American Literature

Reading Questions: Winthrop/Crevecouer


Look over the following reading questions BEFORE reading the assignment in order to get a sense of what the instructor wants you to find. Then, after finishing the reading assignment, come to class ready to discuss these and any other issues that may arise.

  1. Explain what John Winthrop means by the concept of "The City on a Hill."

  2. How important was community and togetherness to John Winthrop according to his speech?

  3. Crevecouer makes a big deal out of each American "working for himself." What does he mean by this? Does he mean that all Americans are self-employed? Why is this such a significant point to him (and his readers)?

  4. According to Crevecouer, what makes an American out of a European immigrant? What turns them from a Dutchman or Englishman or Frenchman to an American? Why are they so quick to reject their previous nationalities?

  5. Crevecouer is very negative in his portrayal of the wilderness dwellers. What seems to be his main problems with them and the way that they live their lives?

  6. Explain Crevecouer's theory as to why and how religious tolerance prospered in the colonies when it didn't in Europe, even though it was the same religions and so many colonists came over her FOR the purpose of practicing their particular religious beliefs.

  7. Crevecouer feels that there are riches in America, but how does he define those riches?