. Crèvecœur doesn't make America sound like the kind of place where you'd want to settle for any length of time. From reading the Letters, one gets the impression that the towns are full of wild, ignorant yahoos driven by greed, selfishness, and overweening ambition.

Crèvecœur duly acknowledges the relative freedom of American life and its more open, democratic culture by comparison with Europe. He also praises the hard work and industry of the American people. In his incredibly candid letters, Crèvecœur conveys the impression that America is a place where people should want to live and work.

But, whether he intends to or not, he does suggest that these compensations are considerably outweighed by the disadvantages. After all, if one has to retreat from the town to seek peace out in the wild, as Crèvecœur does, that would seem to suggest that urban life in America isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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